Saturday, December 01, 2012

Expert Witness Round-Up

To keep me from pacing during the championship games today, I'm cleaning out my "To Read" stack and want to share just a few of the highlights about expert witnessing from around the internet.

Here's an interesting discussion: Would you want to be a "blind expert," having no idea who the client was until after the initial report was completed?

Attorney Robert Ambrogi takes a timely look at the outcomes when experts sue for libel and discusses the lack of professional guidelines for expert's and the ABA's rejection of proposed expert witness guidelines.

If it's time to work on your deposition and trial skills, SEAK has two workshops coming up in January - Advanced Trial Skills and How to Excel at Your Expert Deposition to assist you.

Speaking of which, I would not want to be up against this opposing counsel in a depoosition or cross-exam. May you never encounter one like him, but forewarned is forearmed.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Expert Witness News & Reading

Happy to be back in Dallas but still getting used to the heat - so I am staying in the air conditioning and getting caught up on my reading! A lot going on in the expert witness world.  Let's start with the David and Goliath tale of the expert who sued a law firm and professional association - and won.

And changes from the courts in rules and rulings:  Attorney Matt Dolman examines the shifting rules concerning expert discovery and takes a look at recent court rulings involving medical expert testimony.

Rounding things out we have attorney Bill Wagner giving solid advice in "So You Want To Be an Expert Witness" and  TREWS' summary of their 2012 Expert Witnss Survey.

Have a great week!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Expert Witness Advertising

Some expert witnesses express concern about their advertising**and being questioned about it by opposing counsel, while others say they let questions about their advertising "bother them all the way to the bank."

One of the keys in responding to such questions is to not take it personally; your poise will speak volumes.  And when answered simply and truthfully, these questions are not usually a problem. 

One expert, in preparing for opposing counsel to ask about his advertising, does a little research of his own. He makes copies of the opposing law firms' ads in their local yellow pages and prints out their website "commercial."  As the questions arise, he pulls these from his bag, and reports that more often than not - dead silence, and then the subject changes.

I'm not sure every expert could pull this off or that it would fly with all retaining counsel, but it does make you smile, doesn't it?

Do you have a ready response to questions about your advertising or does it even concern you?

**Advertising in and of itself is not objectionable or wrong in any way and does not make one a "hired gun." That results, instead, from prostituting oneself by manipulating the facts and opinions to provide a desired conclusion. Ain't no help for that kind of wrong.

Monday, April 02, 2012

See Rosalie in Vegas (and a rare opportunity)

Are you going to the Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA) Annual Conference, "How to Be an Effective Expert Witness," in Las Vegas this month?

If you are, don't miss the pre-conference seminar, "Expert Witness Marketing Secrets," presented by Rosalie Hamilton and attorney Jim Robinson. They are looking forward to revealing the secrets behind successful expert witnesses and will cover topics:
  • How Attorneys Dig Up Dirt on Expert Witnesses
  • Expand Your Practice:  Succeed as an Expert Witness
  • Expert Websites
  • Expert Billing & Collecting
And the best part? At the end of the day, Rosalie will open up to any question you want ask about this sometimes crazy business - a rare opportunity.  Information on this pre-conference seminar can be found on page two of the conference brochure.

Let me know if you're planning to attend and Rosalie will keep an eye out for you!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In Memoriam – Julius S. Piver, MD, JD

(Guest post by Rosalie)

We are sad to tell you that a beloved client and friend has passed away. 

Dr. Julius Piver, an OB/Gyn and legal consultant, died March 22, peacefully and surrounded by his adoring family. 

Julie would have been 88 next month and was still practicing gynecology and doing expert witness work.  When he notified me two weeks ago that his condition was terminal and I
cancelled advertising and other marketing, one referral service told me he had three active cases just with them.

We should all age like Julie did.

I was privileged to meet Julie and his wife Louise at an expert witness conference more than ten years ago, and then to help Julie with his marketing.  It was fun, because although his years were old, he wasn’t, and quite recently we were still adjusting details like not including dates on CV elements.  Obviously, it takes little time to find out that information, but we didn’t want it to be the first thing an inquiring attorney saw, because age was not representative of Julie.  He obtained his law degree at the age of 62! 

A few years ago, when I was living in Florida, I had some female issues and consulted with Julie, in whom I had the highest confidence.  Meredith reminded me today that when I notified Julie of my situation, it was as though he dropped everything and called me instantly, which further endeared him to us.  After talking with him, I planned, if I did not get satisfactory treatment where I was, to switch roles with Julie, travel to Maryland and jump up on his examining table for a real expert consultation.  I would of course have gotten to visit with Julie and Louise as well, so even though my medical issues resolved, I am sorry I didn’t make that trip.

I don’t get to meet many of my clients in person, so I am grateful for that breakfast meeting with the Pivers so long ago, when we became instant friends.  Since that time, Louise and I have noted each other’s birthdays and other important dates (57 years of marriage for them this year!) and news about our children and their grandchildren.  I also got to see Louise again when I attended a book signing for their daughter Susan Piver Browne, who has become a respected author.
We are including a link in case you would like to read Julie’s obituary.

Wherever he is, I hope Julie is entertaining his friends with that little infectious chuckle, and I wish for Louise and the rest of their dear family the comfort and joy of precious memories.

We are fortunate to have known such a special being.  He will be missed.

Rosalie Hamilton

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Google Changes and Your Web History

The major changes to Google's privacy policy go into effect March 1st. If you are at all concerned about this, or offended like me, you have today and tomorrow to delete your web history. An article in the ABA Journal pointed me to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's instructions on how to do this. (If you do it, you might want to take a minute to go back to your oldest history - it was amusing to see what I searched for in 2006).

I was astounded when Google first announced what they were planning. In his blog post, Et tu Google?  attorney Jim Calloway articulated some of the same thoughts racing through my head.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Dancing Monkeys and Free Snowcones

When helping experts market their practices, we don't expect them to know everything about marketing and especially marketing with a website; that's why we're here and what we do.  However....

We have a folder called the "Expert Witness Marketing Hall of Shame" for situations we just never anticipated encountering with experts, things we never thought we would have to explain.  Now, while every particle of my being would love to show you some of these websites, I can't bring myself to do it.  But I will share some of the top nominees for the "Hall of Shame."  Take these as a caution of what not to do, or a validation that your website isn't so bad after all.

The dancing monkeys.  Seriously.  On the home page, dancing over and through the text are dancing monkeys. Let's ignore the animation challenges and skip to the courtroom.  If by some chance an attorney actually retained the services of this expert, can you you imagine the fun opposing counsel would have with this on the stand?

This next one is just inexcusable.  On the CV posted on his website, in addition to the expert's own birthdate AND social security number, were the birthdates of the his children!  How do you begin to explain why this is wrong on so many levels?

And what I currently consider the leading contender has to be the free snowcones.  If you call for a free! consultation, you will also receive a coupon for a free! snowcone at the local fair.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Not All Work Is Good Work

Turning down business seems to go against everything we've ever been taught, but sometimes, it may be the smartest thing you can do.

When Rosalie and I read Michelle Golden's post, "Knowing When (and How) to Say No," we both knew we had to share it. As Rosalie put it, "Some of this I couldn't have said better myself. Experts will sometimes accept any and all comers (the same wrong thinking as offering low rates), hoping it will lead to success, whereas it results in the opposite. I hope experts will read and heed this good advice."

Check it out and let us know -- have you ever said no? Have you regretted NOT saying no?