Effective Expert Witnessing: Practices for the 21st Century, 5th Edition (Hardback) book cover

Effective Expert Witnessing

Practices for the 21st Century, 5th Edition

By Jack V. Matson

CRC Press

204 pages

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pub: 2012-08-30
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The testimony of an expert witness can lead to success or failure in cases that hinge on the presentation’s impact on a jury. Effective Expert Witnessing, Fifth Edition: Practices for the 21st Century explores the fundamentals of litigation, trial preparation, courtroom presentation, and the business of expert witnessing. Extensively updated to reflect new developments since the last edition, it provides practical advice enabling expert witnesses and attorneys to maximize the effectiveness of their expert testimony.

The Fifth Edition includes three new chapters. The first uses a hypothetical case study to explore expert witness immunity and issues related to professional malpractice and civil liability. In a chapter on psychology and the art of expert persuasion, noted social psychologist and witness preparation specialist Ann T. Greeley reveals the psychology of juries, discusses what makes an expert effective, and provides tips for conveying effective testimony through verbal and nonverbal behavior and graphics and technology. The final chapter surveys nine of the worst mistakes an expert can make and provides tips on how to avoid them.

Accompanying the book is an invaluable CD-ROM in which Dr. Matson introduces video clips demonstrating effective and ineffective expert testimony at deposition and trial. The book and supplemental CD-ROM provide robust strategies ensuring that expert witnesses have the best possible advantage in presenting testimony that is credible, persuasive, and compelling.


Praise for the Previous Edition:

"Effective Expert Witnessing is a well-conceived and well-written book that organizes the often seemingly chaotic proceedings of litigation into a logical, structured, step-by-step process, one that individuals outside the legal community can readily understand. The numerous suggestions and analyses presented by the authors serve to bridge the gap between scientific expert witnesses and the legal community. The case studies highlight the impact and importance of the interrelationships of the fields of science, health care, and the law. This book is recommended for individuals possessing scientific knowledge and expertise who contemplate undertaking the role of a consulting or testifying expert witness. In addition, physicians who are summoned to testify in a court of law, and attorneys involved in various kinds of medical-legal litigation will find this book an especially useful reference."

Journal of Legal Medicine

Table of Contents


The Legal Environment

Lawyers and Litigation


The Role of the Expert Witness

What Is an Expert Witness?

How Experts Can Be Utilized in Litigation

Two Types of Experts: Consulting and Testifying

The Relationship between Lawyers and Experts

The Expert Report

A Closer Look at the Impact of Daubert

Conformity versus Flexibility

Standards for Reliability and Relevance

The Role of the Judge under Daubert

Daubert Applied

The Impact of Daubert on Expert Witnessing

A Word on Junk Science

An Additional Impact of Daubert—The Amended Rules of Evidence

Key Cases and Precedents Affecting Expert Witnessing

Frye v. United States (1923)

Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (1993)

General Electric v. Joiner (1997)

Carmichael v. Kumho Tire Company (1998)

The Hearsay Rule and Its Relevance to Experts

In Summary


The Pretrial Process

Affirmative Defenses



Automatic Disclosure

Production of Documents

Organization of Documents

Chain of Custody

The Expert Report

Preparing the Expert Report


Preparing for a Deposition

The Process of Deposing Expert Witnesses

Preparing for Trial

Developing the Trial Theme

Preparing the Lawyers

Changing Your Opinion

Trial Exhibits


Understanding the Judge

Types of Juries

Jury Selection

The Courtroom Drama

The Jury—the True "Audience" of the Trial

Opening Statements

Direct Examination

The Role of the Attorney

Building the Case

Preparing for Cross-Examination


Opposing Counsel’s Strategies

Hypothetical Questions

Other Important Aspects of Cross-Examination

Jury Instructions and Closing Arguments

Post-trial Motions and Appeals


The Art of Expert Witnessing

Developing the Professional Relationship

Maximizing Your Effectiveness



Be Prepared

Be Professional

Be Organized

Tell the Story

Show Emotion


Create Vivid Visualizations

The Ethics of Expert Witnessing

The Future of Expert Witnessing

Revisiting the Use of "Neutral" Experts

The Impact of Technology and Social Media

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Tort Reform

The Business of Expert Witnessing

Forming an Expert Witnessing Business

Contractual Considerations for Expert Witnesses

Basic Types of Contractual Arrangements

Retainer Contracts

Time and Materials Contracts

Flat Fee Contracts


Organizational Directories

Professional Societies

Expert Witness Service Companies


Letters to Attorneys


Direct Mail

Expert Referral Agencies

Education-Based Marketing Strategies

Expert Immunity, Professional Malpractice, and Civil Liability

Hypothetical Situation

Expert Mary Watson Retained

Mary Watson’s Investigation and Expert Opinions

Deposition of Mary Watson

Deposition Debriefing of Mary Watson

Legal Action

Breach-of-Contract Action


Possible Judicial Outcomes

The Judge’s Decision



Psychology and the Art of Expert Persuasion; Ann T. Greeley, PhD


How Are Today’s Jurors Different?

Psychology of Juries

Jury Decision Making

Cognitive Dissonance and Heuristics

Thin Slicing and Cognitive Embodiment

Learning Style, Persuasion, and Expectations


What Makes an Expert Effective?


Testifying in Depositions or at Trial

Recommendations for Nonverbal Behavior

Effective Verbal Communication

How Graphics and Technology Help

Graphics Can Affect Cognitions

Specific Ways That Graphics and Technology Change the Trial Canvas

Are Judges Biased?


In Conclusion

Nine of the Worst Mistakes That Experts Make and How to Avoid Them

Establishing Credibility

Number 1: Mr. Blinkoff versus Mr. Blinkon


Number 2: Mr. Unlikeable versus Mr. Likeable

Number 3: Dr. Bellicose versus Dr. Zen

Confidence 1

Number 4: Mr. Wimpy versus Mr. Warrior

Number 5: Ms. Freako versus Ms. Cool


Number 6: Dr. Bias versus Dr. Fair

Number 7: Dr. Fudger versus Dr. Precise


Number 8: Ms. Make Up versus Ms. Exact


Number 9: Robot versus Human


Appendix: Expert Witness Resources


About the Author

Jack V. Matson, Ph.D., is emeritus professor of environmental engineering at The Pennsylvania State University and an owner of Matson and Associates Inc., a litigation support consulting engineering firm, in State College, Pennsylvania. His expertise is in the field of chemical emissions, water and wastewater treatment, air pollution, and hazardous wastes. In the course of his career, he has been deposed in over 100 cases and testified at 20 trials. He continues to be active as an expert witness in environmental litigation, specializing in chemical emissions. He is a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania, Texas, and Ohio.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Forensic Science
LAW / Medical Law & Legislation
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology