How to Excel at Your Expert Witness Deposition is SEAK’s most intensive deposition training seminar. It is designed to help expert witnesses to 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 participants will have the opportunity to practice their deposition skills through in class exercises and to receive feedback from the faculty. SEAK will not offer this course again in 2023.
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 $1395 on or before July 14, 2023; $1495 July 15, 2023–August 31, 2023; and $1595 after August 31, 2023. Your tuition includes a detailed conference manual (both PDF and hardcopy). 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% discount is available on one new or renewal standard listing in the SEAK Expert Witness Directory placed by attendees during the seminar.
The SEAK Zoom Experience: This will be our seventh series of Zoom classes. We are very pleased that our Zoom training has been as well received as SEAK’s superbly-regarded in-person training.
• Each attendee will be provided with both an electronic and hard copy of the course manual.
• We will be conducting numerous hands-on demonstrations so attendees can practice the skills taught.
• Our faculty will be fielding (and asking) many questions.
• These classes will not be recorded or available for later streaming.
Recording by attendees is strictly prohibited (we want everyone to speak their mind and take part in demonstrations and discussions).
• Each attendee gets a front-row seat.
Cancellations: Conference cancellations received in writing on or before August 31, 2023 will receive a full tuition refund. Conference cancellations received after August 31, 2023 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 Karen@seak.com). 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.
Nadine Nasser Donovan, Esq., is a former trial lawyer with extensive litigation experience. She is SEAK’s lead trainer and consultant, and has been on the SEAK Faculty since 2002, having trained hundreds of experts via SEAK’s scheduled courses, customized on site expert witness training programs, and one-on-one consulting. Nadine is the co-author of the SEAK texts, How to Be an Effective Expert Witness at Deposition and Trial: The SEAK Guide to Testifying as an Expert Witness; How to Write an Expert Witness Report and How to Be a Successful Expert Witness: SEAK’s A-Z Guide to Expert Witnessing. She is licensed to practice law in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. In addition, Nadine is a Legal Writing Instructor at Boston University School of Law. Nadine also serves as a Dispute Resolution Arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Nadine previously practiced litigation for 21 years. She spent 18 years in the defense of medical professionals in medical malpractice actions and before medical licensing boards. Nadine started off her legal career in New York City, first as a prosecutor in Queens, and then as counsel for the City of New York. 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 may be contacted at 617-791-4282 or email@example.com.
Kelly J. Wilbur, Esq., is an expert witness trainer and consultant for SEAK, Inc. She has assisted and taught numerous expert witnesses through SEAK seminars and one-on-one training. She was an insurance defense and commercial litigator for five years where she regularly worked with and against expert witnesses in wrongful death, personal injury, premises liability, construction defect and patent cases. Kelly received her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts School of Law and graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a B.A. in Political Science. She may be contacted at 781-491-6802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Day One: Tuesday, September 19, 2023
PART I: LAW, STRATEGY & SKILLS
8:00 – 8:45 Eastern 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 Eastern 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 Eastern 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 Eastern BREAK
10:30 – 11:15 Eastern Lock Down Questions
How to recognize and truthfully respond to lock down questions. This section includes interactive exercises to assess, practice and improve performance. Questions & Answers
11:15 – 12:00 Eastern 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 – 12:30 Eastern LUNCH BREAK
12:30 – 1:15 Eastern Deposition Strategies for Expert Witnesses (Continued)
PART II: CORE AREAS OF INQUIRY
1:15 – 2:15 Eastern 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
2:15 – 3:00 Eastern 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
3:00 – 3:15 Eastern BREAK
3:15 – 4:45 Eastern 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: Wednesday, September 20, 2023
8:00 – 8:45 AM Eastern 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
8:45 – 9:15 AM Eastern 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
9:15 – 10:00 AM Eastern 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
10:00 – 10:15 AM Eastern BREAK
10:15 – 10:45 AM Eastern 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
PART III: SPECIAL SITUATIONS
10:45 – 11:15 AM Eastern 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
11:15 – 11:45 AM Eastern 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
11:45 AM – 12:15 PM Eastern LUNCH BREAK
12:15 – 12:45 PM Eastern 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
12:45 – 1:15 PM Eastern 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
PART IV: TACTICS AND DEFENSES
1:15 – 2:00 PM Eastern 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
2:00 – 2:15 PM Eastern BREAK
2:15 – 2:45 PM Eastern 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
PART V: PREPARATION
2:45 – 3:15 PM Eastern 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 attendees have to say:
“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.”
“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.”
“The tactics used by deposing counsel are very helpful. The sample questions and suggestions for preparation are well worth the time and cost of the seminar.”
“It was highly informative, I learned a lot, phenomenal.”
“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 ‘comma’ he threw in and I nailed it. All thanks to you and SEAK! I will certainly be recommending courses to everyone I know.”
“Nadine, what an excellent presentation the two of you prepared!! Once again, I have emerged from a SEAK seminar armed with new policies or procedures to make me better as an expert witness and more confident in running my practice.”
“Exceptional — Nadine was very captivating.”
“I really enjoyed the course and all the little details to look out for. I enjoyed the practice and examples during the class.”
"Very lively, challenging and pragmatic.”
“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”
“Fantastic – “everything you should know about depos but were afraid to ask”
“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 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 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 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.”
“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!”
“Loved every aspect of this seminar. Wish I would have known ‘then’ what I have learned with this seminar.”
“One of the best presenters I’ve met since moving to USA”
“One of the best professional seminars I have ever taken. I just wish I had taken it 10 years earlier.”
“Provides great skill and strategies to engage in high level conversations/deposition skills.”
“Thank you for what you do and thank you for helping me be the best that I can be as an expert witness.”
“Thank you so much for your wonderful conference this weekend! I learned so much and look forward to taking another SEAK conference!”
“The course experience was great and I will recommend it to my colleagues, as well as the neurology residents I teach. I came home Sunday night and made revisions on a report in progress incorporating your suggestions.”
“The format was perfect.”
“The interactive process challenging the individuals to “role play” [was] so very helpful. I wish my attorney/counsel would have prepped me in this way.”
“This was my 3rd SEAK seminar, it’s incredible. Every expert needs this course.”
“This was very helpful. Thank you for helping us laugh at ourselves and learn from our mistakes/bad answers.”
“Very effective teaching method”
“Very engaging, funny and comprehensive, thanks!”
“Very helpful, but also quite challenging…a challenging course is the best way to encourage us all to reach for excellence in our deposition skills.”
“Very high value.”
“Very informative and educational”
“Very informative and relevant”
“Very knowledgeable, lots of information, real life simulations”
“Very well organized. Effective examples of each area.”
“Well worth it, and very well done.”