A Litigator's Guide to Expert Witnesses
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The admission of expert witness testimony remains one of the most contentious, critical, and interesting aspects of modern-day litigation practice. And there is little sign that this tendency will abate anytime soon. The courts have struggled—and will continue to struggle—in their efforts to ensure reliable expert witness testimony without unduly invading the jury’s province to indepen-dently assess the credibility of a particular witness.
The area is an important one. More than a few lawsuits have been won—and lost—solely on the performance of an expert witness. And many a case has settled before trial simply because a party recognized the capability of the expert retained by the other side. The advantages of well-honed expert testimony at trial are well-known, but expert witnesses can also be very critical in the early stages of litigation—assessing evidence, making suggestions for trial strategy, assembling critical documents, and in all the other tasks involved in preparing for trial.
Attorneys who first think of hiring an expert when it is time to draft the witness list or reply to interrogatories will inevitably pay the price. And the price is a dear one. In all but the most routine cases, the attorney must begin the search early on if the client’s case is to be advanced as persuasively as possible.
A Litigator's Guide to Expert Witnesses, Second Edition strives to approach expert witnesses in a logical fashion. It's not intended to be a scholarly treatise containing reams of supporting citations, but a quick reference guide. The first half of the book sets forth the so-called legal side of things. Chapters 1 and 2 provide a general overview and description of the legal framework. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 relate to discussions of the critical Supreme Court decisions, discovery rules, and evidentiary rules dealing with expert witness testimony.
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