The Scientist or Engineer as an Expert Witness: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Scientist or Engineer as an Expert Witness

1st Edition

By James G Speight

CRC Press

216 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781420052589
pub: 2008-11-14
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The increased technical nature of litigation coupled with an increase in the number of cases have given rise to the need for a book specifically written for scientists and engineers called to testify as expert witnesses. Unique in its approach, The Scientist or Engineer as an Expert Witness assists these experts in clearly conveying the often complicated information to a non-technical audience.

Highly detailed and exceedingly thorough in scope, the book begins with a complete discussion of the functions of the expert witness before delving into the process of how attorneys find experts. A significant portion discusses the professional resume and other tools the expert can use to market him- or herself. The author supplies a helpful primer on the rules of evidence and a discussion of the attorney-expert witness relationship. He includes ample treatment of the use of reports and visual aids, as well as issues that arise during depositions. The book closes with a comprehensive discussion of the trial itself, followed by post-trial responsibilities. A complete glossary of terms further clarifies the material.

Dr. James G. Speight has more than 40 years’ experience in areas associated with the properties and processing of conventional and synthetic fuels. He is the editor of the journals Petroleum Science and Technology, Energy Sources Part A: Recovery, Utilization, and Environmental Effects, and Energy Sources Part B: Economics, Planning, and Policy. He has testified numerous times as an expert witness and the guidance he provides gives witnesses all the information needed to testify confidently and effectively.


"…this is a useful book for those venturing into the legal quagmire and has much good and sensible advice to offer. It is not a light read, but it is helpful to have one place where these matters are explained in terms that the non-legal expert can follow."

—A.M. Glazer, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, writing in Crystallography Reviews, Volume 17, Issue 2 April 2011, pages 145 - 146

"The Scientist or Engineer as an Expert Witness is aimed at scientists and engineers who intend to be useful as experts for the plaintiff or for the defense. … Speight, who has testified numerous times as an expert witness, provides guidance that gives witnesses all the information needed to testify confidently and effectively. In addition, both plaintiff and defense lawyers and their paralegal assistants can profit from The Scientist or Engineer as an Expert Witness, which is written from the viewpoint of an experienced scientist. Highly detailed and exceedingly thorough in scope, the book is clear and readable.", January 2009, Issue 117

Table of Contents

Being an Expert Witness


An Expert Witness

Types of Experts

Types of Litigation

Rules of the Court versus Rules of the Laboratory

Work Product and Attorney–Client Privilege

Ethical Considerations

The Resume, the Internet, and Retention of the Expert


The Resume

Using the Internet

Selecting and Retaining an Expert

Retention of the Expert


The Expert Witness


Qualifications and Experience

The Client

The Initial Attorney–Expert Contact

The Expert and the Dispute

Time to Walk Away

Confidentiality and Nondisclosure


Attorney–Expert Witness Relationships



Scientists and Engineers

Information from the Attorney

Discoverable and Nondiscoverable Communications





Explaining Science and Engineering to Judges and Jurors

The Oral Report

The Written Report

Charts, Figures, and Visual Aids

The Predeposition and Deposition


The Pleadings Stage


Predeposition Preparation

Items for the Deposition

The Deposition

Conflict of Interest

The Trial


Pretrial Preparation

Trial Preparation

Courtroom Layout

Jury Trial and Bench Trial

The Judge

The Jury

The Expert Witness in Court

The Scientist or Engineer on the Witness Stand



After-Trial Responsibilities

The Trial Transcripts

Future Litigation Arising from the Trial

Records Accumulated during the Case

Lessons Learned


Bibliography and Additional Reading


About the Originator

About the Series

Chemical Industries

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Criminal Law / General
SCIENCE / Chemistry / Industrial & Technical