This limited attendance, interactive workshop teaches you how to draft superior reports. Each attendee will be asked to submit in advance of the course a sample report for critique and use in the class demonstrations. Each attendee will be provided with a detailed 200+ page course handbook not available elsewhere. The course manual contains practical and specific bullet-point advice along with numerous examples of both poor and effective report language. You will leave the course with an extensive, customized set of action steps to follow to help you write more powerful, persuasive and defensible reports. The course is taught using six methodologies: lecture, questions and answers, well written report excerpts, report writing exercises, report critique exercises, and mock cross examination exercises. Continental breakfast and lunch with the faculty is provided each day. This workshop will not be offered again in 2017.
Opal Sands Resort, Clearwater Beach, FL
Thursday–Friday, May 4–5, 2017
Click here for the full conference brochure and details (pdf)
Special Early Registration Savings: Tuition for each course is $1,295 on or before February 28, 2017; $1,395 March 1, 2017 – April 12, 2017; $1,495 after April 12, 2017.
Group Discounts: Group discounts are available for two or more persons registering from the same organization. Discount prices depend on the size of the group. Our programs can also be brought onsite to your organization. Please call 508-457-1111.
Conference Cancellations: Conference cancellations received in writing on or before April 12, 2017 will receive a full refund. Conference cancellations received after April 12, 2017 will receive a full tuition credit.
Location/Hotel Accommodations: The 2017 SEAK Expert Witness Conference will be held at the Opal Sands Resort, Clearwater Beach, FL. Opal Sands Resort offers guests the newest Gulf front accommodations on the Gulf of Mexico, right on Clearwater Beach’s lively promenade. SEAK has secured a special group rate of $205/night. Rooms are limited and this rate expires on April 12, 2017. To make your reservations, please call 1-855-335-1087 and refer to the SEAK Group rate and National Expert Witness Conference or click here, select drop down box: Group/Block, enter arrival and departure dates, enter group code SEAK0517 to book online.
Continuing Education Credits: Note: If your specialty does not appear below and you desire credits, 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. Accident Reconstructionists: SEAK will apply for credits through ACTAR upon written request at the time of registration. Accountants: Earn 16.5 CPE credits in the field of study of Specialized Knowledge and Applications. SEAK, Inc. is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be addressed to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: www.learningmarket.org. For SEAK’s complaint and program cancellation policies please call SEAK, Inc. at 508-457-1111. All attendees should have the education and experience that would qualify them as an expert witness. This is an advanced group-live program. Advanced Preparation: None. This program was reviewed in July 2016. Appraisers: Credits from The American Society of Appraisers will be applied for on written request at the time of registration. Arborists: SEAK will apply for Continuing Education hours through The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) on written request at time of registration. Attorneys: Credit varies by state. Continuing legal education credits for attorneys will be applied for if requested in writing at the time of registration. Engineers: 14 PDHs. The acceptance of this course is dependent upon your state(s) of registration. The vast majority of states do not require preapproval of either courses or course sponsors. Life Care Planners: SEAK will apply for credits through The Commission on Health Care Certification (CHCC) upon written request at the time of registration. Physicians: SEAK, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. SEAK, Inc. designates this live activity for a maximum of 14 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. NOTE: SEAK does not accept commercial support for its programs and does not use faculty members with conflicts of interest.
Nadine Nasser Donovan, Esq., is a former trial lawyer with extensive litigation experience. She is a senior SEAK trainer and consultant, and has been on the SEAK Faculty since 2002, having trained hundreds of experts via SEAK’s scheduled courses, customized on site expert witness training programs, and one-on-one consulting. Nadine is the co-author of the SEAK texts, How to Be an Effective Expert Witness at Deposition and Trial: The SEAK Guide to Testifying as an Expert Witness; How to Write an Expert Witness Report and How to Be a Successful Expert Witness: SEAK’s A-Z Guide to Expert Witnessing. She is licensed to practice law in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. In addition, Nadine is a Legal Writing Instructor at Boston University School of Law. Nadine also serves as a Dispute Resolution Arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Nadine previously practiced litigation for 21 years. She spent 18 years in the defense of medical professionals in medical malpractice actions and before medical licensing boards. Nadine started off her legal career in New York City, first as a prosecutor in Queens, and then as counsel for the City of New York. Nadine received her J.D. cum laude from Boston College Law School. She graduated from Fordham University summa cum laude with a B.A. in French Literature. She can be contacted at 617-791-4282 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
DAY ONE, Thursday, May 4, 2017
7:30–8:00 REGISTRATION & CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST
8:00–8:30 Introduction Attendees will introduce themselves to the group. Faculty will explain the reasons why a well drafted report is critically important as a roadmap to direct testimony, talking points on cross, to help you to prepare to testify, and to enhance your brand. Faculty will explain the six major methodologies that will be used to teach the program, namely: lecture, questions and answers, analysis of well written report excerpts, report writing exercises, report critique exercises, and mock cross examination exercises. Learning Objective: Explain the benefits of a well-written expert witness report. Questions & Answers.
8:30–9:15 How to Protect Your Report, Yourself, and Your Opinions from Daubert, Qualifications, and Other Admissibility Challenges An inferior investigation or straying outside of your true area of expertise can lead to an indefensible written report. A poorly written report can lead to being excluded from testifying. Such an exclusion is often a career ending event. In this section, the faculty will explain how opposing counsel can and will use Rule 702, Rule 703, and the Daubert line of cases to attempt to limit or exclude the expert’s testimony. The legal basis for each of these challenges will be explained in easy to understand terms. Attendees will be provided with 16 methods and techniques to protect themselves from admissibility challenges. Learning Objective: Describe techniques to protect yourself from having your testimony limited or excluded. Questions & Answers.
9:15–10:15 How to Draft a Powerful, Persuasive, and Understandable Report Every word in your expert report matters. In this segment the faculty will present twenty-two techniques for drafting a more powerful, persuasive and defensible expert witness report. Each of the techniques learned in this segment will be used in the segments that follow. Learning Objective: Explain how to draft a more powerful report. Questions & Answers.
10:15–10:30 BREAK AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
10:30–11:30 How to Draft a Powerful, Persuasive, and Understandable Report (Continued) Attendees will be asked to complete a series of writing exercises in which they will improve the language of sample report segments which they will be presented with. Learning Objective: List action steps to draft more powerful, persuasive and understandable expert reports. Questions & Answers.
11:30–12:00 Report Templates and How to Format Your Expert Witness Report Looks matter. A well laid out report will carry more weight than a report exhibiting poor formatting and style. In this section, faculty will discuss the importance of style, layout, and formatting and provide twenty-three easily implementable suggestions for making your expert witness report stand out. Samples from well formatted reports will be provided and studied. Attendees will be asked to critique and suggest formatting improvements to sample report segments. Learning Objective: Describe methods for improving the style, layout, and formatting of your expert witness report. Questions & Answers.
12:00–12:45 LUNCH PROVIDED WITH FACULTY
12:45–1:45 How to Document Your Assignment Attendees will learn how to obtain a clear and unambiguous expert witness assignment from counsel (with the necessary documents) and why this will increase the likelihood of meeting and exceeding the expectations of counsel. Attendees will be provided with a checklist of eight questions to ask retaining counsel at the beginning of the engagement. Faculty will explain six best practices that can be used to document the scope of the assignment in your report. Attendees will be provided with sample assignment sections of reports, will be asked to critique assignment report sections, and will be asked to draft a concise assignment section. Learning Objective: Describe techniques to utilize when obtaining and documenting your expert witness assignment. Questions & Answers.
1:45–2:45 How to Document Your Qualifications Attendees will learn sixteen best practices for persuasively and accurately describing how and why they are qualified to opine on the case at hand. Sample expert witness report segments regarding qualifications will be reviewed. Attendees will be asked to critique the qualifications sections from several sample reports as well as draft a concise qualifications section to a report. Learning Objective: List methods for most effectively documenting your qualifications. Questions & Answers.
2:45–3:00 BREAK AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
3:00–4:15 How to Best Describe Your Document Review, Research & Investigation Many problems in expert reports are not caused by the drafting of the report per se. Instead, these problems are a reflection of suboptimal document review, research & investigation. Put simply, if the work prior to the expert report is flawed, it will make drafting a solid report difficult. In this segment, attendees will learn proven techniques for forming solid opinions which can be easily documented into a persuasive and defensible expert witness report. In addition, attendees will be provided with sixteen techniques for how to best document their review of documents, research and investigation. Sample report segments will be reviewed. Attendees will be asked to critique sample report segments as well as to draft a concise documents reviewed and research/ investigation sections. Learning Objective: List techniques to better document your document review, research and opinions. Questions & Answers.
4:15–5:00 How to Make Optimum Use of Charts, Graphs, Timelines, and Photographs in Your Expert Witness Report A picture says a thousand words. In this segment the faculty will explain and demonstrate the advantages of adding charts, graphs, timelines and photographs to an expert witness report and provide eleven best practices suggestions for doing so. Sample reports segments with charts, graphs, timelines and photographs will be provided. Attendees will be asked to critique for possible improvement several report segments containing charts, graphs, timelines and photographs. Learning Objective: Describe when and how charts, graphs, timelines and photographs should be used to improve an expert report. Questions & Answers.
DAY TWO, Friday, May 5, 2017
6:30–7:00 CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST
7:00–7:45 How to Best Deal with Confounding Data and Studies and Alternate Explanations and Theories Slam dunk opinions are few and far between. Almost every close case has facts, research or other items that undercuts the expert witness’s opinions. Such information is ignored in a report at the expert witness’s peril. In this segment, attendees will learn five techniques for how to properly document confounding information, alternative explanations and alternative theories in a way that puts this information into context. Sample report segments will be reviewed. Attendees will be asked to critique relevant report sections as well as to draft a concise report segment dealing with confounding data, studies, or alternative explanations and theories. Learning Objective: List action steps to best document confounding data. Questions & Answers.
7:45–9:15 Properly Expressing Your Opinion An expert witness is retained primarily for the purpose of giving an opinion or opinions. Opinions need to be expressed in an expert witness report clearly, confidently, and with supporting rationale. In this segment attendees will learn fourteen techniques for more persuasively stating opinions in their reports. Sample report segments will be reviewed. Attendees will be asked to critique relevant report sections as well as to draft a concise report segment in which they clearly and persuasively express their opinion(s). Learning Objective: Discuss best practices for expressing opinions in expert witness reports. Questions & Answers.
9:15–9:30 BREAK AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
9:30–10:15 How to Best Rebut The Opposing Expert’s Opinion(s) When an expert witness is aware of the opposing expert witness’s opinions, these should be dealt with in the expert’s report. In this segment attendees will learn nine techniques to persuasively document how and why the opposing expert’s opinion is flawed. Sample report segments will be reviewed. Attendees will be asked to critique relevant report sections as well as to draft a concise report segment in which they rebut an opposing expert’s opinion(s). Learning Objective: List techniques for effectively rebutting the opposing expert’s report. Questions & Answers.
10:15–10:45 How to Properly Use Boilerplate, Standard Language, and Disclaimers Most experts use standard boilerplate language and disclaimers in their expert witness report. In this segment the faculty will offer seven guidelines on the use and misuse of boilerplate language. Sample boilerplate language and sample disclaimers will be provided. Attendees will be asked to critique relevant report sections as well as to draft a concise report segment containing standardized verbiage. Learning Objective: Identify boilerplate language and disclaimers to include in your expert report. Questions & Answers.
10:45–11:00 BREAK AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
11:00–11:30 Discovery, Ethics and The Influence of Retaining Counsel Faculty will explain the various discovery rules which (depending upon the jurisdiction the case is in) may govern your communications with counsel and draft reports. Suggestions for how and when to communicate with retaining counsel will be provided. Also included will be eight suggestions for how to protect your credibility and deal with potential overreaching by retaining counsel. Learning Objective: Describe best practices for communicating with and working with retaining counsel. Questions & Answers.
11:30–12:00 How to Excel When Drafting Rule 26 Reports for Federal Court Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 governs what must be included in expert witness reports in federal cases. Following Rule 26 is mandatory. In this segment attendees will learn how to make sure their report complies with FRCP 26. Specific techniques to excel when drafting Rule 26 reports will be provided as well as sample Rule 26 report segments. Learning Objective: List the legal requirements for Rule 26 reports and describe techniques for complying with these requirements. Questions & Answers.
12:00–12:45 LUNCH WITH FACULTY PROVIDED
12:45–1:15 Quality Control & Editing Techniques for Expert Witness Reports At best, mistakes in an expert witness report can be embarrassing. At worst, mistakes can completely destroy an expert witness’s credibility. In this segment attendees will learn the ten point protocol for quality controlling their reports. Included will be a detailed quality control checklist which can be used by the expert or one of the expert’s support staff. Learning Objective: Identify protocols for editing and reviewing expert witness reports. Questions & Answers.
1:15–2:15 How to Defend Your Expert Witness Report at Deposition, Hearing & Trial An expert witness is likely to be attacked through his report while testifying. In this segment attendees will participate in mock testimony demonstrations based upon their pre-submitted reports. Each demonstration will focus on: 1. How could the expert have better handled the attack/tactic that was being used by counsel? 2. How could the expert have avoided or lessened the attack had the expert drafted their report differently? Attendees will be provided with a fifteen point outline of how, specifically, attorneys will attack an expert through their report. Learning Objective: Describe techniques for defeating opposing counsel’s tactics while testifying about your report. Questions & Answers.
2:15–2:30 The Biggest Report Writing Mistakes Expert Witnesses Make: And How to Avoid Them To reinforce the concepts learned in this workshop, attendees will be provided with a list of the 32 biggest mistakes that expert witnesses commonly make on their reports. The list is designed to be used as a take home quality control checklist. Learning Objective: Identify the biggest mistakes expert witnesses make in their reports. Questions & Answers.
What past attendees have said:
“Excellent. very useful information”
“Great, very informative”
“Excellent examples, great feedback on reports, good job answering questions, spectacular job of keeping students involved.”
“Extremely well presented, very helpful for report writing”
“Nadine is the best.”
“Excellent instructor. High energy”
“Very informative, made the hours seem like minutes”
“Two very enjoyable days”
“Good use of time and money”
“Very informative and interactive”
“Very good...highlighted traps”
“Very helpful and informative”
“Well done, great job!”
“Excellent and very informative”