Best Practices for Deposing an Expert Witness

When it comes to deposing an expert witness, there are a number of tactics an attorney might take. As a court reporter, there are days when it can feel like a constant barrage of questions and answers being made in an effort to wear down the expert to the point that they may not make sense. As the court reporter, your role is to keep up with the line of questioning, recording everything that’s being said. If the witness is properly prepared, they can answer almost anything that’s asked.

What is an expert witness?

An expert witness is someone called to testify at a deposition who has specialized training and knowledge on a topic related to the case. If there is a question about evidence related to a computer, there may be a forensics expert who is trained in what is essentially digital detective work. It is their role to put the evidence together in a way that makes sense for the case.

Tip from your court reporter

As a court reporter, it is helpful to have the expert witness name, credentials, title, and technical terms that may come up during the deposition so we can familiarize ourselves with the case ahead of time. It can eliminate some of the clarification that tends to happen during a highly technical case.

Preparing the Witness

Expert or not, the witness should be prepared for what is going to happen at the deposition. They need a clear understanding of what is expected of them. Why are they being called as witness? What might they offer that can help the case? What is the strategy of the opposing counsel? Answers to these and other questions will prepare your expert witness for their deposition.

  • Give them time to review reports and evidence they may have prepared related to the case so they can accurately recall events and facts.
  • Gently remind them to speak clearly and slow enough for their Chicago court reporter to record what they’re saying. Often reporters have to make a note to check words that were said and it can take time from delivering a final transcript to the attorney. The more that can be done at the deposition, the better for the case and client.
  • Answer only the questions asked. Sounds silly but expert witnesses often want to add to their answer. It’s not to lie but rather to expand on their answer, to make sure they’re being clear. We recommend not doing that because there may be a reason questions are being asked in the order and way they’re being asked.

While other questions may come up in the course of the case, you can rest assured your expert witness is prepared.

If you’re in need of a court reporter for deposing a witness for an upcoming case, we’re here to provide experienced people to you and your legal team.