How to Be a More Persuasive Expert Witness at Trial is SEAK’s most intensive and in-depth trial skills training program. It is designed to help expert witnesses to improve their direct and cross examination performance at trial. How to Be a More Persuasive Expert Witness at Trial is fast moving and content rich. This is a hands-on interactive training program taught using five methodologies: lecture, video clips of experts testifying in real cases, interactive exercises, in-class mock trial demonstrations (based on presubmitted attendee CVs and reports/facts patterns), and questions and answers. All attendees will have the opportunity to practice their direct and cross examination skills and to receive feedback from the faculty. SEAK will not offer this course again in 2023.
Registration/Tuition/Discounts: Tuition is $1395 on or before July 14, 2023; $1495 July 15, 2023–August 31, 2023; and $1595 after August 31, 2023. Your tuition includes a detailed conference manual (both PDF and hardcopy). Group discounts are available for two or more persons registering together from the same employer. Discount prices depend on the size of the group. Our programs can also be brought onsite to your organization either virtually or in-person. Please call 508-457-1111. A special 50% discount is available on one new or renewal standard listing in the SEAK Expert Witness Directory placed by attendees during the seminar.
The SEAK Zoom Experience: This will be our seventh series of Zoom classes. We are very pleased that our Zoom training has been as well received as SEAK’s superbly-regarded in-person training.
• Each attendee will be provided with both an electronic and hard copy of the course manual.
• We will be conducting numerous hands-on demonstrations so attendees can practice the skills taught.
• Our faculty will be fielding (and asking) many questions.
• These classes will not be recorded or available for later streaming.
Recording by attendees is strictly prohibited (we want everyone to speak their mind and take part in demonstrations and discussions).
• Each attendee gets a front-row seat.
Cancellations: Conference cancellations received in writing on or before August 31, 2023 will receive a full tuition refund. Conference cancellations received after August 31, 2023 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: State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. SEAK will provide each attendee with a certificate of attendance. Appraisers: Credits from The American Society of Appraisers will be applied for on written request at the 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. Chiropractors: Credits are unfortunately not available. 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. Nurses: Unfortunately contact hours are not available. 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)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Psychologists: Unfortunately continuing education credits are not available for psychologists. 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 medical malpractice defense attorney. She has been on the SEAK Faculty since 2002. Nadine has trained countless physicians in writing effective medical opinion reports at SEAK conferences, and via customized training and mentoring. Nadine is the co-author of the SEAK text How to Write an Expert Witness Report. Nadine is also a Legal Writing Instructor at Boston University School of Law. She 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 email@example.com.
Kelly J. Wilbur, Esq., is an expert witness trainer and consultant for SEAK, Inc. She has assisted and taught numerous expert witnesses through SEAK seminars and one-on-one training. She was an insurance defense and commercial litigator for five years where she regularly worked with and against expert witnesses in wrongful death, personal injury, premises liability, construction defect and patent cases. Kelly received her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts School of Law and graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a B.A. in Political Science. She may be contacted is 781-491-6802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Day One: Thursday, September 21, 2023
PART I: DIRECT EXAMINATION TECHNIQUES & STRATEGIES
8:00–10:00 AM Eastern Direct Examination – How to Excel
Attendees will learn techniques for delivering more powerful and persuasive direct testimony including conclusions first, using memorable soundbites, acting like a great teacher, proper body language, confident tone and pace, maintaining a smooth balance with retaining counsel, being yourself, self editing — what they need to know, not everything you know, using powerful and memorable language and analogies, numbered lists, using easy to understand language, emphasizing key points and many others. Questions & Answers.
10:00–10:15 AM Eastern BREAK
Part II: DIRECT EXAMINATION AREAS OF INQUIRY
10:15–11:15 AM Eastern Introducing Yourself to the Jury: Developing a Bond and Establishing Your Qualifications
In order to establish yourself as an expert and give an opinion under FRE 702 you must lay the foundation of your qualifications based upon your knowledge, skills, experience, training, and/or education (admissibility). In this segment, attendees will learn specific techniques regarding testifying as to your background and qualifications, such as name dropping, less is more, showing what you have in common with the jury and many others. Through a series of hands-on written and testifying exercises, attendees will learn and practice how to better present their own unique qualifications. Questions & Answers.
11:15–12:00 PM Eastern Explaining Your Opinion’s Foundation: What You Did, How You Did It and Why You Did It
Per FRE 702, each of your opinions must be based on sufficient facts or data; your opinion must be the product of reliable principles and methods; and you need to reliably apply those principles and methods to the facts of the case. In the section, we will focus on your investigation and methodology. You will learn multiple techniques for better articulating what you did, how you did it, and why you did it. Through a series of hands-on written and testifying exercises, attendees will learn and practice how to better testify to their methodology. Questions & Answers.
12:00–12:30 PM Eastern LUNCH BREAK
12:30–1:15 PM Eastern BOTB: Bringing Out the Bad: How to Manage Problem Areas and Weaknesses During Your Direct Examination
The most effective way to deal with potential problem areas and likely areas of attack are to bring these issues out on direct, and place them in the proper context for the jury. Such problem areas could include fees, expert witness income, qualifications issues, missing information, past cases, and myriad other potential problems. Through a series of hands-on written and testifying exercises, attendees will learn and practice how to better bring out the bad on direct examination. Questions & Answers.
1:15–2:15 PM Eastern Your Opinions: Expressing in a Confident, Understandable and Persuasive Manner
As an expert witness, your reason for testifying is to help the trier of fact by providing opinions. In this section, attendees will learn techniques for presenting persuasive opinions including the goldilocks level of confidence, not going too far, numbered reasons, citing literature, relating to the experience of the jurors and others. Through a series of hands-on testifying exercises, attendees will practice how to express more persuasive opinions. Questions & Answers.
2:15–2:30 PM Eastern Visual Aids: Designing and Using Effective Demonstratives
A picture says a thousand words. In fact, jury research shows that demonstrative evidence can make expert witness testimony both more persuasive and more memorable. In addition, the use of a demonstrative may allow the expert to get out of the jury box to a more comfortable teaching position. In this section, attendees will be provided with examples of effective demonstratives and advice on choosing, developing, and using effective visual aids. Questions & Answers.
2:30–2:45 PM Eastern BREAK
2:45–3:15 PM Eastern Rebuttals: Commenting on the Opposing Expert and His/Her Opinions
As an expert witness, you may be called upon to comment on the opinion(s) of an opposing expert. In this segment, attendees will learn specific techniques to effectively and respectfully critique an opposing expert by challenging investigation, methodology, literature, assumptions, and ultimately the expert’s conclusions. Attendees will participate in interactive exercises where they practice commenting on the opposing expert and that expert’s opinions. Questions & Answers.
PART III: DIRECT EXAMINATION PREPARATION & PRACTICE
3:15–3:30 PM Eastern Preparing for Your Direct Examination
Being a more persuasive expert on direct examination is a function of hard work. Simply put, the harder you prepare, the more persuasive you will be. In this section, attendees will learn an effective methodology for preparing to testify on direct examination. Questions & Answers.
3:30–4:45 PM Eastern In Depth Direct Examination Demonstrations and Practice Questions
In this segment and as time permits, we will practice the techniques learned earlier in the day with mock direct examination trial demonstrations. These mock trial exercises will be based on reports and fact patterns presubmitted by volunteer attendees. Questions & Answers.
Day Two: Friday, September 22, 2023
PART IV: CROSS-EXAMINATION TECHNIQUES & STRATEGIES
8:00–9:00 AM Eastern Cross-Examination – How to Excel
Attendees will learn techniques for delivering more effective cross-examination testimony including making concessions, disagreeing without being disagreeable, active listening, dealing with setup questions, dealing with mischaracterizations, avoiding the numbers game, maintaining a consistent demeanor, not being defensive, not letting counsel cut you off, staying in your sandbox, dealing with impeachment and many others. Questions & Answers.
Part V: CROSS EXAMINATION AREAS OF INQUIRY
9:00–10:00 AM Eastern Qualifications
A likely area of attack during cross-examination is ones qualifications. This could include questions about any misleading information on your CV, “awards,” multiple claimed areas of expertise, missing credentials/experience, past mistakes, knowledge of the relevant literature, professional failures, relevancy of experience, recency of experience, age, and many others. Through a series of hands-on exercises, attendees will learn and practice how to defend their qualifications during cross examination. Questions & Answers.
10:00–10:15 AM Eastern BREAK
10:15–11:00 AM Eastern Bias, Fees, Marketing, Honesty, and Money
A common way to challenge an expert witness during cross-examination is to try to portray the expert as being biased. There are many common ways to do this including giving the same opinion in multiple cases, fees, forensic income, marketing activity/language, out of court statements, ethical violations, skeletons in your closet, your web site, working mainly for plaintiffs or defendants, having an indirect financial interest in the case, etc. Through a series of hands-on exercises, attendees will learn and practice how to effectively deal with bias attacks during cross-examination. Questions & Answers.
11:00 AM–11:30 AM Eastern Independence/Relationship with Counsel
A highly effective way to undermine an expert witness is to try to establish that the expert is just a mouthpiece of retaining counsel. Avenues to effectuate this could be counsel as the sole or primary source of information or assumptions, communications with the lawyer, ongoing and previous work for the lawyer, and preparation sessions. Through a series of hands-on exercises, attendees will learn and practice how to deal with lack of independence from counsel attacks during crossexamination. Questions & Answers.
11:30–12:00 PM Eastern Impeachment with Prior Statements, Testimony, Writings, and Learned Treatises
A classic way to challenge an expert witness is by confronting that expert with their own past statements, testimony, writings or learned treatises (journal articles, texts, etc.). The idea behind impeachment with prior statements is that the expert was either lying then or is lying now, either way the expert is a liar. In terms of learned treatises, it is that the expert disagrees with “the book” on the topic. Through a series of hands-on exercises, attendees will learn and practice how to deal with impeachment and learned treatise attacks during cross examination. Questions & Answers.
12:00–12:30 PM Eastern LUNCH BREAK
12:30–1:15 PM Eastern Investigation/Methodology, and Opinions
Your expert opinion is only as strong as the investigation and methodology upon which it is based. Issues that can be pressed in this regard during cross include your assumptions, what you failed to do, information you didn’t have, reliability of information you did have, calculations and formulas, time lapses, reliance on other experts, error rate, ruling out alternatives and other Daubert factors. Through a series of hands-on exercises, attendees will learn and practice how to deal with challenges to their investigation, methodology and opinions during cross examination. Questions & Answers.
1:15–1:30 PM Eastern BREAK
PART VI: CROSS EXAMINATION PREPARATION & PRACTICE
1:30–1:45 PM Eastern Preparing for Your Cross-Examination
Being a more persuasive expert on cross examination is more dependent on perspiration than inspiration. In this section, attendees will learn a time tested protocol and methodology for preparing to testify on cross-examination. Questions & Answers.
1:45–3:15 PM Eastern In Depth Cross-Examination/Trial Demonstrations and Practice Questions
In this segment and as time permits, we will practice the techniques learned earlier in the seminar with longer mock cross-examination demonstrations. These mock trial exercises will be based on reports and fact patterns presubmitted by volunteer attendees. Attendees will also have the opportunity to practice responses to trick and difficult cross-examination questions. Questions & Answers.
What past attendees have to say:
“Just finished my cross in my [location] trial. The course was unbelievably helpful in surviving the cross…my lawyers were very happy.”
“Amazing as always.”
“Another excellent course. Thank you.”
“As painful as it was to be cross examined, it certainly helps to develop armor to be unemotional during testimony. Helpful to become a better witness.”
“Helpful, practical and useful.”
“Both speakers did a great job presenting with their experience and knowledge base. Their stories were on-point and valued.”
“Thank you for your time, humor, and ability to convey the information in a practical and useful way.”
“This was the only course I have taken that I did not experience a lull in my attention at some point during the days. It kept my focus throughout.”
“[The} back and forth between students and instructors was useful/interesting.”
“The course was outstanding and everything I had hoped it would be! Certainly worth every penny. The changes that I will implement from what I learned will result in increased
income that will be many times more than what I spent to take the course.”
“I now understand how trial testimony works. I will be listening more intently to the attorney questions, and my answers will be more concise and less technical so that everyone in the courtroom can learn.”
“Excellent course! It was definitely an eye opener for me!”
“Excellent! It made me a more confident Expert.”
“The course was outstanding. As an expert witness in my first year, I learned a significant amount of tools and techniques to become a more effective expert witness.”
“Very good, Jim and Kelly have a lot of pearls and experience on this.”
“Knowledgeable presenters, comfortable with the topic, and engaging.”
“Hard hitting and targeted.”
“Outstanding course and well presented via Zoom.”
“Very helpful in understanding the role of the expert and different parts of the play which seems to be divided into 2-3 scenes once you are drawn into the court room.”
“Good stuff: lots of good information.”
“Excellent. Having attended their last live course in San Diego I can honestly compare this format to the live classroom. For me, I found this format more intense and challenging and looking forward to future classes done this way.”
“I learned what was behind some of the lawyer’s questions that I am asked during testimony; I now have a better understanding of the lawyer’s strategies.”
“Excellent, [Presenter] is really effective at sharing his wisdom with the audience.”
“Good stuff: lots of good information.”
“Material was excellent & ... excellent presenter.”
“Outstanding, as always!”
“Very informative, educational.”
“Very well done!”
“It was very informative & interesting.”
“Thank you again! Your expertise and experiences provided invaluable insight and ideas. Worth every penny!”
”It was a very enjoyable time, and I learned more than I had in the past. You and Jim put together a totally first-rate performance, and I’ll be coming back again.”
“Excellent. One of the best courses I’ve taken in 27 years of practice.”
“The course is extremely valuable for potential EWs, first to give them an idea of what the whole legal arena is really like (and what they need to do) and second to guide them to making their entire approach to the area more effective.”