How to Be an Effective Expert Witness, December 4-5, 2021, Naples, FL



The #1 way to grow an expert witness practice is to build the reputation of being an effective witness. This is a hands-on, fast-moving interactive workshop covering deposition, direct examination, and cross-examination skills. Attendees will learn how to become markedly more effective and significantly more valuable expert witnesses. Instruction will utilize four methods: lecture, questions & answers, videos of experts actually testifying in real cases, and mock trial demonstrations using student volunteers. The mock trial demonstrations are based upon a C.V. and sample report submitted in advance by volunteer attendees. Attendees will have an opportunity to participate in demonstrations and to receive constructive feedback as to how to improve their performance. In addition, each attendee will be provided with a content rich seminar manual. This is SEAK’s most popular testifying training seminar.

Click here for a PDF of the conference brochure

Learning Objectives:  At the conclusion of this workshop, you should be able to:
• Discuss the strategies and goals of opposing counsel at deposition and during cross-examination
• Describe how to properly prepare for deposition and trial
• Explain opposing counsel’s deposition and cross-examination tactics and how to defeat each tactic
• Discuss methods for responding to trick and difficult questions at deposition and trial
• List teaching methods that can be used to improve the persuasiveness of your expert testimony
• List techniques for developing powerful, memorable language and analogies
• Describe how to best insulate yourself from attacks by opposing counsel 

TUITION/DISCOUNTS: Tuition is $1,295 on or before September 9, 2021, $1,395 September 10, 2021–November 10, 2021, and $1,495 after November 10, 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 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% Conference discount is available on all new and renewal standard listings in the SEAK Expert Witness Directory placed by attendees during the seminar. 

Hotel Room Reservations:  A limited block of rooms will be available at special rates at the site hotel, The Naples Grande Beach Resort ( ($214 single/double Tower Guest Room). To make your reservations please call 1-844-489-9663 and mention that you are with SEAK, Inc or group code GSEAK21 or click hereRooms are limited and this rate expires Wednesday, November 10, 2021 so you are strongly encouraged to make your reservations as soon as possible.

Cancellations: Conference cancellations received in writing on or before November 10, 2021 will receive a full refund. Conference cancellations received after November 10, 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 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. 

Distinguished Faculty: 

lawson.jpgThe Honorable David Lawson is a United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan. He was formerly a member of the Detroit law firm of Clark Hill, PLC (Birmingham office). He received his BA degree magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame, and his JD magna cum laude from Wayne State University. Judge Lawson is a former Special Assistant Attorney General and Special Prosecutor, and is currently on the faculty of the Michigan Judicial Institute. Prior to taking the bench his practice included both civil and criminal trial litigation, and he was actively involved in the trial of medical malpractice, negligence, and product liability cases. Judge Lawson has written and lectured extensively on scientific evidence and trial techniques. 

mangraviti-james100px.jpgJames 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. ( 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 

webcircles-kelly-wilbur.jpgKelly J. Wilbur, Esq., is a former litigator who specialized in personal injury defense, tried several cases and worked with expert witnesses and independent medical examiners regularly. Kelly is Assistant Vice President/Associate Consultant at SEAK where her duties include teaching expert witness seminars and consulting with expert witnesses on issues such as report writing, deposition/trial prep, and business development. She 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 can be reached at 781-491-6802 or 


Day One (Saturday, December 4, 2021) 

Section 1: Deposition Skills 


8:00-8:30 Deposition Law and Procedure
You will learn the difference between discovery and de bene esse depositions, what counsel can and cannot ask, the extent of privilege protection, what objections may and may not be made, how to recognize and deal with abusive attorney behavior and whether you should read and sign the deposition transcript. Questions & Answers 

8:30-9:00 Understanding the Strategies and Goals of Opposing Counsel
The general and specific goals of deposing counsel (including knocking you out, pinning you down, sizing you up, and pushing your buttons) will be explained. Faculty will also explain how opposing counsel will prepare to depose you. Questions & Answers 

9:00-10:00 Preparing for Your Deposition
You will learn how to prepare for your deposition, both alone and with retaining counsel. You will be provided with a detailed list of the likely areas of inquiry in an expert witness discovery deposition including qualifications, publications, relevant practical experience, presentations, litigation experience, research, bias, assumptions, opinions, CV, “lockdown” questions, learned treatises, fees and billing, expert witness income, materials reviewed, and methodology/Daubert. Questions & Answers 


10:15-12:00 Deposition Strategies for Experts
You will learn 59 strategies to truthfully, artfully, and ethically answer deposition questions, such as putting a period, presenting the optimal tone, leaving wiggle room, open book answers, preventing yourself from getting run down, absolute avoidance, hedge recognition, counsel’s silence gambit, venue selection, active listening, mischaracterization correction, objection gleaning, taking a pass, and optimal timing. The faculty will present and comment on dozens of video clips of experts demonstrating the covered strategies. Questions & Answers 

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

12:45-3:00 Deposition Strategies for Experts (Continued) Questions & Answers


3:15-4:15 Deposition Strategies for Experts (Continued) Questions & Answers 

4:15-4:45 Understanding and Defeating Counsel’s Deposition Tactics
You will learn over two dozen tactics that may be used against you such as the sociopath gambit, playing dumb, immediate jugular, notes, topic jumping, break questioning, continuances, catchalls, and hypothetical questions. Attendees will be provided with strategies to truthfully and ethically respond to each tactic. Questions & Answers 

4:45-5:00 Video Depositions: Special Techniques
You will learn special techniques which are applicable when your deposition is being recorded on video. Questions & Answers

Day Two (Sunday, December 5, 2021) 

Section 2: Direct Examination Skills 


7:00-8:00 How to Best Put Forth Your Qualifications
You will learn 14 techniques to more persuasively explain your credentials and to put your credentials in context including teaching, name dropping, conciseness, and bonding. Questions & Answers 

8:00-8:30 Developing a Harmonious Interaction with Retaining Counsel
You will learn how to coordinate with retaining counsel to make your testimony easier to understand and more interesting to follow. You will also learn how to avoid making your testimony appear to be rehearsed and how to present non-traditional, “soft challenge” direct testimony. Video examples of trial testimony will be presented to exemplify the points made. Questions & Answers 

8:30-9:00 Dealing with Problem Areas and Weaknesses 
You will learn advanced way to actively bring up and address likely problem areas on your cross-examination during your direct examination. The relationship between a good direct exam and success on cross will be explained. Questions & Answers 


9:15-10:00 Creating and Using Powerful, Memorable Language and Analogies
You will learn 12 techniques for delivering more powerful, memorable and understandable expert witness testimony including using analogies, impact language, numbering, hands-on demonstrations and KISS. Video examples of experts using analogies and powerful language in court will be provided. 49 sample expert witness analogies will be provided. Questions & Answers 

10:00-10:45 Optimizing Your “Teaching” Skills
As an expert witness your job is to teach the finder of fact (jury or judge) in order to help them make their decisions. You will learn numerous techniques to more effectively “teach” the jury including use of demonstratives, primacy, recency, dynamism, previews, reviews, and “less if more.” Video examples of highly effective direct testimony will be presented. Questions & Answers 


Section 3: Cross-Examination Skills 

11:00-12:00 Protecting Yourself from Attacks on Your Credibility and Credentials & Forming Airtight Opinions
Success at cross-examination largely depends on denying opposing counsel ammunition to attack you with. In this segment, you will learn 8 techniques for protecting yourself from attacks on your credibility and credentials. You will also learn 24 methods to make your opinions resistant to effective cross-examination. Examples will be provided, and cross-examination demonstrations will be conducted. Questions & Answers 

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

12:45-2:30 Advanced Cross-Examination Techniques & Tactics
You will learn over 40 techniques to be a more effective expert witness during cross-examination. Video examples will be presented. Mock cross-examination exercises will be conducted. You will learn how to recognize and truthfully and ethically deal with common tactics used against you by opposing counsel such as the deal, mischaracterizations, impeachment, set-up questions, document ambush, and ad hominin assaults. Both passive and active responses will be discussed and demonstrated. Questions & Answers 

What past attendees had to say:

“Lots of pearls.”

“Lively, informative, encouraging.”

“There is no better expert training in CA, the US or likely the world.” 

“The program was great! I found it very valuable and look forward to incorporating techniques discussed in the training.”

“Very knowledgeable instructors & very flexible to handle various subjects.”

“The needle was moved! Thank you all for your efforts and time in bringing the various topics alive and making them pertinent.”

“I appreciated that you made the course not only informative, but fun.”

“Thank you for the toughness & thoroughness in a friendly setting. I appreciate that each presenter is approachable.”

“I wanted to thank you for an incredible 2 days of teaching. Probably one of the best courses I have taken. I love the way that you interacted with everybody in the class. I honestly feel that interactive and “hands on” teaching result in the best learning experience.”

“Jim did an amazing amount of prep work on CVs and reports.”

“A brilliantly conceived and presented course of instruction.”

“Outstanding! The content, format, and presentation exceeded my expectations.

The presenters were amazing with an unimaginable depth of knowledge.”

“Excellent! Well thought out, taught by extremely talented people.”

“Outstanding, riveting. Despite the long hours, there was never a dull or uninformative moment.”

“Love Jim and the Judge — outstanding.”

“James was exactly like the worst prosecutor I have faced and it was perfect.”

“You do a great job at learning the student and making the course personalized.”

"Excellent-good take always!"

"It was fabulous"

“Absolutely fascinating, very relevant, extremely useful”

“An excellent course. I only wish I had taken it years ago.”

“Excellent in every respect.”

“Excellent seminar and loved the information received.”

“Excellent, informative, real life” 

“Exceptional seminar. I attend continuing ed seminars regularly and this seminar was beyond all of those. It seemed that every word was productive.”

“Eye opening, frank, and utterly essential. No pulled punches.”

“Faculty interaction create[d] infectious energy.”

“Highly recommended to others”

“I am scheduled to testify at a jury trial tomorrow. Looking forward to utilizing the new tools in my toolbox, especially active listening, and answering the actual question in a clear, relevant and concise manner. The service you provide as a vocation is impactful.”

“I found the program EXTREMELY useful.”

“I have found the specific topic trainings thru SEAK to be golden. SEAK really helps shorten the learning curve.”

“I learned so much, got fired up and want to take the next level course”

“I love the open platform with spontaneous questions and “life-like”

“I really enjoyed watching all the videos of expert (and other) testimony. It helped put a point on the discussion.”

“I wanted to let you know that the webinar this week has been immensely helpful. I cannot thank you guys enough!”

“Incredible presenters.”

“It really reduced my anxiety.”

“It was a fantastic class and well worth the money.”

“It was awesome Jim! Thank you. Your presentation style is engaging and informative. You are a teacher at heart!”

“It was, predictably, great training. I came away with a number of tips and initiatives I will be using. I don't think there is anyplace else expert witnesses could get that kind of exposure and the resultant confidence building.”

“Jim, I’m glad I never had to encounter you as an opposing attorney, but this experience has made me more prepared for just that.”

“Made a tremendous impact on my ability to perform as an expert.”

“More helpful than any other training I’ve ever received, I think due in large part that it was so engaging and packed with great examples.” 

“Outstanding – Jim is great. A very effective teacher.”

“Provided me with a plethora of information and motivation.”

“That was a fantastic course and I look forward to others in the future.”

“The course offered very practical testifying techniques along with examples of what to do/not do.”

“The interactions with the students really made a difference in the experience. It also energized me to up my game to the next level.”

“The sense of humor mixed in was delightful and kept us on our toes.”

“The speakers were engaging, with very good grasps of what needed to be taught, and did so in what I thought was a very effective way.”

“The testimony ‘practice’ that was done during the course was very helpful; putting us students on the spot to come up with responses and discussing the positives/negatives of certain answers was invaluable.”

“The training was fantastic, and I will absolutely be attending future SEAK trainings. I also very much enjoy the books I have read of yours so far, and I intend to buy and read more of your books in the future.”

“The witness work I became involved with in April of last year has been a STEEP learning curve . . . and your material has helped tremendously!”

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

“This was a great course. Very informative and interactive (especially for a Zoom format). The instructors are very engaging and have a real concern for helping one become a better expert witness.”

“Truly an outstanding weekend. My biggest regret is not having done this years ago.”

“Very helpful, full of practical tips”

“Very impressed. Very informative”

“Well worth the cost and personal time.”