How to Question An Expert Witness Effectively

Whether on cross-examination or directly, questioning expert witnesses is very different from questioning lay witnesses. The reason for getting an expert witness is to get their opinion as well as the reasoning behind that. Also because there is a need to contextualize that opinion within the case. If you plan to question a FINRA expert witness, here are some tips on how to do a perfect outline.

Direct Questioning

Cross-examination is usually a true test for lawyers’ skills, but during directs questioning, most lawyers are usually at a disadvantage. This is because they have the inability to ask leading questions and this result into loss of control over the expert witness. This means that direct question is more demanding than cross-examination.

When doing a direct question with an expert witness, you need to have a meeting with them before the deposition or the trial. You need to know their qualifications, their opinion on the case, as well as the basis of that opinion. You need to have a one-on-one meeting with them so they can share everything they know and you can have an understanding of their role in the process.

You need to outline your questions, create a story that you would like to tell through the testimony instead of scripting them. Ensure you revise so that you have a solid version at the end. Use your story outline to create conversational rhythm with your expert. Try to make the qualifications interesting whether you believe them or not so that the jury will be carried by them and understand where the expert witnesses comes from.

Before you get to the opinion, ask the witness the right questions so that you can lay a foundation for that opinion. Your witness should be able to define the key terms of the testimony, they should be able to explain the whole process so that everyone can understand. You need to ensure that the jury will understand whatever the witness explains.

Cross Examination

When it comes to cross examination, you need to do thorough research in preparation as well, especially if you are examining an opposing expert. Both the expert and the lawyer representing them will be extremely prepared to win the case.

Use the previous testimony check for contradictions and inconsistencies with the expert testimony. This will undermine the credibility of the expert witness to make them look very bad to the jury and the judge. Ensure you have laid the groundwork during the deposition because this is where you will win the case.

Try to elicit the opinions of the experts, the basis of those opinions as well as the assumptions made to conduct with that opinion. If the opinion or the testimony diverges from the deposition, you will have a very big chance of exploiting those changes. You can also develop a theory of your own and use the expert witness to execute it. You should really ask direct answer questions as experts good have decided values at concepts and different things. Ask questions that need yes or no answer.


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