In Cross-Examination Questions (and Answers) About Your Advertising, Rosalie Hamilton, the Expert’s Expert on marketing writes:
Answer questions honestly, and do not elaborate, except to further defuse the question.
As with all deposition and courtroom questions, respond only to questions, not to statements; be comfortable with the silence and wait for a question.
Don’t answer compound questions, or at least divide your response, with one answer to the first part of the question and a clearly separate answer to the second part.
Don’t give credence to a line of questioning by trying to justify what doesn’t need to be justified. Your restraint will make the attorney look foolish to the jury.
Here are a few examples of questions you might encounter and suggestions of possible answers (Note: This is not a consecutive line of questioning):
Q: Do you advertise your expert witness services?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: Doesn’t that mean that you’re a hired gun?
A: No. (Don’t elaborate; make them explain, by your silence, what they mean by a hired gun. This you can then defuse. If the attorney continues that line of questioning, you can define “hired gun” for him as ‘one who is willing to mold his opinion according to request,’ which is not what you do).
Q: You’re available to testify for pay, and are willing to say whatever the attorney asks you to say; isn’t that correct? (compound question)
A: I am paid for my time and expertise in reviewing the case and to testify, if necessary, in deposition or court. What I say is my own opinion based on the facts of the case.
Q: I have a list of directories in which you advertise your services as an expert witness. You are hiring yourself out to testify for various attorneys, correct?
A: I list my services in directories so that attorneys know I am available for record review and testimony.
Q: You “promote” your expert witness services, isn’t that correct?
A: My resume and contact information are listed so that attorneys know I am available.
Q: Retaining counsel found you on one of these “directories,” isn’t that correct?
A: I don’t know.
Q: Your opinion is for sale, isn’t that so?
A: No, I base my opinion on the facts of the case and am paid for my time in reviewing the case and testifying about that opinion.
— — by Rosalie Hamilton, the Expert’s Expert on marketing. She consults and coaches and provides full-service marketing for experts, including web site development. She is the author of The Expert Witness Marketing Book http://www.expertcommunications.com