Expert witnesses are with increased frequency undergoing video depositions. These depositions in differ in many ways from the traditional transcribed depositions.

Trial attorney David Markowitz explains.

Q. Attorney Markowitz, how do video depositions differ for experts from traditional transcribed depositions?

Steno depositions record only the words.  Video depositions record facial expressions, body language, and tone and timbre of voice.  The video witness must constantly focus on appearance in addition to substance of the answer.

Q. How important are the facial expressions and demeanor of the expert during video depositions?

Very important.  The opposing attorney will be able to edit the video to show unflattering expressions and demeanor.  During deliberations, the jurors will typically remember the conclusion that they reached when they watched the video and be unable to remember the words that were actually spoken by the witness.  These conclusions will be heavily influenced by the visual imagery and the tone of speech.

Q. Can expert witnesses still take their time in answering questions during their video depositions?

The time between question and answer must be compressed to avoid creating a negative impression.  A witness who spends excessive time in answering questions will give a long-lasting impression of uncertainty about the answers.

Q. What are some of the bigger disasters you have seen during video depositions?

Second worst disaster:  nose and butt picking created a memorable distraction.

Worst disaster: witness made callous and crude comments without realizing that they were being recorded.

Attorney Markowitz will be speaking at the SEAK National Expert Witness Conference to be held on May 3-4, 2014 in Orlando, FL.


How to Excel at Your Video Deposition

David Markowitz, Esq.

Attorney Markowitz will discuss and demonstrate, with video, the importance of tone, demeanor, facial expressions, hand gestures, and self-control during the expert’s video deposition. He will review crucial nuances involved in excelling, including distracting mannerisms, fatigue, chair placement, excessive pausing, etc. He will offer practical suggestions on how expert witnesses can excel during their video deposition.


David Markowitz, Esq. is a highly accomplished trial lawyer in Portland, Oregon. He is a frequent lecturer on litigation related topics including taking and defending depositions, trial techniques, witness preparation, and oral persuasion. His full day deposition course has been presented to thousands of lawyers and experts nationwide, and is available on DVD at He is a Fellow and former Oregon State chair of the American College of Trial Lawyers, is a fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and was listed as one of the top ten Oregon litigators by the National Law Journal. Chambers and Partners ranked him among the top litigators in its Chambers Global 2013 directory, one of only three Oregon attorneys to be listed. Dave is the number one ranked litigator in Oregon by Oregon Super Lawyers.