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Before proceeding in Federal Court, you should review


Federal Rule of Evidence 702, 703, 704, and 705. Pay close attention to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 26(a) (2) as it controls disclosure of expert testimony and the contents of their written report.


Common Sense Rules for Selection,


Preparation, and Care of Your Expert Selecting your expert based on a host of common sense


rules will insure that your case is successful. Below are some of the rules that I follow whenever I engage an expert:


1. Interview the expert, review their C.V., do a Google search, and ask the appropriate


screening questions.


Experts are busy people. Be prepared to give them a 30-second overview of your case. Identify yourself and tell them that you represent the patient. Believe it or not, many experts will not want to help you and it’s better to find that out right away. Here are the questions I ask: • •


Ask if they know the defendant?


Ask if they perform the procedure which is the basis of the lawsuit? How long? How many? Has what happened here ever happened to you?


• •





Ask for their prior testimony as an expert. See who it has been for – plaintiff or defendant? Ask for their fee schedule.


Ask if they belong to any expert witness services?


• Tell them where the case is taking place. Would it be a problem traveling there for trial in the event it





• •


• •





gets that far?


Ask if they have ever written on the topic? If so, read all of those articles before you engage them.


• Try to find out what they think of your case based on your 30-second summary. Get them to explain their reasons to you.





Be a name dropper. Talk about other attorneys in the field to see if the expert knows them. Talk about other experts in their field to see if they have any thoughts on that person.


Ask if they have ever been sued? Try to get their philosophy about lawsuits. Most will tell you without asking.


Ask if they have ever failed to qualify as an expert?


See if there is anything in their background that you should know about, such as suspensions, loss of privileges, or censures?


See if they are they relocating or traveling anytime soon?


Ask if there is anything they would like to know about you or your firm?


Te purpose of the interview is to get honest answers to the questions, but also to evaluate the expert. Tink of it as a mini-deposition and listen carefully to their answers. If the expert gets into their philosophy about lawsuits, listen to what they tell you. It will give you great insight into problems that may develop later in the event you engage the witness.


If they believe the frivolous Trial Reporter / Summer 2009 23


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