Forensic, General & Medical
Expert Witnesses

Expert Witness Tips for Providing Effective Testimony


There are numerous tips for expert witnesses in providing the courtroom with the most effective testimony possible for the subject matter, depending on what the expert needs to get across to the judge or jury panel. These tips often depend on the understanding of the question, the reliable testing methods and relevant content presented to the court.

Understanding the Questions

When the expert witness must answer questions in the courtroom, he or she usually has the difficult position of knowing how to say what to present and what information is important for the questions. However, this requires understanding the full scale of the details in the inquiry. The opposing legal counsel may attempt to confuse, or the lawyer may try to trick the expert. Other legal representatives will work to undercut what the professional says and will use any means necessary to object or challenge the expert and try to remove him or her. With a clear understanding of the questions, the professional has a better chance of remaining in the courtroom as an
expert witness.

Thought and Opposition

When questions or needing to give answers about something, the expert will need some time to think through his or her answer before giving the details. It is critical to give the most appropriate answer rather than a no. This may require a do not recall, do not know or an absolutely not rather than a simple negative. Additionally, the professional may need to stop and consider the information before forming an opposition to the statement from the opposing lawyer. He or she may need to also oppose facts that the other legal professional gives the courts and explain why they are not correct.

Testing and Results

When the expert witness will provide the most effective testimony, he or she must have reliable testing processes that yield important and significant results. In addition to this, the professional must have a way of presenting the material in a concise and confusion-free manner. His or her words should remain consistent and explain the details to the courtroom as if speaking to an average person with little knowledge of the subject matter. The tests and results may require more clear data presented with small words and more information explained for each process. This can increase the effectiveness of the expert’s testimony.

Testimony with Clear Words

Generally, the expert witness may consider the questions given and make an internal debate about what the lawyer means. This could lead to words presented by the professional that are unclear or confusing to the judge or jury panel. It is important to take what the lawyer says and present the necessary information to the courtroom without rewording the question or answering in an unclear way. The expert may need to listen to the question fully before thinking it through and providing the best information about the answer. The professional may not know what the lawyer is trying to get to or what argument is possible but answering truthfully and clearly is still important.

Lack of Hesitation

When the expert is not aware of the answer or is unsure of how to answer, he or she should refrain from hesitating. Rather than starting and stopping with an answer, this professional should use effective language and specify a definitive answer such as no, that he or she does not know the answer or if there are unclear results. The expert should also keep from reacting to any disbelief or negative remarks from the lawyer. There are numerous questions the legal counsel may ask that the professional has no answer or any idea about, and the lawyer may attempt to confuse the expert with details or questions about a completely different subject outside of the scope of expertise the professional has.

Careful Analysis

When there are documents, the expert should analyze these carefully before progressing through testimony or attempting to present evidence or test results. It is possible to confuse one document for another, and this requires scrutiny on all paperwork noticed or submitted by the professional. Some lawyers may also have the expert look at certain files before submitting them into evidence or that are a part of the subject matter. If the professional is not experienced with the paperwork, he or she may need to review it carefully and analyze it for details. To ensure effectively testimony is given to the courtroom, the expert witness may also need to work closely with the lawyer.


Provided by HG.org

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

Find an Expert Witness