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Trial Tips: Cross Examination of the Smartest Person In The Room

May 17, 2016
By: Frank Scahill

Dr. Paul Ivancic is an Associate Research Scientist in Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at Yale. He has five Master's Degrees including a Master of Science Degree in Bioengineering; a Master's Degree in computer science; and a Master's Degree in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania. He has two additional Master's Degrees from Yale in Philosophy and Biomedical Engineering, and a Doctoral Degree in Biomedical Engineering from Yale. His resume includes work for NASA and the Center for Disease Control and he has published extensively in the field of Biomedical Engineering.

How do you face the smartest man in the room at trial on Cross-Examination? You obviously are not going toe-to-toe with him on science or engineering or math for that matter. How about embracing his credentials and highlighting them to the jury? Go through all his degrees and ask him about them. Talk about his accomplishments in his field and build him up to be the smartest man in the world, not just the Courtroom. Then, after having him admit all his training, degrees, awards, ask, "And, now Doctor you are involved in Personal Injury cases?".

When pressed Dr. Ivancic could not recall how many cases he has worked on since he began personal injury work in 2007. A man with a Master's Degree in Computer Science and Mathematics, claimed he does not keep a list of cases, nor could he tell what percentage of his income is gleamed from Personal Injury work. He also could not tell the jury how many cases he is presently working on. His lack of forthrightness about his PI work can be used to your advantage. Why would the plaintiff need to hire an expert like this if the case had merit? More importantly, why would an expert like this get involved in PI work? You can go to town on this issue in summation. See the direct and cross-examination of Dr. Ivancic here.

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