You’ve seen them in movies and watched them on television. They are the superstars of a trial and their testimony can make or break a lawyer’s case. They’re expert witnesses — from coroners to accountants, engineers and scientists — and judges and juries hang on their every word. They can be the difference between acquittal or conviction or reaping a huge damage award versus being left with nothing but a big legal bill to pay.
Kekewich also shares the five traits of a successful expert witness:
1. Highly intelligent – Most expert witnesses are professionals, such as doctors, chartered accountants or scientists.
2. Inquisitive and thorough – Expert witnesses need an eye for detail. Incomplete, vague, or careless testimony will be picked apart by a skilled lawyer.
3. Good communicator – Experts must explain technical data and jargon to a wider audience of people who might not understand it.
4. Concentration and focus – A complex civil lawsuit can drag on for years and an expert’s testimony can last days.
5. Patience and discipline – Experts must often repeat themselves in court so they must be prepared to constantly go back over the same testimony.