Know Your Case!
Even a PhD level of technical knowledge will not help you testify if you do not have a working knowledge of the facts of your case. Preparation is the key to effectively “educating” the jury. As we pointed out in the last articles, good professional witnesses consider the courtroom their classroom, hence the reference to “educating” the jury.
If a witness fails to know all the intimate details of the case in which they are involved, it could end up costing him or her big time in terms of credibility. The same can be said about attorneys. Even lawyers who specialize in specific areas are oftentimes “a mile wide and two inches deep” in terms of their technical knowledge. They need to be well briefed by the technical professional. Oftentimes lawyers can discover a great deal about a case or the potential for a case by consulting with an expert beforehand. At that time, the expert witness, another technologist, or both can provide the attorney with a passable working knowledge about the technical aspects of the case.
Exhibits and pictures are especially helpful in the briefing process, and can be used later to help illustrate the case and educate the jury. During what is known as the “pre-trial” phase of a case, the expert witness and legal team will become even more familiar with the case, and with one another, essentially in forming a bond and partnership to assure your side prevails.
We hope these tips help you if you are ever called as a professional witness and we wish you the best of luck in any such endeavor.