Book Review: Expert Witness Training by Judd Robbins

Expert Witness Training: Profit from Your Expertise, by Judd Robbins; 2010, Presentation Dynamics; 302 pgs, paperback, $45.00

“Expert Witness Training” is the latest offering from Judd Robbins, labeled in the book description as “an internationally recognized expert witness since 1986 . . . best-selling author of computer training books . . . created more than 25 training (expert witness) DVD’s and videos.”  Robbins had over twenty years of expertise in the computer field before transitioning into expert witness training, and a quick glance at some of his publications on Amazon.com shows this (you’ll find he has written books on everything from DOS to Lotus).  I found this book to be an informative and easy read, and it would be an ideal purchase for anyone looking to profit from expertise in their profession through serving as an expert witness.  It might also prove useful to attorneys who typically hire or depose expert witnesses, as it contains sources as to where to find these witnesses, questioning tips for depositions, and information on billing and pay rates.

The book is in an ideal format for those who are new to the field of providing their expertise as a paid witness, and begins with a discussion as to who generally gets hired as an expert.  Robbins assumes the reader has very-little-to-no knowledge of the legal field, and gives a brief description of the court system and the rules of evidence which allow experts to testify.  After the introductory chapters (covering such things as “Stepping Into the Legal Games,” “Money and Ethics,” and “Getting Hired by Lawyers”), Robbins begins discussing how to deal with lawyers and others one might typically encounter, and then gets into a more substantive discussion on trial preparation, testifying, and cross-examination.

In addition to the information contained within each chapter of the book, Robbins peppers the text with various bold script section he has labeled as “Tactics.”  For example, on page 206 in his discussion on trial preparation, there appears: “TACTIC: Use post-its when rereading depositions to temporarily mark certain pages that you want to discuss with your retaining attorney, or comment on during the trial.”  In addition to these real world tips that he says have benefited him throughout his career (they appear approximately every two or three pages), he provides a summary at the end of every chapter which highlights all the major points in a paragraph or two.

The index and appendixes of the book provide comprehensive information, and like the first few chapters of the book, would be especially valuable to those new to the field.  Appendix A is a glossary of legal terms, provides eighteen pages of basic definitions.  As an example: “ANSWER: In a civil case, the defendant’s written response to the plaintiff’s complaint.  It must be filed within a specified period of time, and it either admits to or (more typically) denies the factual or legal basis for liability.”  Appendixes B and C list all the Federal Rules of Evidence and Civil Procedure which apply to expert witnesses (and all of them are previously discussed in the text of the book as well).  The last three appendixes provide samples of expert reports, fee agreements, and a proper Curriculum Vitae.

Lance Burke, Access Services Librarian, Elon School of Law

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