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How to be an Effective Medical Expert Witness, February 8-9, 2020, Clearwater Beach, FL


Product Description

The #1 way to grow an expert witness practice is to build the reputation of being an effective witness. This is a small group, hands-on, fast-moving interactive workshop covering deposition, direct examination, and cross-examination skills for physicians. Participating physicians 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 each attendee. Each physician 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 course, which is especially for physicians, will only be offered once in 2020.

The Sandpearl Resort, Clearwater Beach, Florida
Saturday-Sunday, February 8-9, 2020

Click here for a PDF of the brochure   

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
Discuss strategies that can be followed when giving an expert deposition and when testifying at trial
Explain techniques for excelling at videotaped depositions
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 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
Discuss techniques to make a positive impression on the jury 

Registration Information: Tuition is $1295 until November 18, 2019; $1395 November 19, 2019 – January 15, 2020; $1495 after January 15, 2020 and includes continental breakfast and lunch with faculty each day and a detailed conference manual. Register early and save.

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)TM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

LOCATION/HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS: A limited block of rooms will be available at special rates at the site hotel, the AAA Four Diamond Sandpearl Resort (www.sandpearl.com) ($239+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 15, 2020 so you are encouraged to make your reservations as soon as possible. To make your reservations please call 877.726.3111 and mention that you are with SEAK, Inc. These rates are available for a limited time and on a limited number of rooms so you are strongly encouraged to make your reservations as soon as possible. To book your hotel room online please click here, enter your arrival date and enter your departure date.

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, Uber or shuttle ride from Tampa International Airport, so we suggest saving money and time by not renting a car. 

CANCELLATIONS: Conference cancellations received in writing on or before January 15, 2020 will receive a full tuition refund. Persons cancelling after January 15, 2020 will receive a full tuition credit. 

Other Closeby Clearwater Hotels

Hotel Cabana Clearwater Beach
669 Mandalay Ave
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
From $189 + per night
.5 miles from conference hotel

Pier House 60
101 Coronado Dr.
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
From $258+ per night
.5 miles from conference hotel

Fairfield Inn & Suites Clearwater Beach
650 Bay Esplanade
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
From $241+ per night
.5 miles from conference hotel

Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa
301 South Gulfview Blvd
Clearwater Beach, Florida, 33767
From $360+ per night
.6 miles from conference hotel

Holiday Inn Clearwater Beach
521 S Gulfview Blvd
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767

727- 447-6461
From $232+ per night
1.0 mile from conference hotel

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-larger-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. Mr. Mangraviti is a former litigator with experience in defense and plaintiff personal injury law and insurance law. He currently serves as Principal of the expert witness training company SEAK, Inc. (www.testifyingtraining.com). Mr. Mangraviti received his BA degree in mathematics summa cum laude from Boston College and his JD degree cum laude from Boston College Law School. 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; How to Be a Successful Expert Witness: SEAK’s A-Z Guide to Expert Witnessing; How to Write an Expert Witness Report; The Biggest Mistakes Expert Witnesses Make: And How to Avoid Them; and How to Market Your Expert Witness Practice: Evidence-Based Best Practices. He can be reached at 978-276-1234 or jim@seak.com. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Physicians Serving as Expert Witnesses

Q. Do I need to be a medical school professor or to have graduated from an Ivy League Medical School in order to be a successful medical expert witness?

A. Absolutely not.  The vast majority of successful medical expert witnesses are neither academicians nor Ivy League graduates.

Q.  What are attorneys looking for in a physician expert witness?

A.  A knowledgeable professional who is responsive, easy to deal with and can communicate well both in writing and orally.

Q.  Will I have to say something I don’t believe in? 

A.  No. The way it works is that you will be sent a chart to review and be paid to review it.  If you cannot support the position the attorney is looking for (a common occurrence) you tell the attorney that and that will generally be the end of the assignment.

Q.  I only want to testify for defendants, can I do that?

A.  You can, but this would make you vulnerable to attack on cross-examination as being potentially biased.  The most credible and successful medical expert witnesses call cases like they see them and are available to both plaintiffs and defendants.

Q.  Do I need to keep practicing, or can I do medical expert witness work full time?

A.  That depends.  If you would like to testify in medical malpractice cases it is best that you maintain at least a part time practice.

Q.  Do I need to be board certified?

A.  The vast majority of successful physician expert witnesses are board certified.

Q.  Do I need an active medical license?

A. Generally speaking, yes.

Q. I don’t want to do medical malpractice work, are there other opportunities available to me?

A.  Yes, but these would depend on your specialty.  For example, many physicians testify in workers’ compensation and personal injury cases.  There are other examples of non-medical malpractice niches as well.   


Day One, Saturday, February 8, 2020 



8:00 – 8:30 Deposition Law and Procedure

You will learn what counsel can and can not ask, the extent of privilege protections, 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

You will learn the general and specific goals of deposing counsel and how counsel will prepare to depose you. Questions & Answers

9:00 – 9:30 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 medical deposition. Questions & Answers

9:30 – 10:15 Deposition Strategies for Experts

You will learn a 4 step methodology for answering deposition questions. In addition, you will learn numerous strategies to truthfully and artfully answer deposition questions. Questions & Answers


10:30 – 11:00 Understanding and Defeating Counsel’s Deposition Tactics

You will learn over two dozen tactics that are likely to be used against you and will be provided with strategies to defeat each of these tactics. Questions & Answers

11:00 – 11:15 Videotape Depositions: Special Techniques

You will learn special techniques which are applicable when your deposition is being videotaped. Questions & Answers

11:15 – 12:00 Advanced Deposition Tactics for Experts

You will learn numerous techniques that will help you to excel during your expert medical deposition. Questions & Answers

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

12:45 – 1:30 Pulling it all Together: Truthfully and Artfully Answering Trick and Difficult Questions at Deposition

The faculty will go around the room and ask difficult deposition questions. The attendees’ responses will be critiqued. Questions & Answers


1:30 – 2:00 Introduction and Executive Summary of Persuasion Techniques for Expert Witnesses

You will learn the twelve key techniques to utilize in order to be a more effective expert witness during direct examination. Questions & Answers

2:00 – 2:30 Preparation

You will learn 15 techniques for how to best prepare to give persuasive expert testimony during direct examination. Questions & Answers

2:30 – 3:00 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. Questions & Answers


3:15 – 3:30 Commenting on the Opposing Expert and His Opinion

You will learn the special techniques to utilize when you are asked to comment on the opposing expert’s opinion. Questions & Answers

3:30 – 4:00 Developing a Harmonious Interaction with Retaining Counsel

You will learn how to make your testimony easy to understand and 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. Questions & Answers

4:00 – 4:30 Creating and Using Powerful, Memorable Language and Analogies

You will learn 12 techniques for using more powerful, memorable and understandable language. Questions & Answers

4:30 – 5:00 Optimizing Your “Teaching” Skills

You will learn numerous techniques to more effectively “teach” the jury. Questions & Answers 


Day Two, Sunday, February 9, 2020


7:00 – 7:30 Reading and Bonding with the Jury

You will learn 17 techniques to read and more effectively bond with the jury. Questions and Answers

7:30 – 8:00 Dealing with Problem Areas and Weaknesses

You will learn advanced ways to deal with problem areas during your direct examination. Questions & Answers

8:00 – 8:30 The Biggest Mistakes Experts Can Make that Can Turn Off Judge and Jury

You will learn how to avoid the 37 biggest mistakes that can turn off the judge and jury. Questions & Answers


8:30 – 9:15 Protecting Yourself from Attacks on Your Credibility and Credentials

You will learn 8 techniques for protecting yourself from attacks on your credibility and credentials. Questions & Answers


9:30 – 10:15 Forming Airtight Opinions

You will learn 24 methods to make your opinions resistant to effective cross-examination. Questions & Answers

10:15 – 10:30 How Trial Attorneys Prepare for Cross-Examination of an Expert

You will learn how an attorney investigates an expert and his opinions and how an attorney maps out the questions that he will ask during cross. Questions & Answers


10:45 – 12:00 Advanced Cross-Examination Techniques

You will learn over 40 techniques to be a more effective expert witness during cross-examination. Questions & Answers


12:45 – 1:15 Staying One Step Ahead of Counsel During Cross-Examination

You will learn 34 tactics that attorneys will use during cross-examination and how to defeat each of these tactics. Questions & Answers

1:15 – 1:45 Going on Offense During Cross-Examination

You will learn numerous techniques for how to turn the tables on opposing counsel. Questions & Answers

1:45 – 2:30 How To Skillfully Answer Trick And Difficult Questions

The faculty will go around the room and ask difficult cross-examination questions. The attendees’ responses will be critiqued. Questions & Answers 


“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.” 

“High level training I feel like I’m leaving here way ahead 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.” 

“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.” 

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

“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.” 

“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.” 

“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.”  

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

“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.”

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

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

“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.”

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