How to Excel at Your Expert Witness Deposition, March 5-6, 2022, San Diego, CA

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How to Excel at Your Expert Witness Deposition is SEAK’s most intensive deposition training seminar. It is designed to help expert witnesses to markedly improve their deposition skills. How to Excel at Your Expert Witness Deposition is fast moving and content rich. The course is taught using five methodologies: lecture, interactive exercises, videos of experts testifying in real cases, mock deposition demonstrations, and questions and answers. This is a hands on course. All attendees will have the opportunity to practice their deposition skills through in class exercises and to receive feedback from the faculty. 

Please click here for a PDF of the full conference brochure.

After completing this interactive training you will be able to:

• Demonstrate improved active listening skills.
• Deliver powerful, bullet point responses.
• Answer questions truthfully while leaving yourself some flexibility.
• Employ numerous proven strategies to excel at deposition.
• Recognize and defeat opposing counsel’s tactics.
• Excel at answering trick questions.
• Articulately answer questions regarding your qualifications, fees, biases, opinions, methodology, and report.
• Effectively deal with skeletons in your closet.
• Better handle abusive questioning.
• Prepare an individualized protocol to excel at expert witness depositions. 

Registration/Tuition/Discounts: Tuition is $1,295 on or before December 20, 2021; $1,395 December 21, 2021–February 14, 2022; and $1,495 after February 14, 2022. 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. 

Location/Hotel Accommodations: A limited block of rooms will be available at special rates at the site hotel, The Hilton San Diego Harbor Island ( ($184/night). To make your reservations please call 1-800-445-8667 and mention that you are with SEAK, Inc. or click here. Rooms are limited and this rate expires February 14, 2022 so you are strongly encouraged to make your reservations as soon as possible. The Hilton San Diego Harbor Island is located near the airport and is situated on San Diego Bay. Guest rooms enjoy scenic views of the marina, Bay and downtown San Diego skyline. The Hilton San Diego Harbor Island features ideal proximity to the city’s most popular attractions including the Midway, Gaslamp Quarter, Sea World, and the Zoo. The hotel is within walking distance of fine dining options and features free airport shuttle, heated pool, free wifi, and a 24 hour gym. 

Cancellations: Conference cancellations received in writing on or before February 14, 2022 will receive a full tuition refund. Conference cancellations received after February 14, 2022 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.


donovan-nadine100px.jpgNadine Nasser Donovan, Esq., is a former medical malpractice defense attorney and SEAK’s Lead Trainer & Consultant. Nadine has trained countless physicians in writing effective medical opinion reports at SEAK conferences, and via customized training and mentoring. Nadine is the co-author of the SEAK text How to Write an Expert Witness Report. Nadine is also a Legal Writing Instructor at Boston University School of Law. She spent 21 years practicing litigation, as a medical malpractice insurance defense attorney and previously, as a NYC prosecutor. Nadine received her J.D. cum laude from Boston College Law School. She graduated from Fordham University summa cum laude with a B.A. in French Literature. She can be contacted at 617-791-4282 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 is the co-author of SEAK’s 2021 Expert Witness Fee Survey. 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, March 5, 2022 

7:30 – 8:00 Registration and Continental Breakfast with Faculty 


8:00 – 8:45 Law and Procedure
What questions can be asked, the legal basis and limits of “fishing expeditions,” applicability and limits of claims of privilege, meaning and effect of “off the record,” meaning and effect of “the standard stipulations,” discoverability of expert-retaining counsel communication, time limits, limitations on questioning because of abusive intent, harassment, or undue burden, admissibility of deposition questions at trial, reading and signing, and protective orders. Questions & Answers 

8:45 – 9:30 Understanding Opposing Counsel’s Strategies and Goals
Why opposing counsel will likely ask open ended questions and may interrogate the witness in a non-confrontational manner designed to keep the witness talking. The numerous likely goals of retaining counsel and suggestions for dealing with each of them including locking down the expert, sizing up the expert as a witness, probing for bias, discovering the expert’s factual assumptions, gathering as much information as possible, using the expert to help his own case, intimidating the expert, and setting the stage to later get the expert or the expert’s opinion excluded. Questions & Answers 

9:30 – 10:15 How to Improve Your Active Listening Skills
You will learn how to improve your active listening skills. This section includes interactive exercises to assess, practice and improve active listening skills. Questions & Answers 

10:15 – 10:30 Break (Networking Opportunity) 

10:30 – 11:15 How to Leave Yourself Wiggle Room
How to recognize and truthfully respond to lock down questions in a way that leaves the expert some flexibility, but does not make the expert sound evasive or defensive. This section includes interactive exercises to assess, practice and improve performance. Questions & Answers 

11:15 – 12:00 Deposition Strategies for Expert Witnesses
Forty-seven techniques for excelling at deposition including listening carefully to objections, insisting on finishing answers, following a question- answering protocol, avoiding absolute words, putting a period on the answer, recognition of unintelligible questions, and staying in your sandbox. Numerous short video demonstrations and interactive exercises. Questions & Answers 

12:00 – 12:45 Lunch (Provided with Faculty) 

12:45 – 1:30 Deposition Strategies for Expert Witnesses (Continued) 


1:30 – 2:30 Qualifications Techniques
We will discuss techniques for answering expected questions about your qualifications. Many lines of inquiry will be demonstrated by short videos and will be practiced by the attendees through interactive exercises. Questions & Answers 

2:30 – 3:15 Bias and Fees Techniques
We will discuss techniques for answering expected questions about bias and fees such as plaintiff v. defendant issues, long held beliefs, billings to date, bills, prior writings, prior testimony, association with outside groups, political beliefs, opinion always the same in every case, influence of retaining counsel, and percentage of income questions. Video demonstrations and interactive exercises. Questions & Answers 

3:15 – 3:30 Break (Networking Opportunity) 

3:30 – 5:00 Opinions Techniques
We will discuss techniques for answering expected questions about your opinions including what the expert will and will not be testifying to, degree of flexibility in opinions, areas of agreement with opposing expert, new/additional opinions, degree of certainty, and rationale for opinions. Video examples and interactive exercises. Questions & Answers 

DAY TWO, Sunday, Mach 6, 2022 

6:30 – 7:00 Continental Breakfast with Faculty 

7:00 – 7:45 Methodology
Opposing counsel may use the deposition to set the expert witness up for a later motion to exclude under Daubert. If the expert is so excluded this can often be a career-ending occurrence. Attendees will learn techniques for answering expected questions about their methodology. Interactive exercises. Questions & Answers  

7:45 – 8:15 Your Expert Witness Report
Techniques for answering expected questions about reports including who helped write the report, drafts/preliminary reports, research, footnotes or lack thereof, and mistakes/typos. Questions & Answers 

8:15 – 9:00 Facts/Bases of Opinions
Techniques for answering expected questions about the basis of opinions including key facts of the case, assumptions, documentation, existence and extent of firsthand inspection, what was not done, cherry picking, interviews, veracity judgments, investigation, reliance on staff and/or other experts, timeline, and hypothetical questions. This section includes videos and interactive exercises. Questions & Answers 

9:00 – 9:15 Break (Networking Opportunity) 

9:15 – 9:45 Opposing Expert Techniques
We will discuss techniques for answering expected questions about opposing experts including qualifications, methodology, areas of agreement, and reasons for disagreement. This section includes videos and interactive exercises. Questions & Answers 


9:45 – 10:15 Giving a Deposition in a Case Where You Didn’t Write a Report
Practical advice regarding resulting issues such as, how to prepare for a deposition where you did not write a report, discussing with retaining counsel potentially drafting a simple list of opinions with reasons, and special techniques to prepare for a deposition in cases where a report was not written. Questions & Answers 

10:15 – 10:45 Dealing with Skeletons in Your Closet
What is and is not likely to be a problem and how to deal with common issues such as being sued, disciplinary problems, being terminated, failing tests, mediocre or worse grades, health issues, private life, divorces, bankruptcy, arrests, convictions, etc. Questions & Answers 

10:45 – 11:00 Break (Networking Opportunity) 

11:00 – 11:30 Abusive Questioning
The legal rules dealing with abusive questioning and practical advice for determining what is and is not abuse and how to deal with abusive questioning. Questions & Answers 

11:30 – 12:00 Video Depositions
Suggestions for excelling during a deposition that is recorded on video or taken over Zoom. Demonstrations will be conducted to provide feedback to how attendees look while being deposed. In addition, the attendees will be shown video clips of actual depositions to exemplify the issues that can occur with video depositions. Questions & Answers 

12:00 – 12:45 Lunch (Provided with Faculty) 


12:45 – 1:30 Recognizing and Defeating Opposing Counsel’s Deposition Tactics
Suggestions for dealing with tactics such as going for the jugular off the bat, wearing the deponent down, intimidation, fishing for contradictions, catchalls, magic words, hypotheticals, mischaracterizations, and authoritative treatises. Questions & Answers 

1:30 – 2:00 Trick and Difficult Questions
The faculty will demonstrate, utilizing questions submitted by the attendees, numerous trick and difficult questions. The goal is to practice the techniques learned in the class. Questions & Answers 


2:00 – 2:30 Expert Witness Deposition Preparation Protocol
Suggestions for how to develop a protocol for proper preparations. Issues covered include identifying issues of potential vulnerability, what to ask retaining counsel to do to prepare you, dealing with a refusal by retaining counsel to prepare you, getting your facts and files in order, how to review your file, what to know cold, and preparing headline-bullet point responses to key anticipated questions. Questions & Answers 

What past attendees have to say:

 "Nadine, I wanted to write to thank you so much for all the great info in the deposition prep class. Worth every penny. I just finished my first deposition and it went really well. The attorney had nothing negative to say at all and he didn't add, "for your first deposition." I am grateful for the advice to list and bullet point your opinions and the lockdown words. After 3.5 hours, the main attorney finally got to the pinnacle question and I caught the "common" he threw in and I nailed it. All thanks to you and SEAK! I will certainly be recommending courses to everyone I know. Thank you again."

“Nadine, thank you for leading an excellent class, I enjoyed it very much and feel that the time that I committed to attending was very well spent. Your personal charisma and enthusiasm for the subject make you a particularly effective instructor.”

“[Nadine & Kelly,] I can’t thank you both enough. I am rapidly turning into a SEAK junkie. This is my third course and I keep being impressed over and over with the volume of knowledge and content that is helpful in each one. Thanks for what you do. You have a truly unique gift to offer assistance to folks like myself who are early in the Expert Witness world and I feel like I’ve already made huge leaps and bounds in confidence and it has helped my business dramatically.”

“Fantastic course. It was great to see the good and bad examples. Thanks!”

“This was my 3rd SEAK seminar, it’s incredible. Every expert needs this course.”

“I learned too much to list. I learned enough by 9:30 the first day that would have prevented my disaster at my first depo several months ago.”

“Great job-outstanding instructor, good use of class participation.”

“It was highly informative, I learned a lot, phenomenal.”

“I really enjoyed the course and all the little details to look out for. I enjoyed the practice and examples during the class.”

“After 30 years of doing med-legal work, this course will help me be better prepared for my next depo.”

“[The course] gave me a great foundation for my first deposition.”

"Very lively, challenging and pragmatic.”

“Jim is an excellent instructor. Great command of the subject.”


“Absolutely great seminar. A pleasure to meet you. Learned quite a bit (even after having been deposed > 600 times over 35 years).”

“An exceptional class. Thanks to you and your staff for a great experience and valuable resources that were well worth the time and effort.”

“As a newer expert witness this was a huge eye opener and very valuable in information.”

“Excellent – very well taught by being interactive and using effective videos to illustrate a point.”

“Excellent job! Thank you for sharing your experience and skill with us.”

“Excellent presentation, very realistic”

“Excellent presenter. Engaged the audience and kept everyone interested.” 

“Excellent speaker and very knowledgeable” 

“Excellent, intense but lighthearted” 

“Excellent, interactive”

“Extremely useful.”

“Fantastic – “everything you should know about depos but were afraid to ask”

“Fantastic value!”

“Great [instructor], amazing commitment/dedication” 

“Great job-outstanding instructor, good use of class participation.”

“Great work. I appreciated Jim’s earnest and honest effort. I truly felt that Jim was interested in my success.” 

“Greatly appreciate this teacher. Very responsive to questions and flexible with schedule and yet moved through the agenda on time. Masterful. Greatly appreciate sense of humor. Hilarious!”

“Had I left after [only] 30 minutes what I took away would have justified the tuition.” 

“I am grateful to Jim to help make me the best I can be.”

“I believe the interactive nature of the seminar was excellent! I really enjoyed it and I am sure it really helped all the attendees.”

“I feel well prepared to be deposed and how to prepare without good support from the client “ 

“I have never in my life paid to go to a seminar and absolutely believe I got my money's worth and more through the training.” 

“I learned too much to list. I learned enough by 9:30 the first day that would have prevented my disaster at my first depo several months ago.” 

“I really enjoyed the training program on Depositions this past weekend in San Diego. [It] was excellent and well worth the time and money. I found the combination of role playing, video presentations, and a well written workbook to be the perfect combination for learning to excel as an expert witness." 

“I thoroughly enjoyed the two days I spent attending "How to Excel at Your Expert Witness Deposition." I consider myself to be extremely lucky that my schedule broke free at the last minute and I was able to attend. Your training class was fantastic.” 

“I want to thank you for the great course on "How to Excel at Your Expert Witness Deposition" on 11/12-13 in Naples.  I appreciated how hard you worked to keep the course interesting and fast moving, and with lots of useful, practical tips on how to excel at depositions.  Excellent course.  I just finished reading thru the booklet you handed out, and find it to be a terrific resource.  I boiled it down to about 10 pages of key points that I will review before every depo I give in the future. Keep up the excellent work and look forward to participating in a SEAK course in the future.  I've taken 3 so far, and all have been excellent.” 

“I was impressed with your command of many different subject areas which allowed you to probe that subject in depth, whether medical, construction, police, etc. And even religion; you used the right vernacular when probing my potential religious bias. Not only am I more confident in my abilities for expert witness work but I learned some new potential problem areas and how to deal with them. Thanks again to you and your crew.” 

“Informative, timely” 

“Instruction not available from other sources.” 

“It was a pleasure for me to be part of such an outstanding course. It was a great learning experience.”

“It was highly informative, I learned a lot, phenomenal.”

“It was terrific – as usual!”

“Jim is awesome. He’s funny and quick at the draw!”

“Jim was terrific, the material was great.”

“Jim, Best conference I have attended. Really respect your style, the substance of the program and how you demonstrated dep questions/answers through interactions and not just lecture. Thank you very much for an A+ rated experience.”

“Jim, I really learned a great deal. You helped me with nuances that I could never have imagined. Your style of teaching puts the right edge on each of us to expose us to the rituals. I liked your expressions ‘christian and lions...telephone is best adult supervision...’ I look forward to taking expert testimony courses from SEAK in the future.”