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From: ...@aol.com
Date: Sat, 8 Nov 1997 01:48:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: What is an expert witness

I am a student at American University in DC and am researching what an expert witness really is. Who qualifies, why and by whom? If you can help in any way I would very much appreciate it. Thank you in advance.

Jonathan G

Date: Sat, 8 Nov 1997 19:49:41 -0500 (EST)
From: ...@acsu.buffalo.edu

An "expert" witness is one who is allowed to give testimony in the form of an opinion or conclusion. Other witnesses generally may testify only as to that which they have perceived (e.g., seen, touched, heard, felt, smelled). Other special rules apply to the admissibility of expert testimony and to the definition of "expert." A good place to begin is by taking a look at a copy of the Federal Rules of Evidence (available in any law library). Look at Rules 701-706 in particular. You will note that FRE 702 says: "If scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise." Each jurisdiction has its own rules regarding expert testimony but for the most part the Federal Rules provide a good guide. Good luck.


Tue, 13 May 1997 07:57:27 -0400

At 04:23 PM 5/5/97 -0500, Jim W wrote:

What is the best way to prepare for a deposition?

One item not mentioned in the responses to this post is what your client wants to accomplish with the deposition.

If the case is definitely headed for trial, all adverse counsel wants is for you to say something on the record that can be used to beat you up. Counsel may tell you that he is just trying to understand your opinions, but that is not true. S/he is trying to make a record helpful to his/her side. Nothing more nothing less. Your client wants you to answer truthfully, but to say as little as necessary to answer the question.

There are other times, however, when your client's goal is to convince his/her opponent that it's time to make a serious attempt at settlement. In those cases, it may be necessary to volunteer information in order to make sure that adverse counsel gets it. If counsel learns about everything that you will say at the time of trial, s/he may decide that a trial is not the best course to take.

This subject should always be discussed with the lawyer that hired you prior to the deposition.

John L

"Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing. It may seem to point very straight to one thing, but if you shift your own point of view a little, you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different." --Holmes

* The above material was excerpted, modified or otherwise prepared by the 'Lectric Law Library from EXPERT-L Mailing List (expert-l@liberty.harvard.net) messages. The List is a project of LERN, The Legal Research Network, e-mail lern@legalresearch.ultranet.com

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