How Do I Prepare to Testify as an Expert Witness?

Corporate Court Reporting Services

Preparing to testify as an expert witness can be a daunting prospect. After all, the weight of expert testimony frequently helps to determine the outcome of a case. Whether you are testifying in a criminal case, a personal injury matter, a corporate dispute or a family legal situation, it is important to take your contribution to the proceedings seriously. Your sworn testimony may significantly alter the course of one life or many. It is therefore important to be prepared.

Understanding the Basics

You may be asked to testify in a trial setting or you may be asked to give a deposition in less formal surroundings. However, it is important to note that in either scenario your testimony will be given under the pains and penalties of perjury. Whether you are sitting in a courtroom witness box or simply sitting across the table from multiple attorneys, your testimony will be given under oath. It must be executed truthfully, completely and with appropriate acknowledgment of any context or nuance that will help to clarify your meaning.

In addition, your testimony will almost certainly be noted by a court reporter. A court reporter helps to ensure that every word spoken in a formal proceeding is taken down accurately and completely. This service helps to ensure a full record of each case and provides a reference for those involved. If a judge, attorney or juror has a question about what you said in response to a question, they will refer to the notes taken by the court reporter.

Being an Effective Witness

As an expert witness, your duty is not to take sides but to explain your credentials and answer questions to the best of your ability. Your expert testimony will be weighed in context by attorneys for both sides when they present their overall cases to a judge and/or jury.

One of the most challenging practical issues associated with being an expert witness involves answering questions in a specific way. In general, it is important to answer the question asked and to keep your answer relevant to that inquiry alone. In general, an attorney for the opposing side will speak up if he or she believes you are not being allowed to answer a question completely or in context, so you shouldn’t worry too much if a question does not seem “right” to you. However, it will help to speak with the attorney who has called you to testify before the hearing begins. Knowing what areas of your expertise are particularly relevant to the case at hand can be helpful when framing your answers.

Answers to Additional Questions

If you have questions about testifying as an expert witness, corporate court reporting services, testifying under oath or legal cases generally, please do not hesitate to connect with an experienced attorney. Consulting with an attorney will allow you the peace of mind that tends to accompany having your questions answered and having access to necessary legal support and experience. Sometimes it just makes good sense to connect with a professional who is intimately familiar with a situation you may be apprehensive about attempting to navigate.

Thanks to Veritext for their insight into court reporting and preparing to testify as an expert witness.