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Forensic engineers serve as consultants to the legal profession and as expert witnesses in courts of law. In my experience, most opposing attorneys are civilized. However, some of them can be nasty and abrupt in their cross-examination. Consider cross-examination questions like the following, and craft answers that suit your personality and temperament. But listen carefully because a slightly differently worded question may require an entirely different reply. After every question, pause for a beat to give yourself time to form the best answer and to allow your attorney/client time to object. If he or she does object, immediately stop talking until the judge rules. In any case, try not to lose your cool.


Question: How much are you being paid for your testimony?

Answer: My company charges $XXX per hour for my professional services; my testimony is not for sale.

Question: Isn’t it true that you would not be here today if it weren’t for the obscene amount of money that you are being paid?

Answer: Like you, counselor, I am being paid appropriately for my professional services.

Question: Have you ever lied?

Answer: Of course, but never under oath.

Question: Have you ever been wrong?

Answer: Yes, but never on the witness stand.

Question: Did you read all the documents regarding this case?

Answer: I requested all of the relevant documents and read them.

Question: You haven’t told us everything today, have you?

Answer: No, it would be impossible to condense 40 years of professional practice into a few hours.

Question: What is the reputation of the opposing expert?

Answer: I like him. I don’t know what others think of him.

Question: Did you remove any information from your case file?

Answer: I updated my case file, but I didn’t remove any relevant information.

Question: How much money do you make in an average year?

Answer: That is personal and not relevant to these proceedings.

If you are directed by the judge to answer, respond with one of the following:

Answer: My income from litigation related services is about $XX,XXX.


I don’t know; it varies from year to year.

Question: Did your attorney/client tell you what to say today?

Answer: No, of course not. Except to speak slowly and clearly.

Be especially cautious of compound cross-examination questions, run-on multiple questions, or ones with multiple parts. Ask to have them rephrased, one question at a time. Politely keep asking for clarifications until you understand the question.

Litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable. If what is involved interests you, I recommend adding “Forensic Engineering” to your practice as a consulting engineer. Get Jack’s new book: The “Complete Guide” to FORENSIC ENGINEERING to learn the details. Also, the largest chapter in his book: The”Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING covers the “highlights of Forensic Engineering. Visit to find out more.

Learn how to be a forensic engineer. Find out how to be a forensic expert witness. Discover how to be an engineering expert witness. Find out how to obtain training as a forensic engineer. Learn how to obtain training as an engineering expert witness.

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Consulting Engineering Salaries in Canada


 Engineering Legacies reported that starting salaries for engineers and technologists in the consulting engineering industry vary from province to province and will also depend on the state of the economy in each province at the time.

There are also variances between urban and rural locations, and between firms that specialize in different types of work.  Some of the provincial consulting engineering associations and professional engineering registration bodies carry out salary surveys, and you may be able to access information by contacting them directly.

For the most part, well-qualified professional engineers or certified technologists in the consulting engineering sector are compensated equally well as, and often better than, other professions, particularly if they have:

  • achieved a reputation for their specialized knowledge;
  • risen to a senior management role;
  • invested in an ownership position in the firm for which they work; or
  • if they are prepared to relocate to work on projects in remote locations, domestically or internationally.

As an engineering or technologist student considering a career in consulting engineering, or as a graduate engineer who might be weighing the options between entering consulting engineering and taking a second degree, you should take many factors into consideration, but salary should not be one of them. It might be true that a graduate engineer entering the workforce typically earns less than a graduate lawyer. However, by the time a law student graduates, the engineer already has several years’ working experience, and will often be earning as much or more than the graduate lawyer.  Firms that offer consulting engineering services contribute to the social, environmental and economic quality of life in Canada and around the world, and offer the kind of challenges and rewards, financial and otherwise, that other professions cannot.

The Engineer’s Resource extrapolated available data and adjusted for inflation and offers the following 2015 estimate in Canadian Dollars:

SPECIALTY   ENTRY  5 10 Yrs.  10-20 Yrs.  20 + Yrs.
Electrical Engineers $76,000 $110,000 $148,000 $181,000
Mechanical Engineers $70,000 $102,000 $137,000 $167,000
Civil Engineers $60,000 $88,000 $118,000 $143,000

For more about consulting engineering see The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING © 2015 John D. Gaskell. Order at Use discount code “paperback” and save.