Importance of Qualifying an Expert

Attorney’s hire expert witnesses when they need assistance from someone with expertise, training, or experience beyond what is considered common knowledge. Expert witnesses can bring credibility to a case and can be employed to cast doubt on facts or evidence that has been presented by opposing counsel.

Before an expert witness is allowed to testify before a jury, they must be qualified by the court. An expert may be qualified based on professional expertise, accomplishments, and any specialized training that directly relates to the case. Qualifying an expert witness has to be done carefully to ensure that the expert’s testimony is not only allowed at trial, but also to convince the jury that the expert’s testimony can be trusted and used to formulate a final verdict.The following questions are examples an attorney can use to question their expert.

  • What is your occupation/profession?
  • What is your educational background?
  • What degrees, certificates, or licenses do you have?
  • Have you attended or conducted continuing education seminars, conferences and related training?
  • Are you a member in any professional organizations/societies?
  • Have you received any awards or other professional recognition?
  • Have you published articles in your field?
  • How many cases involving [subject matter] have you handled?
  • How many years have you worked in this field?

Basic Functions of an Expert Witness

The original role of a testifying expert witness relates to their ability to express an opinion. Expressing an expert opinion is often times easier said than done. They must be able to:

    • Offer Unbiased Opinions

An expert should be available to provide assistance to the court through the presentation of unbiased opinion in relation to matters relative to their expertise. 

    • State Facts that Support their Conclusions

An expert witness needs to state any and all facts that support his given opinions. An expert must also share material facts that may detract from his concluded opinion. The expert must not omit any information that is relevant to their analysis.

    • Admit when a Question is out of their Area of Expertise

An expert should make it known to the court when a specific question is outside of their professional expertise.

Education And Formal Training

An expert witness with experience and humanity is a force to be wrecked with. The amount of information revealed about the witnesses’ educational background depends on the case. If the witness is an expert in certain field then it should be heavily emphasized. Sharing their license, degrees and what university they attended while receiving their education will reinforce their overall credibility; this includes any formal training and publications. 

Expert Skills

Experts should also have a specific skill set for the courtroom. Experts will need to speak clear and concise to ensure understanding of jury. They will also need to be able to explain complex ideas and concepts concisely and simply. They will need to have patience with the courtroom. An expert witness that is able to follow the instructions of the hiring attorney is one that should be highly sought after.
Expert Witness

Contact an Expert with Litili

All of the above factors will assist in qualifying your witness. Remember, a witness is not considered an expert until they are qualified. Asking all the proper questions is pertinent; once the witness is qualified it gives the expert added legal weight. Need more information on qualifying an expert? Email our us with your questions and we can assist you.