Expert Rules: 100 (and More) Points You Need to Know about Expert Witnesses, 2nd Edition

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By David M. Malone and Paul J. Zwier National Institute of Trial Advocacy, $16.95; 156pp including appendices; ISBN- 1-55681-721-5

Reviewed by Vincent J. Love

This pocket-sized edition is written primarily to assist lawyers in selecting, preparing, and examining expert witnesses. Like its big brother (reviewed in the April 2000 CPA Journal), this condensed version will help CPA experts hone their reporting and communication skills. It will also help the expert avoid the pitfalls of Daubert and Kumho Tire, the two court decisions that established the criteria that judges use to preclude unreliable and incompetent expert testimony. The book is written in a brief comment-and-explanation style that is concise, hard-hitting, and powerful. Its pocketbook size is quite convenient: About the size of a postcard, it fits easily into a pocket, attache case, or purse, for quick reading and reference.

The subject matter is divided into 12 categories and the appendices include the relevant portions of the Federal Rules of Evidence and Civil Procedure, both as amended to December 1, 2000. The book is crammed with good advice for the attorney and the expert witness. Consider the following excerpts:

* "Attorneys cannot select the information to funnel to the expert, because they are not competent to determine whether particular material should be relied upon or rejected."

* "Do not hide facts from the expert."

* "Attorneys should remember that while they may help the expert decide how to express an opinion, it is the expert's responsibility to decide what that opinion is."

* "The expert's report shall contain a complete statement of opinions, bases, information considered, exhibits to be used as summaries or support, qualifications, publications within the past 10 years, compensation, and trial or deposition testimony within the past four years."

* "Obtain [knowledge about the opposing expert] in an organized way by taking the time to ask your expert how the opposing expert would approach this assignment, what biases and prejudices would be active, what sources would be preferred, and so forth, always looking for differences between your testifying expert's approach and that of the opposing expert."

Those gems are just in the first 29 pages of this treasure trove of advice on how to work with experts. For the expert, it is a primer in how to write a report that will be acceptable in a federal court and how to prepare for testimony. …