How to Be an Effective Medical Expert Witness (at Deposition and Trial), February 4-5, 2023, Clearwater Beach, FL

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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 for physicians. Participating physicians will learn how to become 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 attendees. Each physician will have an opportunity to practice testifying 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 course, which is especially for physicians, will only be offered once in 2023.

The Sandpearl Resort, Clearwater Beach, FL, February 4-5, 2023

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this workshop, physicians 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
• Describe techniques physicians can use when testifying at deposition and trial
• Discuss methods for responding to trick and difficult questions at deposition and trial
• List techniques for developing powerful, memorable language and analogies
• Describe how to best insulate yourself from attacks by opposing counsel
• Discuss techniques to make a positive impression on the jury 

Registration Information: Tuition is $1,395 until November 18, 2022; $1,495 November 19, 2022–January 11, 2023; $1,595 after January 11, 2023 and includes continental breakfast and lunch with faculty each day and a detailed conference manual. Register early and save. A special 50% discount is available on one new or renewal standard listing in the SEAK Expert Witness Directory placed by attendees during the February 2023 seminars. 

CANCELLATIONS: Conference cancellations received in writing on or before January 11, 2023 will receive a full tuition refund. Persons canceling after January 11, 2023 will receive a full tuition credit.

LOCATION/HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS: Clearwater Beach has been rated the #1 beach in the United States! A limited block of rooms will be available at special rates at the site hotel, the AAA Four Diamond Sandpearl Resort  ( ($299+tax single or double occupancy) in Clearwater Beach, FL. This rate includes access to the fitness center as well as internet access in your room. Rooms are limited and this rate expires on January 11, 2023 so you are encouraged to make your reservations as soon as possible. To make your reservations, please call 866-384-2995 and say that you are with SEAK, Inc. or click here. The Sandpearl features a zero entry pool, spa, private beach, beach-front fire pit, beach sports rentals, 24-hour room service, 24-hour bell service, live entertainment, concierge service, two restaurants (including the 4 diamond Caretta on the Gulf), and child care services. The Sandpearl is located within walking distance of dozens of restaurants and is a 20 miles/30 minutes cab, rideshare or shuttle ride from Tampa International Airport, so we suggest saving money and time by not renting a car. 

Continuing Education Information: 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. 

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-circle.jpgJames J. Mangraviti, Jr., Esq. has trained thousands of expert witnesses through seminars, conferences, corporate training, training for professional societies and one-on-one training/mentoring. He is also frequently called by experts, their employers, and retaining counsel to train and prepare individual expert witnesses for upcoming testimony. He currently serves as Principal of the expert witness training company SEAK, Inc. ( He is the co-author of 31 books, including: How to Be an Effective Expert Witness at Deposition and Trial: The SEAK Guide to Testifying as an Expert Witness. Jim can be reached at 978-276-1234 or 


Day One (Saturday, February 4, 2023) 

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, 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, February 5, 2023) 

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: 

“Honestly never thought about expert witnessing until I showed up in Cape Cod. Since then I've cut the learning curve by light years and have the knowledge to avoid at least the first 100 mistakes people usually make when getting into this. The attendees were just as interesting as faculty and I learned listening to everyone.” 

“A whole new set of tools was learned - excellent course.” 

“Full of valuable information and pearls of wisdom.” 

“I left feeling excited about everything I learned about being a better prepared expert.” 

“Informative, educational, and entertaining.” 

“Loved the interactive environment.” 

“Outstanding, one of the best courses I've ever taken on any subject.” 

“The cross-examination exercises, the video visuals and the experiences from other colleagues and facilitators [was useful/interesting]. The manual was extremely helpful as well.” 

“All of you were extremely effective in your presentations. It was interesting to hear the advice from Judge Lawson from his vast experience on the bench. Jim and Kelly did a great job getting us prepared for the "hot seat" although I realize it will take years of practice to get comfortable direct and cross examination.” 

“Excellent course, thank you for your knowledge and approachability.” 

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

“Outstanding! The content, format, and presentation exceeded my expectations. The presenters were amazing with an unimaginable depth of knowledge.”

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

“Lots of pearls.”

“Lively, informative, encouraging.”

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

“Faculty interaction create[d] infectious energy.”

“It really reduced my anxiety.”

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

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

“Excellent in every respect.”

“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.”

“Superb. If the courts could mandate training of this kind, the result would likely be a far smoother and more efficient provision of expert testimony.”

“Awesome speakers! I’ve learned a lot in this course and have my second deposition next week. I feel more confident and prepared now than I did at the first deposition.”

“High level training I feel like I’m leaving here way a head of others starting this line of work.”

“Lots of great information, fast paced, experts are teaching information they know like the back of their hand.”

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

“Dear Jim, I wanted to take a minute and thank you for the excellent information that you provided at the SEAK conference. Since I am brand new to expert witnessing, I came away with my brain very full (and appropriately paranoid), but more than a bit excited about learning more and diving into this work. Thankfully there are two attorneys at the firm who are willing to work with me--- one to prep me on the art of deposition before they turn to the “closer” [someone who has a slightly sadistic side similar to your own] on me to see how rattled I will be on [cross] examination. The conference –and your examples—gave me much food for thought and some practical tips on how I can protect myself. For all of those things, thank you!”

“Jim – Thanks for another great class! How to Be an Effective Expert Witness was very informative, interactive, and entertaining. I plan on attending How to Bulletproof Your Deposition in the near future.”

“Great program, thank you !!!”

“A great experience. Thanks!”

“Jim, Thank you very much for checking in and for your work on this workshop last week. I will strongly recommend it to my colleagues and let them know it's worth the money.”

“Exceptionally helpful and practical.”

“Terrific – it’s easy to follow along.”

“Very useful & entertaining.”

“Very well-done intro to expert testimony”

“Was practical and highlighted the important aspects of being an EW.”

“Worth every little penny for how it’ll help my work.”

“Very helpful to have people practice testifying, have questions asked throughout the room, feedback on responses is very helpful.”

“Excellent presenters, for a long day, their presentations and dynamics kept my attention 100%.”

“Keep up your amazing work.”

“[Instructors] were very knowledgeable, excellent at teaching ,– appreciate the variety of teaching styles.”

“You and the judge made it informative, helpful, challenging and entertaining, which keep our attention and made the hours speed by. The location was wonderful. Keep doing what you do. Thank you again!”

“A brilliantly conceived and presented course of instruction.”

“Combination of experienced trial lawyer and the perspective of the judge was very powerful teaching approach — excellent.”

“Jim. Thank you so much for everything You and Judge Lawson were fantastic...This was my 4th seak course !!! With every one I learn and take away so many new concepts. See you at the next one.”

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

“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.”

“Jim! You’re an amazing speaker. I can’t thank you enough”

“Jim and the Judge are both extremely professional and excel at their craft.”

“Thank you for the great experience this weekend. Your dynamic teaching style is awesome.”

“The best seminar I’ve ever been to.”

“Excellent teachers and very personable and available.”

“Presenters were exceptional, very bright and talented”

“One of the best conferences I’ve ever attended”

“Excellent, full of useful information”

“Good dynamics, very informative”

“Excellent presenters”

“Jim, Thanks for a great four days at the courses down in Clearwater. I learned a good amount but, most of all, enjoyed meeting you and seeing you in action! You are obviously great at this stuff and have a knack for making the whole game fun, funny, engaging and interesting. I don’t think I’ve sat through 4 days of lectures/sessions since medical school and even my wife was impressed that you all were able to keep me in the lecture hall for as long as you did.”

“I want to express my gratitude for these great courses. I had only intended to attend the first course Thur/Fri How to start, build etc. and had brought all my bags to Fri class to go to the airport. I realized at the course how important it was to get all the training I could up at the start to do the best job how many sinkholes there are to step into. I rearranged plans.   I'd strongly advise anyone seeking to do this work to take this course EARLY on as it's impossible not to make faux pas which may come to haunt you or miss opportunities you can't see when you are establishing a reputation.”

“Great course with first rate teaching as usual.”

“I enjoyed the conference and learned a lot. It was informative and entertaining - which I think is the best way to learn!   I will definitely use what I learned during my upcoming court appearance and depositions. Also, I will highly recommend your program.”

“Jim, I want to say again how fascinating and useful your and Judge Lawson’s performances were this past weekend.”

“Excellent in all regards”

“Fantastic program!”

“Informative and honest”



“Well created and presented”

“Good job. It is great to get practice in a safe place.”

“Great content, experience, engagement, humor”

“Great interaction with class”

“I enjoyed the contrasting demeanor of the presenters and their interaction”

“You’re all very personable, thanks!”

“Jim, Thank you very much for putting on such a great program. We both learned a great deal and we are eager to embark in this new role of expert witnessing. Anyways, thank you again for all your great teaching, advice, and encouragement!”

“Thank you for offering this course. I thoroughly enjoyed it. You and the judge made it informative, helpful, challenging and entertaining, which keep our attention and made the hours speed by. The location was wonderful. Keep doing what you do. Thank you again!” 

“Full of very useful and helpful tips”

“Very good. My compliments to the judge”

“Excellent teaching techniques”

“Best conference I have ever attended!”

“It was fabulous. I have already recouped my investment by taking the necessary time to prepare properly for my court testimony today, which very well.”

“Excellent use of anecdotes and examples to illustrate good deposition and trial skills.”

“Excellent, clear, real!”

“Excellent. Brutal at times, but necessary!!”


“Great. You should never testify until you take this course!”

“[The course was fantastic, and thoroughly enjoyable. I realized how little prepared I was for today's courtroom testimony, and on further document review after the course, I came to a solid opinion that was better than retaining counsel had anticipated. On cross-exam the plaintiff attorney asked, "Didn't the record say 'such and such' was diagnosed?" I replied that the record said 'such and such' was possible, but that I had reviewed the raw data and concluded that the medical test results did not support that diagnosis. I was prepared to explain in detail and back it up with literature, but he just sat down after one question. Because I prepared for 10 hours, I was off the stand in 15 minutes. Meanwhile, my manager had scheduled me for a 2 hour deposition in an 8 by 8 consultation room with 3 chairs. I called the attorney and told him that deposing counsel would need to find a venue. I also asked and learned that retaining counsel has a year's worth of new documents and depositions that he has not shared with me. I insisted on time to review all evidence and write a report before the depo. Thanks for all the good advice. As you can see, I have already recouped my investment in the class.”

“Powerful captivating, not a moment of boredom. Faculty were outstanding.”

“Instructors were quite engaging.”

“Jim and Judge were a terrific team with different but complementary styles.”

“Thank you for your engaging teaching! It was the most beneficial conference I've ever attended!”

“Very effective. I have been deposed 30 plus times, etc., but came away with an added appreciation for ways to take the process further.”

“A must if you plan on testifying.” 

“I was discussing with my colleague, Jason, with whom I’ve attended numerous conferences that we’ve never been to a conference on plastics where for 4 days, we were in rapt attention and all of the speakers were excellent, as happened at SEAK. Personally, it has been my favorite course to date. We talked about the fact that it would have been extremely useful to have taken this course even before the plastics oral boards where similar unnerving interrogations take place and where people pass and fail more on the basis of confidence than of knowledge. If you ever want more work, I think the oral board prep courses for general and Plastic surgery, would be enthusiastic to have you as an instructor. We talked about the fact that although your grilling felt brutal at times, a lot of it came out an opportunistic moment made possible, actually, by the physician. Through excellent listening, you were able to identify weaknesses and pounce to great effect on the person being interviewed. But the carnage was many times preventable by more thoughtful responses to your initial questions. This approach is completely foreign in medicine and part of the reason the work often seems daunting - particularly when you are a defendant in a malpractice case. The course has greatly stimulated my interest in expert witnessing - but whether I end up doing it or not, the greatest benefit to me from the course is to not fear - even to enjoy - the prospect of courtroom battle. It’s given me a new perspective on witness work, and confidence to go into cases with more enthusiasm rather than fear, since it involves learnable techniques. I was trying to imagine Napoleon saying “oh, no - not another battle” the way we say “oh, no, I’m being sued”. With that attitude, he would not have conquered very much. Hats off to you and the other folks who have made this an incredible experience - you in particular.   I look forward to coming back for some of the other courses offered!”

“Jim, Thank you for the excellent seminar. I appreciated all the pearls that you and Judge Lawson were able to throw our way.”

“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.”

“Thank you for the lively exchange and respectful feedback.”

“Outstanding. Real-time, in your face mock testimonials.”