Tuesday, May 27, 2008

U.S. Court System Not So Bad

The United States legal system has its flaws, but compared to alternatives, we are doing pretty good. You, as expert witnesses, take your share of criticism - being accused of being hired guns, having your credentials and motives questioned, being lumped in with the few bad apples out there, etc. And of course, lawyers get the most criticism (Google "lawyer jokes" and see for yourself), some of it valid (see the compilations of responses from our newsletter readers - Expert Pay Discussion and Designation Without Permission). But judges and the system overall are frequently under attack as well.

Judge John C. Lenderman wrote a well-articulated column, "In Defense of the Lawyers" in the St. Petersburg Times in which he makes a case that "Our system of justice does not tolerate frivolous lawsuits, nor does our system of justice tolerate the actions that give rise to lawyer jokes."

From your experiences with the players and the system - do you agree with Judge Lenderman?

Friday, May 23, 2008

It's Not Too Late...

The 17th Annual National Expert Witness Conference is coming up - June 19-20 in Hyannis, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Presenters include judges, attorneys and experts. Here's one expert's feedback from last year's event:

"I went last year and it was great. Not to mention my business doubled last year. I have been an expert for 15 years and didn't realize how much I didn't know. Last year was the first year I went. I will be unable to attend this year but will try again next year."

Rosalie has attended several times and always comes away with good ideas and new relationships. It's not too late to get in on this year's conference.

Marketing Professional Services Can Be Risky

Marketing an expert witness practice carries its own unique risks, but marketing any professional service takes some courage. How do you know it will work? What if it not only fails, but alienates potential clients? Not to mention that you've probably put a hefty chunk of change into the effort.

Bruce W. Marcus, international pioneer in professional services marketing, has written a great essay "Is Marketing Worth the Risk?" in which he addresses those risks and ways to mitigate them. A good read and worth your time.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Expert Witness Resource Round-Up

A brief selection of recent articles and resources:

Should experts collaborate or compete? This is the question addressed by attorney Robert Ambrogi in "Expert Secrecy: An Ethics Dilemna?" This article has generated several comments from readers.

The second part of Allan Griff's article "Why Do They Call Us Witnesses" (I mentioned the first part in an earlier post) has been published at the IMS website.

Dr. Perry Hookman has just published Medical Malpractice Expert Witnessing. Although it addresses the expert witness, it extensively covers issues faced by the defendant physician as well. As Dr. Hookman writes in the introduction, "I wrote this book because this is the kind of book I wish was available to me prior to my first harsh contact with the U.S. medical malpractice tort system."

Finally, with the vast information available about all of us on the Internet, I suggest you check out the Electronic Privacy Information Center's "Online Guide to Practical Privacy Tools." (Hat tip to Jim Calloway for the heads-up on this site.)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Designation With/Without Permission

In light of our recent discussion on being designated as an expert without being contacted/retained by counsel, this decision by state Superior Court Judge Raymond Batten is quite interesting. He was asked to disqualify an expert witness for the prosecution because the defense team had contacted him first. He denied that request because the expert was neither under retainer nor had any agreement to testify for the defense.

Perfect Time for a "Howdy" Card

With the U.S. Postal rates set to increase again on May 12th, now is the perfect time to send a "howdy card" to your contact list and save some money in the process. (You might also stock up on "Forever" stamps, which are good for first-class mail forever, no matter what rate increases occur in the future.)

As Rosalie says, "The topic of a professional announcement you send to clients and other potential referral sources, as well as good prospects, is almost beside the point. Your real objective is just to say "Howdy," to bring you and your services to the recipient's mind. So I call them "Howdy Cards."