Fraud Basics

Preparing for deposition war

Confessions from a first-time expert witness

You look 10 years old. The opposing expert has been an expert witness for 30-plus years. Why in the world should even one juror listen to you over the opposing expert?” It was 7 a.m. in August 2021 — the week prior to my first deposition ever as an expert witness in a trial — when I received an email with these insults. The plaintiff’s counsel had retained the firm I worked for to analyze and trace the plaintiff’s investment into XYZ Corp. My then-managing partner and I jointly prepared a report detailing XYZ’s lack of inventory records, cash withdrawals disguised as inventory purchases and improper revenue recording. Because I’d performed most of the analysis, I asked the plaintiff’s counsel if I could testify rather than my manager (who had three decades of experience providing litigation support services). The plaintiff’s counsel replied with the most belittling, demeaning and unprofessional email that I’d ever received. Yet I couldn’t stop laughing. After multiple rereads of this email, I decided it would be for the best to let it go and not respond. Turns out, that was a good move.

I’d previously scheduled a telephone call with the plaintiff’s counsel for the following day to discuss details for a supplemental report that would be issued. The next morning, I called him and calmly asked about the elephant in the room. The plaintiff’s counsel told me that I’d passed his test by not responding in kind to his purposeful attempts to agitate me. The intent of his disturbing email was to see how I might react when verbally accosted. But I demonstrated that I could remain calm under intense scrutiny that I may encounter in a deposition or trial. I’d be allowed to testify for the first time pending the completion of “expert witness bootcamp” with him as my “drill sergeant.”

For full access to story, members may sign in here.

Not a member? Click here to Join Now. Or Click here to sign up for a FREE TRIAL.