How to Be an Effective Criminal Forensic Expert Witness, October 17-18, 2012
Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Conference Center, Rosemont, IL
Full Conference Brochure (PDF)
Criminal forensic experts are being called to testify more and more in the wake of the recent landmark Melendez-Diaz and Bullcoming decisions by the United States Supreme Court and recent high profile controversies. This is a small group, hands-on, fast-moving interactive training program specially designed for forensic specialists who are called to testify in criminal cases. How to Be an Effective Criminal Forensic Expert Witness improves both direct examination and cross-examination skills. Attendees will learn how to become markedly more effective and significantly less likely to make an unforced error while on the witness stand. Instruction will utilize four methods: lecture, questions & answers, videos of experts actually testifying in real cases, and mock trial demonstrations using attendee volunteers. The mock trial demonstrations are based upon a C.V. and sample report from a criminal case submitted in advance by each attendee. Each attendee will have an opportunity to participate in demonstrations and to receive constructive feedback as to how to improve their performance. Each attendee will also receive feedback on their pre-submitted C.V. and report. In addition, each attendee will be provided with a content rich, 150 page seminar manual. This specially designed interactive training program is only offered once per year.
Attendees will participate in mock trial exercises featuring common and vexing issues specific to expert witnesses in criminal cases such as:
• Accreditation • Alternative Hypothesis • Analytical Testing • Bias • Calibration • Chain of Custody • Contamination • Degradation • Documentation • Drawing Inferences • Error Rate • Forensic Guidelines • Instrument Variability • Laboratory Certification • Laboratory Manuals • Law Enforcement Manuals • Likelihood Ratios • Method Validation • Objective Criteria • Outliers • Precision • Proficiency Tests • Protocols • Quality Assessments • Quality Assurance • Quality Control Samples & Procedures • Record Keeping • Relative Risk • Reliability • Sampling • Sampling Error • Scientific Consensus • Scientific Software • Secondary Confirmation • Selection Bias • Sensitivity • Specificity • Specimen Selection • Standard Methods of Sampling • Storage & Retrieval • Subjectivity • Tech Review • Validation
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this interactive training program, you should be able to: • Discuss the strategies and goals of opposing counsel during cross-examination • Describe how to properly prepare for hearings or trials • Discuss strategies that can be followed when testifying at hearings or trials • Explain counsel’s cross examination tactics and how to avoid being tripped up • Describe techniques you can use when testifying at hearings or trials • Discuss methods for responding to trick and difficult questions • List teaching methods that can be used to improve the persuasiveness of your expert testimony • List techniques for developing powerful, memorable language and analogies • Describe how to best insulate yourself from attacks by opposing counsel • Discuss techniques to make a positive impression on the jury
The Honorable Paul A. Chernoff is an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court. He has over 35 years experience on the bench where he has won numerous awards including Judicial Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, The Massachusetts Judges Conference Superior Court Judicial Excellence Award, and the Haskell Cohn Award from the Boston Bar Association. Judge Chernoff is a highly experienced teacher. His teaching experience includes 20+ years at Boston College as an Adjunct Professor teaching trial practice, 30+ years at the National Judicial College in Nevada teaching criminal procedure and evidence, 20+ years experience teaching CLE courses, 15+ years lecturing at the Flaschner Judicial Institute, and 10+ years serving on the faculty of SEAK, Inc. teaching testifying skills to expert witnesses. Judge Chernoff received his bachelors in mechanical engineering from Tufts University and his law degree from George Washington University School of Law. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Chernoff was a member of the Public Defender Service, District of Columbia and chair of the Massachusetts Parole Board.
James J. Mangraviti, Jr., Esq., trains hundreds of expert witnesses each year through SEAK’s scheduled programs for expert witnesses (see www.seak.com or www.testifyingtraining.com), invited presentations, and customized expert witness training programs presented to corporations, associations, and governmental agencies such as the FBI, IRS and DoD. He also serves as a one-on-one consultant to expert witnesses to prepare them to testify and help improve their work product. He is a former litigator with experience in defense and plaintiff personal injury law and insurance law. He currently serves as Principal of SEAK, Inc. He is the co-leader of SEAK’s Annual National Expert Witness Conference. Mr. Mangraviti received his BA degree in mathematics summa cum laude from Boston College and his JD degree cum laude from Boston College Law School. His publications include the texts The A–Z Guide to Expert Witnessing; How to Become a Dangerous Expert Witness: Advanced Techniques and Strategies; Cross-Examination: The Comprehensive Guide for Experts; and Writing and Defending Your Expert Report: The Step-by-Step Guide with Models.
Tuition is $1,295 and includes two days of unique and practical instruction, a detailed 150-page printed course manual not available anywhere else, and continental breakfast and lunch with faculty each day. All persons registering prior to August 31, 2012 will receive a complimentary copy of the best-selling DVD Winning over the Jury (a $95 value).
A limited block of rooms will be available at special rates at the site hotel, The Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare ($129 Single/Double). To make your reservations at the special group rate, please call 877-337-5793 between the hours of 9:00am and 8:00pm Eastern Time Monday through Friday and mention that you are with the SEAK, Inc. Group. Rooms are limited and this rate expires on September 17, 2012, so you are encouraged to make your reservations as soon as possible. To register online for the hotel please click here.
SPECIAL EARLY REGISTRATION BONUS:
All persons registering prior to August 31, 2012 will receive a complimentary copy of the best-selling DVD Winning over the Jury (a $95 value).
Conference cancellations received in writing prior to October 1, 2012 will receive a full refund.
CONTINUING EDUCATION INFORMATION:
All attendees will receive a certificate of attendance indicating the number of hours which they have attended the program (maximum of 14). If you would like us to attempt to preapprove this program for a particular type of credit, please contact Karen Cerbarano (781-826-4974 or Karen@seak.com). We can often obtain desired credits upon request, but unfortunately, obtaining some types of credits are not feasible. Please register early, as we can only apply for credits after your registration form has been received and it can take time to get the requested approvals back from the accrediting agencies. NOTE: SEAK does not accept commercial support for its programs and does not use faculty members with conflicts of interest.
DAY ONE: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
7:00-8:00 REGISTRATION AND CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST
SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
8:00-9:30 The Role of Forensic Experts in Criminal Litigation
The faculty will explain the legal framework under which forensic experts testify in criminal cases including the 700 series of the Federal Rules of Evidence dealing directly with expert testimony. The hearsay rule will be explained as it applies to expert witnesses as well. The faculty will also discuss what experts in criminal cases need to know about the landmark United States Supreme Court Melendez-Diaz, Bullcoming, and Daubert cases. The focus of this section will be using an understanding of the governing law to avoid mistakes on the witness stand. Questions & Answers
SECTION 2: DIRECT EXAMINATION AND PERSUASION SKILLS
9:30–10:00 Introduction and Executive Summary of Persuasion Techniques for Expert Witnesses
An opening mock trial demonstration followed by an explanation of the interactive teaching methods the course will employ for its testifying skills training, i.e. a combination of didactic lectures, questions and answers, exercises, video examples of real expert witnesses testifying, and mock trial demonstrations featuring issues commonly arising in criminal cases. The instructors will preview and explain the numerous persuasion skills techniques that will be taught and practiced in the course. Questions & Answers
10:00–10:15 BREAK AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
An expert’s ability to persuade is to a very large degree predicated on how and how much the expert prepares. In this segment, the instructors will explain the critical importance of proper preparation as it relates to persuasion, provide numerous examples and review a detailed check list of how experts should prepare, both by themselves and with retaining counsel. Questions & Answers
11:00–11:30 How to Best Put Forth your Qualifications
Experts must be able to put forth their own qualifications in such a way that balances getting their qualifications in front of the jury against the risk of overwhelming and boring the jury and appearing arrogant. In this segment, the instructor will explain how to strike the correct balance, which qualifications to highlight, and how to show the jury that your qualifications are particularly relevant to the issues in the criminal case at hand. The instructors will demonstrate a non-traditional approach to presenting qualifications and will further demonstrate with attendees how they can best put forth their qualifications. Questions & Answers
11:30–12:00 Commenting on the Opposing Expert and His Opinion
Experts in a case may be faced with an opposing expert who is offering differing opinions. In this segment the instructors will explain and demonstrate the optimum ways for commenting on and discrediting the opposing expert’s opinion while avoiding disrespect for the expert himself and avoiding appearing to be an advocate. Questions & Answers
12:00–12:45 LUNCH WITH FACULTY PROVIDED
12:45–1:30 Developing a Harmonious Interaction with Counsel
The most effective direct examinations are characterized by a smooth and balanced interaction between the expert and examining counsel. In this segment the instructors will explain and demonstrate how to develop an optimum interaction such that the expert’s testimony appears spontaneous and not rehearsed, is succinct and substantive, avoids long narratives, where the expert is not prompted and where the expert is able to read retaining counsel for signals as to when to elaborate and when to move on. Questions & Answers
1:30–2:15 Creating and Using Powerful, Memorable Language and Analogies
A cornerstone of persuasiveness is the ability to use powerful and memorable language. Powerful language allows the expert to be understood and memorable language allows the expert’s testimony to be easily recalled by the jury and easily referred to by retaining counsel during summation. A crucial tool in using powerful, memorable language is creating and using analogies to help explain your technical expert testimony. This is often especially important when dealing with scientific expert testimony in criminal cases. In this segment the instructors will explain the techniques for developing powerful, memorable language and analogies and will work with attendees through exercises so that they can develop new, powerful, memorable language and analogies that they can use in future cases. Questions & Answers
2:15–3:00 Optimizing Your “Teaching” Skills
The most persuasive experts utilize the communication and persuasion techniques employed by superb teachers. In this segment the instructor will explain and exemplify the ten “teaching” techniques that experts can use to make themselves more persuasive. The instructor will also conduct exercises and demonstrations with the attendees allowing them to further develop and improve their own teaching skills. Questions & Answers
3:00–3:15 BREAK AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
3:15–4:00 Reading and Bonding with the Jury
The most persuasive experts are able to tweak their testimony to the particular jury in question, build bonds with the jury and even react midstream to the jurors’ reaction to their expert testimony. In this segment the instructors will explain how to read, build bonds with and better persuade criminal juries. Questions and Answers
4:00–4:30 Dealing with Problem Areas and Weaknesses
No expert’s opinions, qualifications and credibility are 100% bulletproof. Weaknesses and problem areas will always exist to a greater or lesser extent. The time to first (and most effectively) deal with and defuse such problem areas is during direct examination, not cross. In this segment the instructors will explain the importan
e of dealing with such problems head on during direct examination and how to best do so. The techniques for dealing with problems will also be demonstrated with volunteer attendees. Questions & Answers
4:30-5:00 The Biggest Mistakes Experts Can Make that Can Turn Off Judge and Jury
Effective experts must avoid verbal and non-verbal conduct that is likely to diminish their persuasiveness. In this segment the instructors will explain and exemplify the biggest mistakes experts make which can turn off a jury including a review of 25 indicators of deceptiveness. Questions & Answers
DAY TWO: Thursday, October 18, 2012
6:30-7:00 CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST WITH FACULTY
SECTION 3: CROSS-EXAMINATION SKILLS
7:00–8:00 Protecting Yourself from Attacks on your Credibility and Credentials
The most valuable experts deny opposing counsel ammunition to attack their credentials and credibility. This segment will identify a detailed checklist of potential areas of attack that criminal forensic experts may be subject to regarding their credentials and credibility including: every word on their CVs, skeletons in the closet, past testimony, their image, social media, controversial or political associations, biases, missing credentials, web presence, speeches, work on past cases, apparent and actual conflicts of interest, non-related litigation, hobbies, professional complaints or discipline, presentations and writings. The faculty will provide specific advice on how to insulate yourself as much as possible from these attacks. Emphasized will be prevention and the “hidden pitfalls” that can and will come back to haunt the expert at a later date. Questions & Answers
8:00–9:00 Forming Airtight Opinions
The best experts express opinions that hold up under the most rigorous scrutiny and cross-examination. This segment will identify many ways in which opposing counsel is able to poke holes in an expert’s opinion. The faculty will provide specific action steps to bullet-proof your opinion including using careful and confident language, not overstating or understating facts or opinions, consistency, dealing with the opinions of other experts, knowing exactly what needs to be proved, testing alternative theories, properly using reliable equipment, taking careful and precise measurements, being well-trained and well-versed in any computer program or laboratory equipment used, verifying computer results, measuring error rates, leaving no stone unturned, taking photographs, verifying your factual assumptions, gaining as much firsthand knowledge as possible, thoroughly researching the issues at hand, obtaining and carefully reviewing all relevant documents, not sharing draft reports with counsel, avoiding “junk science,” understanding how the Daubert rule applies in your specialty and jurisdiction, maintaining accurate records and avoiding even the appearance of impropriety. Questions & Answers
9:00–9:15 BREAK AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
9:15–10:00 How Trial Attorneys Prepare for Cross-Examination of an Expert
Experts will be provided with an insider’s view as the faculty discloses how trial attorneys prepare to cross-examine experts. Included will be a detailed explanation of how the attorney conducts his research and investigation of the expert, how he decides which questions to ask, which questions not to ask and how to ask each question, and how the attorney’s cross-examination strategy and tactics are settled upon. Questions & Answers
10:00–10:15 BREAK AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
10:15–12:00 Advanced Cross-Examination Techniques
The faculty will explain specific techniques experts in criminal cases can utilize in order to raise their performance during cross-examination to the highest level. Mock cross-examination demonstrations of attendees will be utilized, and these will be critiqued with emphasis on what techniques were effectively used by the expert and what techniques could and should have been used to make the expert much more effective. You will learn over 40 techniques to be a more effective expert witness during cross-examination. Questions & Answers
12:00–12:45 LUNCH WITH FACULTY PROVIDED
12:45–1:15 Staying One Step Ahead of Counsel During Cross-Examination
The best experts are able to stay one step ahead of opposing counsel during cross-examination by recognizing and defeating opposing counsel’s tactics. In this segment, experts will learn advanced techniques for identifying and defeating dozens of opposing counsel’s cross-examination tactics, including mischaracterizations, accusations of inconsistencies, learned treatise impeachment, attacking the expert’s credentials, taking statements out of context, intimidating the expert, challenging the expert on figures and calculations, bullying, misleading questions, challenging the expert’s factual assumptions, asking for concessions, “yes or no,” accusing the expert of bias, contrasting the expert’s opinions, timelines, agitating the expert, tricking the expert, pushing the expert to an extreme position, interrupting the expert and asking the expert to define certain terms. Many of these tactics and defenses will be demonstrated with brief demonstrations utilizing attendee participation. Questions & Answers
1:15–1:45 Going on Offense During Cross-Examination
The rarest of all experts are those experts who are able to turn the tables on opposing counsel during cross-examination and “stick the knife in.” These experts are particularly dangerous as opposing counsel is quite likely to lose far more ground during cross-examination than she is to gain. In this section, the faculty will explain dozens of techniques to turn the tables on opposing counsel, including; repeating damaging portions of your direct testimony, twelve techniques for breaking counsel’s momentum, pushing back, interpreting a “yes or no” question as being open-ended, using backhanded compliments, responding to a question with a question, baiting counsel into asking one question too many, tasteful humor, offering explanations, pointing out the misleading nature of a question, actively challenging false factual assumptions in predicate questions, lulling counsel into a false sense of security prior to pouncing, striking back with a light touch, six techniques to encourage counsel to lose his cool, self-deprecating remarks, pointing out hypocrisy, injecting personal information in your responses and requesting permission to explain. Many of these techniques will be demonstrated by brief interactive cross-examination demonstrations using students in the class. Questions & Answers
1:45–2:30 How To Skillfully Answer Trick And Difficult Questions
This final segment is designed to allow the attendees to solidify the knowledge gained earlier in the course. The faculty will ask the attendees numerous trick and difficult cross-examination questions. For each question, the attendees will have an opportunity to practice the techniques covered in this program by explaining how the question could have been avoided, how they could have and should have prepared to answer the question, identifying the tactic that counsel is using and delivering a response that defeats the tactic and/or allows the expert to turn the tables and go on the offensive. Questions & Answers