Executive Summary: 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 markedly 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 six methodologies: lecture, video clips of experts testifying in real cases, interactive exercises, in-class mock trial demonstrations (based on pre submitted attendee CVs and reports/facts patterns), detailed “after action” video critiques of the in class mock trial demonstrations, 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 2021.
Please click here for a pdf of the conference brochure.
TUITION/DISCOUNTS: To register, please visit www.seak.com or call 508-457-1111.Tuition is $1295 on or before July 23, 2021, $1395 July 24, 2021–September 1, 2021, and $1495 after September 1, 2021. Your tuition includes continental breakfast and lunch with faculty each day and a detailed conference manual. 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. A special 50% Conference discount is available on all new and renewal standard listings in the SEAK Expert Witness Directory placed by attendees while at the seminar.
Location/Hotel Accommodations: A limited block of rooms will be available at special rates at the site hotel, the Sea Crest Beach Hotel ($199/Single/Double Standard Rooms, $285/Single/Double Deluxe Rooms). To make your reservations please call 800-225-3110 and refer to “SEAK Training” or click here to book online. Rooms are limited and these rates expire on September 1, 2021 so you are strongly encouraged to make your reservations as soon as possible.
Cancellations: Conference cancellations received in writing on or prior to September 1, 2021 will receive a full tuition refund. Persons cancelling after September 1, 2021 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.
James J. Mangraviti, Jr., Esq., has trained thousands of expert witnesses through seminars, conferences, corporate training, training for professional societies, one-on-one training/mentoring, and training for governmental agencies including the FBI, IRS, NYPD, SEC, Secret Service, and Department of Defense. He currently serves as Principal of The Expert Witness Training Company SEAK, Inc. (www.testifyingtraining.com). He is the co-author of thirty-one books, including: How to Be an Effective Expert Witness at Deposition and Trial; How to Be a Successful Expert Witness: SEAK’s A-Z Guide to Expert Witnessing; and How to Write an Expert Witness Report. Jim can be reached at 978-276-1234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelly J. Wilbur, Esq., joined SEAK in 2020 as Assistant Vice President/Associate Consultant. Prior to joining SEAK, she practiced for five years as a litigator. She specialized in personal injury defense and tried several cases in Massachusetts. Kelly received her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts School of Law in 2015 and graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a B.A. in Political Science. Kelly has experience preparing experts for deposition and trial testimony. She can be reached at 781-491-6802 or email@example.com.
Day One: Thursday, September 23, 2021
PART I: DIRECT EXAMINATION TECHNIQUES & STRATEGIES
7:30–8:00 CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST (PROVIDED WITH FACULTY) AND REGISTRATION
8:00–10:00 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. Learning Objective: List multiple strategies for delivering powerful and persuasive expert witness testimony.
10:00–10:15 BREAK AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
Part II: DIRECT EXAMINATION AREAS OF INQUIRY
10:15–11:15 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). Beyond being allowed to testify, establishing your qualifications/background properly will make you more credible and persuasive to the fact finder (weight). 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. Learning Objective: Describe techniques for more effectively introducing yourself to the jury.
11:15–12:00 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. Learning Objective: Describe techniques for more effectively explaining your investigation and methodology.
12:00–12:45 LUNCH (PROVIDED WITH FACULTY)
12:45–1:30 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, characterize them in a favorable fashion 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. Learning Objective: Describe techniques for more effectively dealing with potential problem areas on direct examination.
1:30–2:30 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. Learning Objective: Describe techniques for articulating more persuasive expert witness opinions in court.
2:30–2:45 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. Learning Objective: Describe a new demonstrative tool you will use to explain your testimony.
2:45–3:00 BREAK AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
3:00–3:45 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. Learning Objective: Describe techniques for effectively commenting on and rebutting another expert’s opinions.
PART III: DIRECT EXAMINATION PREPARATION & PRACTICE
3:45–4:00 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 and Answers. Learning Objective: Describe techniques for preparing to testify during direct examination.
4:00–5:00 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. Instant video playback will be used to critique the volunteers and offer personalized suggestions for improvement. Questions and Answers. Learning Objective: Explain how to become more effective during direct examination.
Day Two: Friday, September 24, 2021
PART IV: CROSS-EXAMINATION TECHNIQUES & STRATEGIES
6:30–7:00 CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST (Provided with Faculty)
7:00–8:00 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. Learning Objective: List strategies for delivering more effective expert witness testimony during cross-examination.
Part V: CROSS EXAMINATION AREAS OF INQUIRY
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. Learning Objective: Describe techniques for more effectively defending your qualifications during cross-examination.
9:00–9:15 BREAK AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
9:15–10:00 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. Learning Objective: Describe techniques for more effectively dealing with bias attacks during cross-examination.
10:00–10:30 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 cross-examination. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Describe techniques for more effectively dealing with lack of independence from retaining counsel attacks during cross-examination.
10:30–11:00 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. Learning Objective: Describe techniques for more effectively dealing with impeachment and learned treatise attacks during cross-examination.
11:00–11:15 BREAK AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
11:15–12:00 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. Learning Objective: Describe techniques for more effectively dealing with investigation, methodology and opinions questions during cross-examination.
12:00–12:45 LUNCH (Provided with Faculty)
PART VI: CROSS EXAMINATION PREPARATION & PRACTICE
12:45–1:00 Preparing for Your Cross-Examination
Being more a 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. Learning Objective: Describe techniques for preparing to testify during cross-examination.
1:00–2:30 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. Instant video playback will be used to critique the volunteers and offer personalized suggestions for improvement. Attendees will also have the opportunity to practice responses to trick and difficult cross-examination questions. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Explain how to become more effective during cross-examination.
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“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.”