In Expert Witness – A Valuable Asset, William Gulya, Jr., construction expert witness and President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:
As in any profession, there are good and bad experts. An attorney should always talk with a prospective expert to obtain a sense of his or her demeanor, character, and experience in their field of expertise. One of the most common questions faced by experts from opposing legal council is “Mr. Expert, have you ever personally performed or supervised this type of task?” The ideal response would be “Yes, I have.” There are three types of experts — those with book knowledge only, those with hands-on field experience only, and those with both. Those experts who possess both book knowledge and hands-on experience in their field of expertise are the most desirable and sought after because they can answer “Yes.”
The most crucial component provided to the attorney is the expert’s report. After days of hearing conflicting testimony during trial, it is in large part the expert’s report that jurors will turn to for clarification. It must be neat, professional, properly formatted, grammatically correct, and organized. The report must present the facts of the case in a clear and concise manner and include a summary of the expert’s opinion to which laypersons and jurors will relate.