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Advanced Testifying Skills for Experts: The Master’s Program, March 9-10, 2019, San Diego, Ca


Product Description

This program is the most hands-on testifying skills course offered by SEAK. It is designed specifically for experienced expert witnesses and is the only SEAK testifying training which provides personalized written feedback to attendees on their presubmitted CVs and sample expert reports (for those registering on or before February 12, 2019). This program will not be offered again on the west coast until 2021 at the earliest.

March 9-10, 2019, The Hilton San Diego Harbor Island, San Diego, CA

Click here for a pdf of the brochure

LOCATION/HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS: A limited block of rooms will be available at special rates at the site hotel, The Hilton San Diego Harbor Island (www.hiltonsandiegoairport.com) ($169/night). To make your reservations please call 1-800-445-8667 and mention that you are with SEAK, Inc. Rooms are limited and this rate expires Wednesday, February 12, 2019 so you are strongly encouraged to make your reservations as soon as possible. To book your reservation online click here.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION: Tuition for each course is $1,295 on or before December 21, 2018; $1,395 December 22, 2018–February 12, 2019; $1,495 after February 12, 2019.

GROUP DISCOUNTS: Group discounts are available for two or more persons registering together from the same organization. Discount prices depend on the size of the group. Our programs can also be brought on site to your organization. Please call 508-457-1111.

CANCELLATIONS: Conference cancellations received in writing on or prior to February 12, 2019 will receive a full tuition refund. Persons cancelling after February 12, 2019 will receive a full tuition credit.

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.nasbaregistry.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 February 2018. To register, please follow the instructions above. 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.

Distinguished Faculty:

babitsky-larger-circle.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 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 The Biggest Mistakes Expert Witnesses Make And How to Avoid Them. Attorney Babitsky is the codeveloper 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.

donovan.jpgNadine Nasser Donovan, Esq., has been on the SEAK Faculty since 2002. She has trained countless experts in testifying skills, report writing, and practice development at SEAK conferences, customized on-site expert witness training programs, and via one-on-one training and mentoring. Nadine is the co-author of the SEAK texts How to Be An Effective Expert Witness at Deposition and Trial: The SEAK Guides to Testifying as an Expert Witness, How to Be a Successful Experts Witness: SEAK’s A-Z Guide to Expert Witnessing, and How to Write an Expert Witness Report. She is also a Legal Writing Instructor at Boston University School of Law. Nadine spent 21 years practicing litigation, as a medical malpractice insurance defense attorney and previously, as a NYC prosecutor. 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 nadine@seak.com.

DAY ONE: Saturday, March 9, 2019



8:00–9:45 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 experts may be subject to regarding their credentials and credibility including: every word on their CVs, skeletons in the closet, past testimony, their image, controversial or political associations, missing credentials, fees, fee schedules, fee agreements, marketing materials, web page, 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. Demonstrations, Interactive Discussion, Questions and Answers. Learning Objective: List techniques to insulate yourself from attack from opposing counsel.


10:00–12:00 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, proper case and client selection, avoiding time crunches, 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 used, verifying computer results, leaving no stone unturned, taking photographs, verifying your factual assumptions, gaining as much first-hand 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 billing records and avoiding even the appearance of impropriety. Demonstrations, Interactive Discussion, Questions and Answers. Learning Objective: Describe how to make your opinions more resistant to cross examination.

12:00–12:45 LUNCH WITH FACULTY (Provided)


12:45–2:45 Properly Preparing to Testify at Deposition and Trial

Peak performance requires proper and disciplined preparation done correctly. Well prepared experts are able to deliver confident testimony, deal with cross examination far more effectively, and are in a much better position to articulate and defend their opinions. In this segment, the faculty will explain advanced techniques that can and should be used to prepare for depositions, direct examination and cross-examination. Included is an explanation of the goals of retaining counsel at your deposition and how this effects your preparation, how to insure that retaining counsel properly prepares you to testify, how to study your file, which facts and documents must be known cold, making sure the language you intend to use is understandable to a lay audience, forming and testing analogies, conducting mock direct and cross-examinations with retaining counsel, gaining and using intelligence on the judge, jury, jurisdiction and opposing counsel, and being in your best form when it comes time to testify. Demonstrations, Interactive Discussion, Questions and Answers. Learning Objective: Describe techniques to effectively prepare to testify.



3:00–5:00 Defeating Opposing Counsel’s Deposition Tactics

The best experts recognize that most cases are won and lost in the discovery phase and that the expert’s deposition is a crucial–often outcome determinative component of the case. In order to excel at the highest level during a deposition, experts need to be able to recognize and defeat opposing counsel’s deposition tactics and recognize how these tactics differ from those used during trial. This segment will teach experts how to recognize and defeat counsel’s most insidious deposition tactics including: going for the jugular at the start, physical discomfort, waiving rights, locking down the expert on the facts, playing games with the videotape image, the silence gambit, gaining extra discovery from the expert, wearing the expert down, baiting the expert, getting the expert to talk and volunteer information, questioning notes, setting the expert up for a subsequent Daubert challenge, setting the expert up for a subsequent learned treatise cross examination, putting many balls in the air at once, asking about conversations with retaining counsel, intimidating the expert, tricking the expert into inconsistencies, trick questions about documents, the “fumble and bumble” gambit, getting the expert into a rhythm, and utilizing broad catchall questions. Many of the above tactics will be demonstrated with a brief demonstration using volunteer attendees. Demonstrations, Interactive Discussion, Questions and Answers. Learning Objective: Discuss how to defeat opposing counsel’s deposition tactics.

DAY TWO: Sunday, March 10, 2019



7:00–8:30 Mastering the Art of Persuasion During Direct Testimony

The best experts deliver powerful and understandable direct testimony. This section will explain and demonstrate numerous advanced techniques for delivering captivating, memorable and persuasive direct expert testimony. The advanced techniques explained include: showing - not telling, getting to the point up front and explaining later, being well-prepared and well-organized, making the complex simple, entertaining, being likeable, highlighting your most relevant qualifications, working on a smooth flow and style, getting out of the jury box early and often, using visual aids that work, aggressively self-editing, employing powerful, memorable analogies, showing your human side and bonding with the jury, using precise language, using confident language, employing short preview and review summaries, using numbered lists, citing references, speaking conversationally, conforming your testimony to the theme of the case, and reading and reacting to the jury. Many of these techniques will be illustrated with brief demonstrations utilizing attendees. Demonstrations, Interactive Discussion, Questions and Answers. Learning Objective: List techniques to present more persuasive direct testimony.


8:45–10:30 Staying One Step Ahead of Opposing 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, fee questions, 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. Demonstrations, Interactive Discussion, Questions and Answers. Learning Objective: Explain how to defeat opposing counsel’s cross examination tactics.


10:45–12:00 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. Interactive Discussion, Questions and Answers. Learning Objective: Explain how to turn the tables on opposing counsel.



12:45–2:30 Advanced Testifying Skills in Action: Skillfully Answering Cross-Examination 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. Demonstrations, Interactive Discussion, Questions and Answers. Learning Objective: Describe truthful and artful responses to trick and difficult questions.

Here’s What Past Attendees Had To Say:

“Enjoyed most the immediate feedback critiquing‘testimony.’”

“I enjoyed and appreciated your great teaching techniques and excellent material presented. I got a lot out of it.”

“I’m amazed at how much you remember about each of us.”

“Great performances.”

“Great work!”

“Take no prisoners: I loved it.”

“This was a fantastic, top-notch seminar.”

“Comprehensive and well organized.”

“Well done and worthwhile.”

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