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August 28, 1991

Trials of an Expert Witness: Tales of Clinical Neurology and the Law

JAMA. 1991;266(8):1142. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470080112045

Harold Klawans is a distinguished neurological clinician and teacher who is also a seasoned expert witness. He presents in this book a tantalizing series of case histories relating his experience with lawyers, judges, and juries. Like many of his colleagues, he has appeared on behalf of defendants and plaintiffs, a situation that often elicits from the opposing attorney the snide comment, "So you'll testify for whoever pays you!" He offers no apologies for his involvement in malpractice cases but makes the important comment that such conflicts should not be resolved based on jabs between lawyer and expert, but rather by sober contemplation of the merits of the case. Because of his unquestionable expertise in neurology, his testimony deserves attention and respect.

The book depicts in some measure the ordeal of cross-examination, which often endures for hours, by aggressive, even insulting attorneys whose purpose is to humiliate, denigrate, and confuse physicians