According to CPA and expert witness Gary Trugman, effective direct examination is crucial for expert witnesses.
Here is what he had to say:
Q. Mr. Trugman, how important is an effective direct examination for expert witnesses?
It is crucial. This establishes what the expert did, why it was done, and provides a basis for the expert’s opinions. This is the time for the expert to demonstrate the depth of the analysis that was done.
Q. Should experts suggest key questions for retaining counsel?
Absolutely. Whenever possible, I like to provide counsel with those questions to make sure that the important points are not missed. Also, by preparing the questions myself, I will understand what the attorney is asking me. If the attorney does not understand my question, it gives me an opportunity to educate the attorney to make a more effective direct examination.
Q. How important is practicing the direct examination with retaining counsel prior to trial?
There is never enough practice as far as I am concerned. Both the attorney and the expert should get use to the rhythm of the questions and answers and it is very important to make sure that the expert does not provide answers that will not be understood by a judge or jury.
Q. What should retaining counsel do to help inoculate the expert on direct?
It never hurts to bring out the weak points on direct so that they can be addressed up front rather than provide the cross-examining attorney with a gotcha moment. Retaining attorney can take the wind out of the other side’s sails and allow the expert to address these issue up front rather than during a cross examination.
Mr. Trugman will be speaking at the SEAK National Expert Witness Conference to be held on May 3-4, 2014 in Orlando, FL.
Direct Examination of the Expert Witness: How To Work With Counsel To Achieve a Powerful Effective Direct
Gary Trugman CPA/ABV, MCBA, ASA, MVS
All too often the expert witness’ direct examination is neglected resulting in the failure to achieve a powerful, positive and long lasting first impression of the expert. Mr. Trugman will explain and demonstrate how the expert working with retaining counsel can seize the momentum and achieve a successful direct examination. In this presentation he will discuss the numerous goals that can and should be achieved during direct examination of the expert including: educating counsel, introducing and inoculating the expert, humanizing the expert, explaining his/her qualifications in an interesting story fashion, and getting the assignment, methodology, and opinions introduced in an understandable, logical, and persuasive manner.
Gary Trugman CPA/ABV, MCBA, ASA, MVS is a highly experienced and accomplished business valuation and economic damages expert witness. He has been qualified as an expert witness in State Courts of Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California, Michigan, and Federal District Court in Newark, New Jersey, Hammond, Indiana, Atlanta, Georgia, as well as in Bankruptcy Court in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Trugman has lectured and written extensively and is on the faculty of the National Judicial College as well as being an adjunct professor at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.