Saturday, March 22, 2008

Charging for Your Time

Do you charge for every minute you spend working on a particular project or case? What about when a past client calls and asks you to look up a detail in an old file? It may take you fifteen or twenty minutes to find that file and then another ten to email or call the client back. Do you charge for it or chalk it up to part of doing business?

What about those five minute phone calls for updates or "I need this document" or "the deadline for this is..."?

These "little" interruptions can quickly add up to billable hours you are missing out on. How do you handle it?

Meet the Expert on Expert Witness Marketing

My mother Rosalie, the Expert on Expert Witness Marketing, will be speaking at the NADE Conference on April 23 in Austin, Texas and at the FEWA Workshop in Dallas, Texas on December 5.

If you will be attending either of these events, be sure to say hello!

I'll let you know about her other speaking engagements as they come up - Rosalie really enjoys meeting readers of our newsletter and blog and putting a face to a name.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Experts and Social Networking

Clark Johnson at Round Table Group is working to educate expert witnesses on how to use the internet and social networking platforms to communicate with each other.

I realize that for many professional service providers, this is the latest and greatest in marketing and getting known. However, since everything an expert says and writes can and will be used against him or her, I wonder about the wisdom of experts using this marketing method.

How do you feel about it? (You can leave your comments anonymously : ) )

Friday, March 07, 2008

Misstatements by Expert Witnesses in Deposition

Yesterday, while researching the answer to a client's question about depositions, I came across the following from Depositions: The Comprehensive Guide for Expert Witnesses.
Correct Misstatements as Soon as Possible: Expert witnesses are not expected to be perfect. During a long and arduous deposition, an expert may misspeak or make a mistake or error. If this I happens, the expert should correct the error on the record as soon as she recognizes the error: "I want to correct a statement I made a few minutes ago. I stated that the 2005 EMG was related to the surgery. That is incorrect. " Counsel may challenge the expert on the mistake before she has an opportunity to correct it. In that case, the expert should admit the error graciously.

After making a mistake, the expert needs to avoid making the matter even worse by an inability or unwillingness to admit the mistake. This could make the expert look biased. If the expert discovers a mistake after the deposition concludes, she should notify counsel and correct the deposition transcript when it comes for her signature.

Example: How to Admit a Mistake

Q: You only treated her for a 2005 accident, correct?
A: You know, it's interesting. I'm looking at what we wrote down here and it says "2001-2004 motor vehicle accident, recovered." I may have misinterpreted what this note was. The accident was '01, but we saw her in '04; and I apologize if I misled you.

Practice Pointer: The expert has done a good job handling his mistake. He comes off as human and above all, honest.
Knowing how often I myself misspeak, you might want to keep this advice in mind.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Can Your Expert Practice Survive the Unexpected?

Are you prepared for the unexpected? Could your practice survive your absence for an extended amount of time? After a recent extended illness, I am giving a lot of thought to these questions and more, and urge you to do so as well. What will happen to your practice if you unexpectedly take ill or suffer an accident or natural disaster?

Do you have disability insurance? Do you know a trusted colleague you could pass your active cases to? What about your employees - do you have a plan to pay them if no new business comes in the door for awhile? Do you have a minimum of three months reserve built up for your own living expenses? Who would notify your clients and put your plans into action if you were unable to do so? Do they know what you would want done?

I certainly hope that none of these situations occur and any plans you make regarding them never have to be enacted but, as my mother says, the best way to prevent disaster is to plan for it.