Rules of Evidence in Virginia: Expert and Opinion Testimony (On Demand Seminar)

MCLE Credits: 2.0
Ethics Credits Included: 0.0

MCLE Credit: 2.0 (Ethics: 0.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
Designation Credit: 2.0 Trial Practice/Litigation
(Designations Information)
Price: $189 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)
Viewable Through: 02/28/2026


A pre-recorded streaming VIDEO replay of the May 2023 webcast, Rules of Evidence in Virginia: Expert and Opinion Testimony.

Course Outline

  • Examine situations in which opinion testimony is admissible
  • Review how to qualify a witness as an expert
  • Explore how to properly examine expert witnesses
  • Get the electronic version of an extraordinary set of written materials published by Virginia CLE®, A Guide to the Rules of Evidence in Virginia—a $90 value—included in the regular fee!

Whether offered by lay witnesses or experts, opinions can be very persuasive to the trier of fact, but counsel must have a firm grasp on the rules regarding what is admissible and what is not. Opinion testimony can be offered by either type of witness, but there are differences in admissibility between civil and criminal cases.

Our experienced faculty show you how to lay a proper foundation for both lay witness and expert opinion testimony, discuss the limitations on what opinions are admissible, and recommend best practices for direct and cross examination.

Topics include:

Lay Opinion/Expert Qualification

  • Review when a lay person can offer opinion testimony
  • Review when expert testimony is permissible or required
  • Learn how to qualify a witness as an expert
  • Assess when and how opposing counsel should attack the qualification of an expert

Expert Foundation/Reliability of Opinion

  • Explain reliability and ipse dixit
  • Review recent Supreme Court cases excluding opinions on the basis of no foundation or reliability

Direct Examination/Limitations on What Opinions Are Admissible

  • Explore the limits on an expert testifying about the basis of the expert’s opinion
  • Review how to use learned treatises on direct exam of the expert

Cross Examination of Experts

  • Learn the science of cross-examining experts
  • Examine how to define the expertise of the designated expert
  • Understand how to combine challenges to foundation and reliability successfully
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John D. McGavin, McGavin, Boyce, Bardot, Thorsen, & Katz PC / Fairfax
Thomas W. Williamson, Jr., Williamson Law LC / Richmond


John D. McGavin, McGavin, Boyce, Bardot, Thorsen, & Katz PC / Fairfax

John McGavin is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, Past President of the Virginia Law Foundation, and Past President of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys. He served on the Boyd-Graves Conference from 2004 through 2022, and on the Steering Committee of Boyd-Graves. In addition, Mr. McGavin has served on the Evidence Committee that participates in the edits and additions to the Rules of Evidence in Virginia. Mr. McGavin has tried to verdict in excess of 375 jury trials in state and federal courts in a variety of different areas of law including Torts, Malpractice, Products Liability, and Defamation, and early on in his career a court-appointed murder trial in federal court.

Thomas W. Williamson, Jr., Williamson Law LC / Richmond

Thomas Williamson’s special interest is cases involving complex medical, scientific, and engineering issues. He has represented persons harmed by defective products, medical malpractice, serious vehicular accidents, and other wrongful conduct. He has also tried defamation, land use, property, environmental, and civil rights cases. In addition to representing clients at trial, Mr. Williamson has had an active practice in the appellate courts. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and has served as president of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (VTLA) and the John Marshall Inn of Court, and as Chair of the Boyd-Graves Conference. Mr. Williamson was named Best Lawyers®’ 2012 Richmond Medical Malpractice Lawyer—Lawyer of the Year. He was also selected the 2009 Lawyer of the Year, Personal Injury Litigation (Virginia) by Washington D.C.’s Best Lawyers®. Richmond magazine selected him as the top lawyer in medical malpractice, product liability, and personal injury litigation based upon a survey of 2,000 practicing lawyers.

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