Deposition Testimony: Don’t Fall Prey to Lawyer Tricks

Karrie J. Clinkinbeard, J.D., CFEI
Armstrong Teasdale LLP
Gerald A. King, J.D., CFEI
Armstrong Teasdale LLP

Presented at International Symposium on Fire Investigation, 2014

After an expert completes the origin and cause investigation, has carefully reviewed all available data and thoroughly researched the methodology and conclusions, the upcoming deposition should be easy, right? Not if you are unaware of tricks lawyers use to shape the testimony in the manner the adverse lawyer desires. Even the most qualified experts who have followed all elements of the scientific method in formulating their opinions are at risk if they are not sufficiently prepared to handle the opposing lawyer’s tricks. An adverse lawyer’s goal during a deposition is to have the expert say something they did not mean to or say it in a way that harms that party’s case. Lawyers craftily lay a myriad of traps when questioning an expert, especially with experts who are strong advocates for their clients. This article highlights some of the most effective lawyer tricks and provides advice on how to successfully navigate them. The presentation will contain video clips of actual depositions where these lawyer tricks are used, providing real world examples of what to do (and not do) and how to recognize when the adverse lawyer is setting you up.

Download the complete paper here