A Practitioner's Guide to the Management and Use of Expert Witnesses in Washington Civil Litigation
The Washington litigation process places a premium on the skillful management of expert witnesses. Testimony presented by such witnesses is both readily admissible and virtually unlimited in scope. Washington's adoption of the new Rules of Evidence can only serve to reinforce the current practice. Since most litigated cases involve substantial factual disputes, the development and presentation of expert testimony should be a major concern of all trial attorneys. The importance of trial examination has never been underrated. That part of the litigation process is one that all attorneys relish. The skillful management of expert witnesses, however, involves far more than the formulation of techniques for trial examination. The proper selection, preparation, and protection of one's own experts lay the necessary groundwork for direct examination. Timely ascertainment and thorough cross-examination of opposing experts during the discovery process allow an attorney to limit their effectiveness at trial. Unfortunately, these preliminary matters are often mismanaged. As a result, many attorneys begin trial with little chance of making a skillful presentation. This article offers a basic system for the management and trial use of expert witnesses. Central to this system is a concern for the preliminary litigation events that are so often overlooked.
Thomas V. Harris, A Practitioner's Guide to the Management and Use of Expert Witnesses in Washington Civil Litigation, 3 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 159 (1979).