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The Biggest Mistakes Expert Witnesses Make And How to Avoid Them

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MOST OF THE MISTAKES EXPERT WITNESSES MAKE ARE 100% AVOIDABLE.

Successful expert witnesses go to great lengths to avoid making mistakes. SEAK’s new text helps experts to quickly and simply avoid the frustration, embarrassment and humiliation of making mistakes.

The reader is provided with over 200 of the most common mistakes expert witnesses make over and over again.

Learn from the mistakes of other experts and avoid making the same mistakes yourself. The text is divided into ten separate and distinct chapters, each dealing with a major area of expert witnessing.

Experts can quickly go to the chapter, identify the mistakes, and apply the bottom-line solutions. A 15-minute review can make all the difference.

***30 DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE & Free Domestic Shipping on orders over $175***

***CLICK HERE FOR SAMPLE PAGES FROM CHAPTER 4:  REPORT WRITING***


Each Chapter Contains:
• An introduction

• An executive summary
• Expert witness mistakes, and
• Numerous illustrative examples with lessons and solutions.

AVOID 200 OF THE BIGGEST MISTAKES EXPERTS MAKE IN THEIR:
Chapter 1... Curriculum Vitae (C.V.)
Chapter 2... Web Pages
Chapter 3... Researching, Investigating, Forming, and Expressing Opinions
Chapter 4... Report Writing

Chapter 5... Deposition Testimony Chapter 6... Direct Testimony
Chapter 7... Cross-Examination Testimony Chapter 8... Marketing Methods
Chapter 9... Practice Management Chapter 10.. Risk Management

The Biggest Mistakes Expert Witnesses Make: And How to Avoid Them comes with a 30-Day money back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1 MISTKES MADE BY EXPERT WITNESSES ON THEIR CV
INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Mistake: Sales and marketing language included on CV
Mistake: Listing an accomplishment on your CV before it has been achieved
Mistake: Failing to keep the CV up-to-date
Mistake: Inaccuracies on the CV
Mistake: Labeling a CV as a draft
Mistake: Personal information such as Social Security number and date of birth listed on CV
Mistake: Exaggerating credentials
Mistake: Unexplained gaps
Mistake: Different CVs for different clients
Mistake: Failing to proof the CV
Mistake: Extraneous information in CV
Mistake: Giving presentations and writing articles with provocative titles
Mistake: Using a tiny font size on a CV
Mistake: Including self-serving, subjective characterizations in a CV
Mistake: Including misleading information in a CV
Mistake: Listing past cases with results on your CV
Mistake: Doing things that don’t look good on a CV
Mistake: Failing to date the CV
Mistake: Providing no contact information
Mistake: Not dating memberships listed on the CV
Mistake: Incorrectly reporting credentials
Mistake: Listing past cases on a CV
Mistake: Listing controversial interests or affiliations
CONCLUSION

CHAPTER 2 EXPERT WITNESS WEB PAGE MISTAKES 
INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Mistake: Not checking your company Web site before testifying
Mistake: Unprofessional sales or hawking of books, videos, reports, etc.
Mistake: Having an out-of-date Web page
Mistake: Having inconsistent Web and paper CVs
Mistake: Maintaining a social networking or fun Web page with your name on it
Mistake: Failure to optimize for search engines
Mistake: Having an unsupervised marketing person who does not understand that you will be cross-examined on your Web page write the page’s language
Mistake: Using an unprofessional e-mail address
Mistake: Choosing inflammatory expert URLs
Mistake: Listing past cases with their results
Mistake: Promising quick turnarounds
Mistake: Listing innumerable areas of expertise
Mistake: Not checking your listings in expert witness directories
Mistake: Putting detailed content on your Web page
Mistake: Failing to proofread your Web page
Mistake: Promising too much
Mistake: Using demeaning marketing gimmicks
Mistake: Setting up the Web page so it needs continuous maintenance
Mistake: Failing to track site visits
CONCLUSION

CHAPTER 3 RESEARCHING, INVESTIGATING, FORMING,
AND EXPRESSING OPINIONS- EXPERT WITNESS MISTAKES
INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Mistake: Accepting rush cases that do not permit you to follow your standard protocol
Mistake: Failing to use the appropriate legal terminology or magic words
Mistake: Using words you cannot define and do not completely understand in your opinion
Mistake: Research errors
Mistake: Cherry-picking data
Mistake: Writing something in your notes you would not want the jury to see

Mistake: Failing to document
Mistake: Sharing draft reports with counsel
Mistake: Ditching, misplacing, or discarding your notes or other records
Mistake: Exaggerating
Mistake: Making politically incorrect statements
Mistake: Delaying inspection
Mistake: Overstating an opinion
Mistake: Mathematical errors
Mistake: Failing to establish and follow protocol
Mistake: Failing to review the complete set of records
Mistake: Not asking for all the records
Mistake: Failing to take photos
Mistake: Using an unreliable methodology
Mistake: Lack of knowledge of computer programs
Mistake: Not stating an opinion with confidence
Mistake: Not corroborating facts provided by counsel
Mistake: Accepting low-budget cases
Mistake: Accepting cases outside your true area of expertise
CONCLUSION

CHAPTER 4 EXPERT WITNESS REPORT WRITING MISTAKES
INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Mistake: Allowing internal inconsistencies in the report—especially where computer-generated standard “boilerplate” language is used in all of your reports
Mistake: Not numbering the report’s pages
Mistake: Asking the retaining attorney to call if you can be of more help
Mistake: Making negative comments about forwarded records
Mistake: Making typographical errors
Mistake: Writing reports that are based on inadequate testing or measurements
Mistake: Not specifically listing the records reviewed
Mistake: Writing comments in your report that make you look like an advocate
Mistake: Using inartfully drafted language
Mistake: Exaggerating in the report
Mistake: Letting counsel help write your report by sharing a draft report with her
Mistake: Playing games to avoid admitting that retaining counsel helped write the report
Mistake: Using phrases that undercut your opinion
Mistake: Allowing your word processing software to track the changes that you make to your report
Mistake: Basing the report on insufficient data
Mistake: Using vague terms in the report
Mistake: Writing a report without being asked to by counsel
Mistake: Not covering all of the issues retaining counsel asked you to cover
Mistake: Covering issues not requested by retaining counsel
Mistake: Making subjective, self-serving characterizations of one’s investigation or review
Mistake: Using language soliciting additional work
Mistake: Listing documents that were unavailable
Mistake: Not knowing your report cold prior to testifying
Mistake: Using informality in the report
Mistake: Drawing legal conclusions
Mistake: Using pronouns instead of proper names
Mistake: Using the passive voice
Mistake: Failing to format the report with paragraph headings
Mistake: Speculating
Mistake: Writing run-on sentences
Mistake: Disclaimers in report that are not carefully thought out
Mistake: Trashing the opposing expert
CONCLUSION

CHAPTER 5 EXPERT WITNESS DEPOSITION MISTAKES
INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Mistake: Not being on the same page as retaining counsel regarding how much to expound during your responses
Mistake: Taking notes at the deposition
Mistake: Bringing a disorganized file to the deposition
Mistake: Needing to be somewhere shortly after the anticipated end of the deposition
Mistake: Not asking for (or arranging for) breaks when needed
Mistake: Not insisting on adequate preparation by retaining counsel
Mistake: Answering questions regarding a document you do not have in front of you
Mistake: Volunteering information
Mistake: Having the deposition in your office
Mistake: Being afraid to say “I don’t know"
Mistake: Not knowing how many lawyers will be present
Mistake: Answering a question you do not understand
Mistake: Sanitizing your file
Mistake: Being tired at the start of your deposition
Mistake: Losing your cool
Mistake: Not taking all the time you need to carefully review documents
Mistake: Being intimidated by counsel
Mistake: Joking at the deposition
Mistake: Not determining n advance whether the deposition is a discovery deposition or a preservation of evidence deposition
Mistake: Performing poorly during a videotaped deposition
Mistake: Not preparing enough alone
Mistake: Falling for counsel’s tactic of being friendly
Mistake: Stating your opinion in a legally insufficient way

Mistake: Failing to listen to retaining counsel’s objections
Mistake: Becoming frustrated by counsel’s fishing expeditions
Mistake: Letting counsel lock you down
Mistake: Not hedging your answer to catchall questions
Mistake: Failing to artfully reply to the “all opinions you will be offering” question
Mistake: Being unprepared for counsel to start the deposition with a tough question
Mistake: Arguing with counsel
Mistake: Not being able to state your opinions and the bases for them
CONCLUSION

CHAPTER 6 DIRECT TESTIMONY EXPERT WITNESS MISTAKES
INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Mistake: Not connecting the dots
Mistake: Not allowing the jury to see your human side
Mistake: Using terms that jurors do not understand
Mistake: Failing to use analogies
Mistake: Not using numbered lists
Mistake: Not dealing with problem areas and weaknesses during direct examination
Mistake: Being unprepared
Mistake: Appearing arrogant and thus making the jury hostile toward you
Mistake: Failing to get to the point quickly
Mistake: Letting counsel appear to put words in your mouth
Mistake: Appearing rehearsed

Mistake: Not studying the jury while you testify
Mistake: Getting outside your true area of expertise
Mistake: Providing imprecise testimony
Mistake: Failing to develop and use superior presentation skills
Mistake: Communicating a lack of confidence in your opinion by using hedge words
Mistake: Performing demonstrations that do not work as expected
Mistake: Failing to use visual aids
CONCLUSION

CHAPTER 7 CROSS-EXAMINATION EXPERT WITNESS MISTAKES
INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Mistake: Needlessly providing opposing counsel with ammunition to use against you
Mistake: Cracking wise with counsel
Mistake: Not actively listening to the questions
Mistake: Being defensive about your fees
Mistake: Inability to admit a mistake
Mistake: Agreeing that a text is “authoritative"
Mistake: Playing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Mistake: Failing to recognize and pounce on mistakes made by opposing counsel
Mistake: Basing testimony on speculative assumptions
Mistake: Including mistakes or exaggerations on your CV
Mistake: Failing to have complete command of your report

Mistake: Not advocating for your opinion
Mistake: Interrupting cross-examination questions
Mistake: Giving new opinions on cross-examination without careful reflection
Mistake: Fighting on every point and never making concessions
Mistake: Using terms you cannot define
Mistake: Letting counsel cut you off
Mistake: Not calling counsel on mischaracterizations
Mistake: Letting counsel stay in a rhythm for an extended period of time
Mistake: Not testifying truthfully and consistently
Mistake: Not knowing the facts of the case cold
Mistake: Being evasive
Mistake: Going into the courtroom unprepared
CONCLUSION

CHAPTER 8 MARKETING MISTAKES MADE BY EXPERT WITNESSES 
INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Mistake: Not identifying your niche
Mistake: Not taking steps to develop your niche
Mistake: Not understanding how much new clients are worth
Mistake: Not answering your phone
Mistake: Poorly targeted marketing
Mistake: Not focusing on the quality of the product you provide to counsel
Mistake: Not tracking new cases
Mistake: Not spreading the word to past clients
Mistake: Looking for work from only one side
Mistake: Not spending an appropriate amount of money on marketing
Mistake: Setting a low fee to attract business
Mistake: Impatience in your marketing effort
Mistake: Not having a marketing plan
Mistake: Putting things in your marketing materials that can devastate you during cross-examination
Mistake: Failure to network effectively
Mistake: Not getting professional help to optimize your Web page 229
CONCLUSION

CHAPTER 9 PRACTICE MANAGEMENT EXPERT WITNESS MISTAKES
INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Mistake: Failing to insist on a written retention agreement
Mistake: Not getting your money up front
Mistake: Not charging for travel time
Mistake: Not charging for preparation time
Mistake: Saving old deposition transcripts
Mistake: Accepting rush jobs
Mistake: Not having a procedure for case intake
Mistake: Permitting yourself to be conflicted out of the case
Mistake: Being unduly afraid to advertise
Mistake: Using complicated fee schedules
Mistake: Sending cover letters that request approval or comment
Mistake: Making your retention agreement with the client instead of counsel
Mistake: Inadequately trained staff
Mistake: Not having a cancellation fee for deposition and trial testimony
Mistake: Nickel and diming retaining counsel
Mistake: Not charging enough
Mistake: Being unconcerned about your image
Mistake: Retaining old closed files and reports
Mistake: Getting behind in your billing
CONCLUSION


CHAPTER 10 RISK MANAGEMENT EXPERT WITNESS MISTAKES
INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Mistake: Not following your usual protocol
Mistake: Lying about or exaggerating your credentials
Mistake: Suing retaining counsel for a fee when the case went badly for retaining counsel
Mistake: Failing to do due diligence on retaining counsel
Mistake: Sanitizing your file
Mistake: Making computational errors
Mistake: Performing destructive testing without written authorization from counsel
Mistake: Unfamiliarity with and not following your professional society’s code of ethics
Mistake: Unfamiliarity with the applicable codes and standards
Mistake: Relying on incompetent people
Mistake: Dishonesty
Mistake: Acting as a neutral or agreed-upon expert
Mistake: Not showing up
Mistake: Assuming your existing liability insurance covers your expert witness work
Mistake: Promising too much
CONCLUSION

CHAPTER 11 ADDITIONAL MISTAKES
INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
INDEX 

The Biggest Mistakes Expert Witnesses Make: And How to Avoid Them 
By Steven Babitsky, Esq. and James J. Mangraviti, Jr., Esq. ©2008 SEAK, Inc. 

mangraviti-thumb.jpgJames J. Mangraviti, Jr., Esq., has trained thousands of expert witnesses through seminars, conferences, corporate training, training for professional societies, and training for governmental agencies including the FBI, IRS, Secret Service, and Department of Defense. He is also frequently called by experts, their employers, and retaining counsel to train and prepare individual expert witnesses for upcoming testimony. Mr. Mangraviti assists expert witnesses one-on-one with report writing, mentoring, and practice development. He is a former litigator who currently serves as Principal of the expert witness training company SEAK, Inc. (www.testifyingtraining.com). 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. He is the co-author of twenty-nine books, including: How to Be a Successful Expert Witness: SEAK’s A-Z Guide to Expert Witnessing; How to Write an Expert Witness Report; How to Prepare Your Expert Witness for Deposition; How to Become a Dangerous Expert Witness: Advanced Techniques and Strategies; The A–Z Guide to Expert Witnessing; Depositions: The Comprehensive Guide for Expert Witnesses; How to Excel During Depositions: Techniques for Experts That Work; Writing and Defending Your Expert Report: The Step-by-Step Guide with Models; The Biggest Mistakes Expert Witnesses Make and How to Avoid Them; Cross-Examination: The Comprehensive Guide for Experts; National Guide to Expert Witness Fees and Billing Procedures; and How to Market Your Expert Witness Practice: Evidence-Based Best Practices. Mr. Mangraviti was the co-founder in 2000 of SEAK’s Expert Witness Directory (www.seakexperts.com), which is an often-used national resource for attorneys to locate expert witnesses. He can be contacted at 978-276-1234 or jim@seak.com. 

babitsky-thumb.jpgSteven Babitsky, Esq., is the President and founder of SEAK, Inc., the Expert Witness Training Company. He was a personal injury trial attorney for twenty years and is the former managing partner of the firm Kistin, Babitsky, Latimer & Beitman. Steve has helped expert witnesses and their attorneys prepare for deposition in a broad range of cases, including antitrust, patent, medical malpractice, wrongful death, computer forensics, and many others. He has trained the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Aviation Administration, and he has worked with numerous forensic and financial companies including Fortune 500 companies and has worked with numerous experts to help them expand and grow their practices. Mr. Babitsky is the co-author of the texts How to Market Your Expert Witness Practice: Evidence-Based Best Practices; How to Become a Dangerous Expert Witness: Advanced Techniques and Strategies; Writing and Defending Your Expert Report: The Step-by-Step Guide with Models; How to Excel During Cross-Examination: Techniques for Experts That Work; The A–Z Guide to Expert Witnessing; How to Write an Expert Witness Report; and How to Excel During Depositions: Techniques for Experts That Work. Attorney Babitsky is the co-developer and trainer for the “How to Be an Effective Expert Witness” seminar and has been the seminar leader since 1990 for the Annual National Expert Witness and Litigation Conference. Mr. Babitsky trains hundreds of experts every year. He may be contacted at 508-548-9443 or stevenbabitsky@seak.com.

 


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