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How to be an Effective Medical Expert Witness, January 30-31, 2021, 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 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 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 2021.

The Sandpearl Resort, Clearwater Beach, Florida
Saturday-Sunday, January 30-31, 2021

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
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 $1,295 until November 12, 2020; $1,395 November 13, 2020 – January 5, 2021; $1,495 after January 5, 2021 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: 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 (www.sandpearl.com) ($244+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 5, 2021 will receive a full tuition refund. Persons cancelling after January 5, 2021 will receive a full tuition credit. 

Distinguished Faculty:  

The 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.

James 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. (www.testifyingtraining.com). 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 jim@seak.com.

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 kelly@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, January 30, 2021 



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, January 31, 2021

Section 2: Direct Examination SkillsSection 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 nontraditional, “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 


“[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.”

“A brilliantly conceived and presented course of instruction.”

“A must if you plan on testifying.”

“Best conference I have ever attended!”

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

“Excellent in all regards”

“Excellent in every respect.”

“Excellent presenters”

“Excellent teachers and very personable and available.”

“Excellent teaching techniques”

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

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

“Excellent, clear, real!”

“Excellent, full of useful information”

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

“Faculty interaction create[d] infectious energy.”

“Fantastic program!”


“Full of very useful and helpful tips”

“Good dynamics, very informative”

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

“Great content, experience, engagement, humor”

“Great course with first rate teaching as usual.”

“Great interaction with class”

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

“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.”

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

“I learned a lot and feel more confident for the upcoming deposition this month.”

“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.”

“I wanted to thank you for an incredible 2 days of teaching.”

“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!”

“Informative and honest”


“Instructors were quite engaging.”

“It really reduced my anxiety.”

“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.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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!”

“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.”

“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.”

“Lively, informative, encouraging.”

“Lots of pearls.”

“Love Jim and the Judge — outstanding.”

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

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

“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.”

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

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

“Presenters were exceptional, very bright and talented”


“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!”

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

“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!”

“The best seminar I’ve ever been to.”

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

“The program was great! I found it very valuable and look forward to

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

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

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

“Very good. My compliments to the judge”

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

“Well created and presented”

“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!”

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

“You’re all very personable, thanks!”

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