The gold standard in expert witness contracts. In use by over 2,000 experts, SEAK’s contract addresses in an elegant and simple fashion many of the problems which experts find vexing, including: being kept in the dark by retaining counsel, being purposefully conflicted out of the case, collection of fees, less than ethical attorneys, non-payment of fees, preserving the expert’s reputation, being pushed outside your true area of expertise, undisclosed Daubert challenges, and many more.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why did you create SEAK’s Expert Witness Contract?
A. SEAK’s expert witness contract was created after numerous and repeated requests from our expert witness clients for a high quality model expert witness contract.
Q. What process did you go through to draft the contract?
A. We took calls daily from our expert witness clients looking for help and guidance. Over the years this has consisted of thousands of calls. Many if not most of these calls include problems that could have easily been prevented by a well thought out and well-written expert witness retention contract. In sum, we heard the same problems from our clients over and over again. Our contract was drafted to address these problems that expert witnesses face in the real world.
Q. How do I know that attorneys will accept this contract?
A. The contract has been peer reviewed by trial attorneys and judges and is being used by over 2,000 experts. If an attorney will not accept the SEAK contract the issue is typically with the attorney not the contract. In other words, presentation of the SEAK contract is a good way to learn up front whether or not you should work with the lawyer in question.
Q. Are there any other advantages to the SEAK contract?
A. Yes. Trial attorneys typically shy away from novice experts – especially in significant cases. When you present the SEAK contract you demonstrate you are an expert witness who understands the subtleties of expert witnessing.
Q. Can I modify the SEAK contract to meet my own particular needs?
A. Yes, the contract is provided in Word and can be modified to suit your needs.
Q. Wouldn’t I be better off to hire a lawyer to draft my agreement?
A. A lawyer will charge you thousands of dollars and will likely not have specific experience with and a nuanced understanding of the problems that can arise in the expert/retaining counsel experience.
Q. Can’t I just draft my own agreement and save money?
A. You certainly can, however learning by trial and error is problematic and we don’t recommend that. There’s just too much money at stake, not to mention your reputation and career.
Q. How long is the SEAK contract?
A. Approximately 2,000 words.
Q. How is the contract delivered?
A. The contract is delivered immediately through instant download.
Q. If I am not satisfied, can I get my money back?
A. Yes, we offer a 30 day money back guarantee.
Q. Is this contract available cheaper on Amazon or other online sources?
A. No. We do not sell SEAK’s contract through Amazon or other online portals.
Q. When do you have sales and offer discounted book prices?
A. SEAK does not conduct sales and does not discount its books.
Q. Who can I talk to if I have any questions about the SEAK Expert Witness Retention Agreement?
A. You can talk directly to the authors, Steven Babitsky, Esq. (508-548-9443) or James J. Mangraviti, Jr., Esq. (978-276-1234).
Here’s what your colleagues have to say about SEAK’s retention contract:
"Since placing my standard listing earlier this year, I've had several contacts citing the SEAK Expert Witness Directory and been hired by 3 in the past 2 months. In each case, I used a modified version of your retention agreement with retainer and fees set slightly above the mean for cardiology from your report, and not one of the lawyers has questioned them."
“The Expert Retention Contract from SEAK is top quality and reflects the professionalism that I wish to portray with my expert services. Attorneys accept it with little or no modification.”
“The retention contract shared by SEAK has been invaluable and has saved me thousands of dollars of otherwise lost revenue and spared me hassles regarding contractual obligations in cases going forward. It definitely sets a professional tone from the outset. Thank you, SEAK.”
“I am still using your wonderful, articulate, explicit and thorough contract. It is definitely a no nonsense binding agreement that leaves little to dispute or revise. To date I have never been stiffed by a client whence using your contract. I definitely recommend it to any expert witness looking to protect themselves. It covers all the bases.”
“The SEAK Retention contract has been a great benefit to me.”
“The SEAK Retention Contract has clarified our position with retaining counsel across the board. It was easy to modify to our needs, while giving us protection…often in areas that we didn’t even realize was needed. We now have the tool that is necessary to protect the integrity and quality of our work and avoid compromising situations. Since its implementation we have also not encountered any loss of fees.”
“After receiving and reviewing your retention contract, I modified our Litigation Engagement letter to provide: (1) Duties of the client which provides: (a) Prompt notice of all Daubert, Fyre/Robinson motions, (b) Making all payments as agreed, and (c) advance approval of summaries of Expert qualifications, methodologies, etc. In addition, the Engagement Letter now also provides that the Expert has the absolute right to withdraw, if Client violates his required duties. I believe that it has strengthened and protected me as an Expert.”
“I purchased a copy of the ‘SEAK Expert Witness Retention Contract’ and added in the rates and particulars associated with the type of work that I do, and have already used it twice in the last six months. One case was an arbitration in London. When the UK-based attorney contacted me by telephone, I immediately e-mailed my standard retention contract and we used it as a basis for discussions. They were impressed that I had a professionally prepared retention contract that covered all the usual hard spots. We resolved differences in very short order and I had my retainer wired to my bank that afternoon.” “The Expert Witness Retention Contract from SEAK Inc. is a worry free document that any expert witness can use with confidence. Even if you are new to the expert witness world this contract makes you look and sound like a seasoned professional to any law firm. It also protects you by including all the major factors you want clarified and agreed on before committing to a project. In addition it’s flexible and modular, so you can adjust it to different needs of different law firms or legal cases.”
“Saved me hours of work. Really covers the bases. Enhances the perception that I am a skilled professional. Well worth the price. All of this happens to be true.”
“I had been utilizing a retention agreement for several years prior to purchasing the SEAK Expert Witness Retention Contract. The SEAK Contract is well developed and addressed areas that were not included in my previous agreement. The SEAK Contract allowed me to present a fair, solid, clear and well organized retention agreement. A must have.”
“I tried using another consulting service contract for litigation support but was told by retaining counsel it needed a lot of changes. When I submitted the SEAK contract it was immediately accepted without question or changes. I now submit the SEAK Expert Witness contract every time.”
“I’ve used the SEAK Retention Contract several times since I got it a few months ago. I’m very comfortable with it because it clarifies intent, removes ambiguity and minimizes potential worries.”
“After reading various articles and horror stories about inadequate retention contracts or engagement letters used by various expert witnesses, I decided to ask SEAK for help. As a result, I have a much more iron-clad engagement letter, and while my client attorneys may sometimes ask for changes or clarifications (they just can’t resist marking up someone else’s document!), my engagement letter (contract) has served me well for a few years now with few real objections from my clients. I highly recommend the assistance offered by SEAK.”
“The retention contract that we use to develop is a fantastic tool. It has allowed me to very quickly respond to prospects, gives a professional appearance, gives us confidence and those that are hiring us the confidence that we know what we're doing.”
“I found the contract language to be extremely comprehensive and flexible. I made several changes over time to fit my particular business and industry. I felt more confident that all the bases were covered. I did not receive any complaints regarding the language from any of the attorneys who retained me. I strongly recommend it.”
“The SEAK retention contract allows me to enjoy the security of a well-written agreement without spending the time or money to create my own. When I send an inquiring attorney the retention contract, it immediately sets the tone that I am a serious and well-organized expert.”
“The SEAK Retention Contract has been useful in clarifying the terms of the attorney-expert relationship. The attorneys who sign this agreement take my involvement as a more formal relationship with both parties having rights and responsibilities. The SEAK Retention Contract avoids misunderstandings. Think of it this way, you can't rent a car for an afternoon without signing a rental agreement, shouldn't an important professional relationship involving much higher funds be taken just as seriously?”
"The contract is very effective in getting prompt retaining checks."
“A detail-rich, contingency anticipating masterpiece.”
“Tightens up the loose ends in our [current] agreement.”
“Great [protection] if things go wrong”
“It covers every major point of interest that could come up”
“Your contract will be VERY appreciated by all in this field”
“An absolutely brilliant document.”
"SEAK's Expert Witness Contract" is a thoroughly-researched, well-written document to prevent most of the common pitfalls encountered by the expert witness. The contract is written to protect the expert from damage to his or her reputation and career, and to ensure that retaining counsel will pay for all services. It gives the expert a legal "out" if things go sour. This contract has served me well in my dealings with attorneys. The contract can be modified by the expert as desired, and the cost is just a fraction of the typical expert's hourly rate. Entering into a retention agreement without the protection of a strong contract is foolhardy - remember that the other party is a lawyer."
Issues Addressed. SEAK’s contract addresses in an elegant and simple fashion many of the problems which experts find vexing, including:
• Being kept in the dark by retaining counsel
• Being purposefully conflicted out of the case
• Being stuck in a case with a problematic attorney
• Collection of fees
• Conflicts of interest
• Credibility challenges
• Deposition fees reduced via protective order
• Document retention
• Duties toward successor law firms
• Expense reimbursement
• Incomplete documentation
• Lack of preparation by retaining counsel prior to testimony
• Last minute testimony cancellations
• Late payment of fees
• Less than ethical attorneys
• Licensing issues when testifying out of state
• Non-payment of fees
• Preserving the expert’s reputation
• Pushed outside your true area of expertise
• Refusal to pay for all time spent on case
• Storage costs
• Travel conditions
• Undisclosed Daubert challenges
• Unreasonable budgets
• Unreasonable deadlines
• Unreviewed answers to interrogatories
Features:SEAK’s expert witness retention agreement is available for $150 for DOWNLOAD. Both WORD and PDF versions are included. Explanatory notes are also included. Comes with a 30-day Money Back Guarantee.
By Steve Babitsky, Esq. & James J. Mangraviti, Jr. Esq. ©2008 SEAK, Inc.