Your preparation for depositions will generally be much easier if you think about the ways the testimony will be used at trial. This tip applies to most pretrial discovery: it's almost never an end in itself, but something that will be used later in front of a jury. It's no accident that the ins-and-outs of pretrial discovery often make more sense after a lawyer has witnessed some actual trials. When trials are scarce, even reading trial transcripts helps.
The looking-ahead-to-trial tip can be especially useful for deposing your opponent's experts. If you often rely on outlines prepared by other lawyers, this method will also help you understand why it's important to ask the questions lawyers typically ask when deposing experts.
How do you look ahead to trial? Even though every trial cross-examination differs in its particulars, most cross-examinations of experts at trial cover the following points--
A -- Weaknesses in the expert's qualifications or expertise to render the opinions he's rendering;
B -- The expert's lack of preparation to render the opinions he's rendering;
C -- Bias;
D -- Assumptions the expert is making that will be disproved in your case;
E -- Helfpul testimony from the expert that supports your own case.
I've written about these points before. Working from this list, it's easy to see some of the most important areas you'll need to cover when deposing the opposing expert. After all, it's the material you'll get in the deposition that will provide the fodder for the cross-examination. If you do the deposition right, you'll know exactly what the expert is going to say ahead of time, decreasing the risks of cross examination.
Keeping the list above in mind, here is an outline of some of the most important points to cover when deposing an expert witness--
A-- The expert's qualifications and expertise (and lack thereof) in the particular area he's testifying about;
B -- What the witness has done (and has not done) in order to prepare himself to render an opinion;
C -- The expert's past work as an expert witness, especially for the side for which he's testifying in your case, including the income generated from work as an expert witness;
D -- All the expert's opinions; his support for those opinions; and the factual assumptions he's making to reach those opinions;
E -- Points that you will be trying to prove or demonstrate at trial that the expert you are deposing will agree with.