Witness This – An “Expert” Resource that Won’t Sit on the Bookshelf

By Maggie Tamburro

If you’re searching for a resource that contains almost everything you wanted to know about the federal and state multi-jurisdictional expert witness world, look no further. The Practising Law Institute has recently published its Expert Witness Answer Book 2012, an up-to-date treatise covering the most current information available on the evolving and ever-growing body of federal law, state law, and applicable case law covering expert witnesses.

Thanks to a request from the publisher, we recently had a chance to review this latest PLI publication and it didn’t disappoint – at around 450 pages, it is packed full of practical information that will keep it off your bookshelf and on your desktop within easy reach. The treatise is a comprehensive reference where attorneys can find clear and fast answers to everyday expert witness procedural and practical questions.

Written using the PLI question and answer format, the book is well organized - it is logically divided into topical chapters that make it easy to get a quick overview of specific content areas so you can readily target what you need. The treatise offers a good compilation of the current federal, state, and interpretive case law on a wide variety of useful expert-related information, and addresses substantive issues in a sequential way that makes sense.

Starting with fundamentals – like the Daubert trilogy, Frye, admissibility, relevance, and gatekeeping to name a few - the treatise shifts into procedure, addressing such topics as expert designation and disclosure, expert reports and discoverability of work-product (including discussion of protected attorney-expert communications under newly amended FRCP 26), discovery and deposition, and preservation of error and standards of review.

From there, the editors move into trial topics, such as direct examination, cross examination, and disqualification of experts.

Also included are practice considerations from the eighteen or so contributing litigation attorneys, each weighing in on their specialty area. As an additional feature, the editors have annotated each chapter with citations to offer authority, illustrate, clarify, explain, or provide additional resources to the reader.

The last third or so of the book is devoted to examining the body of law and issues relevant to selecting and using experts in specific practice areas, such as patent infringement, products liability, copyright infringement, and economic damages issues in connection with commercial litigation.

One of this author’s favorite sections is Chapter 6 – a chapter specifically designed for the multi-jurisdictional state practitioner – which is devoted to a state-by-state discussion of rules, statutes, and body of case law applicable to the admissibility of expert testimony as it relates to the rules established under Daubert, FRE 702, and Frye.

PLI’s Expert Witness Answer Book 2012 offers an easy to use research tool which provides a comprehensive guide to expert witness law and associated practice considerations. Although no book on a such a vast and ever changing legal topic can be exhaustive (and this publication certainly makes no such claim), the treatise serves as a good resource for practicing trial attorneys or anyone wanting a quick and comprehensive collection of the law, practice, and procedure as it relates to expert witnesses.

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Maggie Tamburro

Maggie Tamburro is an attorney and writer who holds a Juris Doctor from The John Marshall Law School and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas. She was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1994 and Florida Bar in 1999 and has significant experience in legal research, editing, and writing. Maggie is active her in local community, holding various publicly appointed civic board positions.

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