Lawyers need to train their experts? Well, sort of.
Experts need no training in their subject matter, but they may and often do need guidance in preparing for report-writing, depositions, and trial. And there may be no better guide than the succinct ABA publication HOW TO TRAIN YOUR EXPERT: MAKING YOUR CLIENT’S CASE.
Written as a guide for “young litigators,” HOW TO TRAIN is a useful tool for lawyers of all experience levels. And it is actually a training for lawyers – a checklist with brief and easily comprehended discussions of almost all the topics a lawyer contemplating use of expert testimony must deal with.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Do you need an expert?
- How to find a credible testifying expert
- Consulting experts
- Experts and issues of privileged communications
- The expert report
- Preparing the expert for a deposition
The guidance offered is in short bursts, with each chapter enhanced with supplemental readings. If there are any drawbacks, they are few. The focus is on civil practitioners, so the differences in discovery and report writing requirements for criminal cases is ignored; and a glaring omission is the lack of discussion of Federal Rule of Evidence 703, and the problems arising when experts base opinions on proof that is itself inadmissible.
But these criticisms should not be taken as a lack of endorsement. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR EXPERTS is an essential to train the lawyers who deal with expert evidence – because only when they are properly schooled can they then cabin and get the most from their expert witnesses. This belongs on the litigator’s bookshelf.