Be sure the expert is objective and truly impartial, rather than serving as a surrogate advocate.


Be sure the expert avoids inserting himself into the case, as by communicating with the adverse party, his counsel, or his expert or other witnesses.


Be sure the expert avoids any references to the personalities of litigants or of counsel.


The fee of the expert should be no more than commensurate with the time and effort expended in the particular case, the difficulty of the case, and the expert’s professional charges.


The expert should simply answer the questions put clearly and firmly, and not volunteer any extraneous matter (such as “You’ll stop at nothing.”).


The attorney calling the witness should carefully review the records of the witness’ prior professional association and engagements, and seek to learn his peers’ evaluation of the competence of the witness.


The witness’ prior experience as an expert witness should be explored and the number and types of the litigations should be accurately ascertained, and his prior opinion testimony scrutinized.


He should be cautioned to avoid any public comment, above all to the press, radio, TV or other publicity media, including social media.


Any and all books, articles or blogs written by the witness, or even for him, or under his name by free-lance writers, or others, should be carefully reviewed for inconsistencies with the witness’ proposed testimony at the future trial. If the expert is affiliated with a consulting firm, the review should extend to positions taken by that firm.


The witness should not be privy to counsel’s trial strategies, in part because it confuses the core message of helping the finder of fact.


Counsel calling the witness should decide whether any derogatory materials exist about the witness, so counsel can refrain from “opening the door” to such hearsay matters of opinion and speculation that would otherwise probably be excluded by the trial court.


Counsel might do well to ascertain all other names which the witness has used or has been known by, or under which he has written.


The lawyer might warn the prospective witness that his entire past life, and especially all his earlier professional career, may be subjected to intense, outside investigation, and in-court interrogation, so that he should reveal to the attorney calling him any earlier associations or experiences that might be invoked in an effort to discredit him on the stand.


The witness should be reminded of Harry Truman’s oft-quoted remark, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.” The witness stand is no place for the faint-hearted, however valid their opinions on the subject at hand.


The witness who chooses to run the gauntlet of possible severe cross-examination should be counseled to keep his cool. While exhibiting reasonable resiliency, he should be encouraged to stick by the opinions he has developed as a result of years of professional training and experience and which he has stated under oath in answer to the attorney qualifying him as a true expert whose expressions of opinion were entitled to be received by the court.