Know Your Enemy: How Researching Opposing Experts Can Strengthen Your Position In Court

Trial prep requires an attorney's readiness to challenge the testimony offered by the opposition. This includes confronting the testimony offered by an expert witness.

Edward Maggio, J.D., M.S.

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— Updated on April 7, 2022

Know Your Enemy: How Researching Opposing Experts Can Strengthen Your Position In Court

When dealing with an expert witness, exposing the truth is not only an essential part of a cross examination, but one that becomes imperative. An attorney must ask questions to allow the jury to see that the opposing expert witness has a bias in a case. It may also be possible to show the expert witness is claiming credentials they, in fact, may not possess or have previously exaggerated.

A collateral attack on an expert witness allows an attorney to turn the jury against them or at least create doubt as to their testimony. However, to develop a strong collateral attack, extensive research is essential. Before any testimony is given in open court, attorneys can learn a large amount of information in preparation to rebut that expert witness. Oftentimes, focusing less on the case facts themselves and more on the expert and their potential biases is a much more effective strategy for defeating an expert witness during cross examination. The information necessary to defeat an expert witness can be found in a number of major sources.

Search Engines and Social Media Websites

A focused internet search can reveal valuable information about an expert’s employment history, academic background, publications, and professional affiliations. Many expert witnesses have their articles, research projects, or conference presentations available for viewing by the online public. Looking into these resources can paint a better picture of the expert’s views on key topics at issue in a  case. An attorney or researcher can discover a pattern in the expert’s professional work. Such patterns can be investigated into why an expert’s scientific or expert conclusions are problematic in their scope, methodology, or results. Social networking websites also offer information on an expert’s professional background, current/former employer, specialties, education, recommendations, associations, contact information, and even a link to a professional website not easily found on a search engine.

In addition, any personal websites or blogs that contain information relevant to a case are fair game. An expert witness who posts Facebook comments that “car accident victims are injured by people, not car manufacturers,” can be impeached as having a bias against personal injury victims. Furthermore, social networking websites can yield extensive information as to an expert’s career in a particular industry. If they are using websites to promote themselves as ‘hired guns’ for a particular industry, the financial motive of their testimony can be challenged in court.


Thanks to a review of online blogs, attorneys can learn an expert’s biases or viewpoints on an issue prior to their testimony. Blogs generally feature informal written or video commentary. Because blogs are informal by nature, experts may publish statements that call their testifying opinions into question. This provides strong cross-examination material for use at trial. It is hard for an expert to deny their personal views when presented with written or video evidence of their own remarks. Also, comments posted by others to an expert’s blog entry may provide guideposts for attacking that expert’s testimony.

Old Resumes

As expert witnesses testify in cases more frequently, they are more likely to edit their resumes that are online. In addition, prior lawsuits often feature the expert’s resume as part of court-filed documents. From reviewing an old resume and comparing it to the newest resume, you can note any differences. More importantly, you can discover what credentials have been changing over time. You can learn what recent additions have been made to their resume since their last testimony. It is not uncommon for experts to pad their resumes with credentials that lack experience or education. Also it important to review their certifications and training. An expert who provides car accident reconstruction testimony with no experience in such work or an expert who discusses x-rays when they have no medical training would be problematic.

Expert Directories

Expert directories offer large amounts of information to litigators. Professional experts provide this information in order to obtain employment in a case. As such, this information is a way to verify all credentials. As a marketing tool, viewing an expert’s page and seeing a very large set of areas of expertise is concerning. By definition, experts cannot be experts in such a vast amount of subject areas. Experts who appear on such directory pages are more likely to testify outside of their actual expertise for a fee.

Expert Challenge History

Analysis of verdict reports that mention a particular opposing expert can help to strengthen your case for excluding that expert. From the reports, it is possible to draw conclusions about the expert witness’ potential biases. Verdict reports may show the expert always seems to testify for plaintiffs or defendants. Additionally, they may show the expert has testified for a particular party or attorney on numerous occasions exclusively.

Two Services in One: Expert Radar

The best way to find the most comprehensive data on any opposing expert is by activating Expert Radar. Expert Radar provides an overview of the expert’s litigation history—both expert witness litigation and personal litigation. You’ll have access to the details of each case, including which party retained the expert, a summary of their involvement, and the outcome of the case. If the expert has been challenged, those challenges will be listed along with the outcome, and you’ll be notified in real-time if a new Daubert or Frye challenge occurs. You’ll also be able to see any previous or ongoing personal litigation involving the expert.

Additionally, you’ll be able to review the opposing expert’s professional standing—including publications they authored, current licenses and certifications, employment history, and more. You can also check their social media posts, malpractice claims, and other affiliations to find something that could compromise their credibility.

With Expert Radar, you receive an expanded background report on the opposing expert, and you’ll be notified when anything on their profile changes. Both of these services are critical for assessing the integrity of the opposition’s experts, giving attorneys a leg-up in court. As the old maxim tells us, if you know your enemy, you are almost certain of a victory.

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