Because my field is so specialized, I believe it is one of my duties to assist attorneys in preparing direct examination and cross-examination questions for psychiatrists and psychologists testifying as Expert Witnesses, so the attorney can understand that aspect of the case better and elicit testimony informative to the jury. I taught on this specific topic at Hastings College of the Law Center for Trial and Appellate Advocacy to seasoned attorneys, for 11 years about the direct and cross-examination of Expert Witnesses, and especially mental health Expert Witnesses.  (A companion article on this topic goes into greater depth.) I have been deposed about 700 times and been examined in about 150 trials, in most cases I consult to attorneys in forming questions of other experts in my field relevant to the case and their conclusions. Expert Witnesses by their very nature are permitted to testify because they know and understand a body of knowledge that laypeople are not expected to know. Attorneys are laypeople as far as psychiatry is concerned; for that reason they deserve the participation of an expert to help them understand less obvious aspects of my specialty. When an opposing expert offers an opinion that is contrary to mine and is based upon certain evidence, I believe it is necessary for me to point out where the disagreement exists and why my position is the better one. This can become the basis for preparing attorneys for the cross-examination of another expert. By so doing, I believe I advance the truth-finding process, which is the purpose of a trial and certainly the purpose of discovery.

CategoryCivil Law