How to Start, Build, and Run a Successful Expert Witness Practice, January 9-10, 2025, Naples, Florida

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This is SEAK’s most popular expert witness training program. Learn the step-by-step process for obtaining expert witness assignments and excelling at them. Expert witnessing is interesting work which allows the expert the opportunity to teach and explain their field to judges, jurors, and lawyers. What is learned while analyzing cases as an expert often helps experts perform better at their professions. Experts are commonly compensated for their time at $250–$600 or more per hour. Trials are typically rare (most cases settle or are dismissed before trial) and most of the work consists of research, analysis and report writing — which can be done from home. 

How to Start, Build, and Run a Successful Expert Witness Practice is appropriate for professionals of all disciplines and with all levels of expert witness experience including both highly experienced and novice experts. You will be ready to start accepting expert witness assignments immediately upon completion of this course.

Learning Objectives: At the completion of this course you will learn:
· The role of expert witnesses in civil litigation,
· What attorneys are looking for from their experts,
· How to properly define your area(s) of expertise and practice areas,
· How to draft a curriculum vitae appropriate for expert witness work,
· How to get cases,
· How to avoid ethical problems and maintain your integrity,
· How to set your fee and collect it,
· What to bill for and when,
· How to draft a retention agreement to protect your rights,
· How to form defensible opinions,
· Techniques for maintaining your independence and objectivity,
· How to exceed expectations,
· How to build a tremendous reputation,
· Ethics,
· Expert witness risk management techniques, and
· Much, much more. 

Registration Information/Discounts: Tuition is $1,395 on or before November 15, 2024; $1,495 November 16–December 18, 2024 and $1,595 after December 18, 2024. Your tuition includes continental breakfast and lunch 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% discount is available on one new or renewal standard listing in the SEAK Expert Witness Directory placed by attendees during the seminars. THIS COURSE IS ALSO AVAILABLE TO STREAM ON-DEMAND, please click here to stream this course.

Cancellations: Conference cancellations received in writing on or before December 18, 2024 will receive a full refund. Conference cancellations received after December 18, 2024 will receive a full tuition credit.  

LOCATION/HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS:  A limited block of rooms will be available at special rates at the site hotel, The Naples Grande Beach Resort ( ($295/night). To make your reservations please call 1-844-489-9663 and mention that you are with SEAK, Inc. or click here to book online.  Rooms are limited and this rate expires Wednesday, December 18, 2024 so you are strongly encouraged to make your reservations as soon as possible.  

The AAA 4 Diamond rated Naples Grande Beach Resort features a gorgeous beach on the Gulf of Mexico and is located within walking distance to upscale shopping and multiple restaurants. It is a short drive from the hotel to the shops, galleries and restaurants of Fifth Avenue. Most major domestic carriers and several international airlines provide frequent service into Southwest Florida International Airport, just 40 minutes from the resort. Naples is located approximately 100 miles west of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, 150 miles south of Tampa and is easily reached by automobile.  

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. 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. 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. NOTE: SEAK does not accept commercial support for its programs and does not use faculty members with conflicts of interest.



baker-modified.pngJohn D. Baker, MD is an Invasive/ Interventional Cardiologist in active clinical practice in Orange County, California. He has served as Director of Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories and Invasive Cardiology section for Anaheim Regional Medical Center. Dr. Baker is a highly experienced expert witness who has worked on hundreds of cases and testified over 25 times.  He earned his MD and BS from the University of Southern California and trained in advanced interventional cardiology at the University of Chicago. 


Chip Darius, OHST, CIT, CSHO, is an OSHA / Safety Consultant and Trainer with over 30 years of experience serving clients in general industry, construction, utilities and emergency services. In addition to his consulting and training business, Mr. Darius is an Instructor for the OSHA Training Institute Region 1 Education Center, where he has been teaching courses on OSHA regulations for over 20 years. Mr. Darius is a well experienced Forensic Expert Witness and Litigation Consultant in catastrophic injury, fatality and personal injury matters. He has experience in both plaintiff and defense cases, in state and federal matters. He has significant testimony experience in depositions and at trials. Mr. Darius has conducted training at international, national, regional, state and local conferences and seminars. He earned BS and MA degrees from the University of Connecticut. Mr. Darius has also been a certified Emergency Medical Technician for over 40 years. 

jim-mangraviti-new-photo-modified.pngJames J. Mangraviti, Jr., Esq., has trained thousands of expert witnesses through seminars, conferences, corporate training, training for professional societies, one-on-one training/mentoring, and training for governmental agencies including the FBI, IRS, NYPD, SEC, Secret Service, and Department of Defense. He currently serves as Principal of The Expert Witness Training Company SEAK, Inc. ( Jim is the co-author of thirty books, including: How to Be an Effective Expert Witness at Deposition and Trial; How to Be a Successful Expert Witness: SEAK’s A-Z Guide to Expert Witnessing; and How to Write an Expert Witness Report. Jim received his BA degree in mathematics summa cum laude from Boston College and his JD degree cum laude from Boston College Law School. Jim can be reached at 978-276-1234 or 

Day One (Thursday, January 9, 2025)


8:00–8:30 AM The Role of Expert Witnesses in Civil Litigation
Attendees will learn the proper role of expert witnesses in civil litigation. Included is an explanation of Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and the types of specific assignments experts can expect from retaining counsel including forensic consulting, report writing, and where necessary, testifying at deposition or trial. Questions & Answers

8:30–9:30 AM What Successful Expert Witnesses Have in Common
Faculty and the attendees will analyze what some of the nation’s “go to” experts have in common and how they got to their position of prominence. Recorded interviews of the experts will be reviewed. Lessons for the attendees will be drawn from these examples. Questions & Answers

9:30–10:30 AM Finding and Developing Your Niche in the Expert Witness Marketplace
Faculty will explain the advantages of identifying a niche for yourself. Attendees will be provided with a protocol for researching their niche, determining the proper fit and developing their niche to its fullest potential. Questions & Answers


10:45 AM–12:00 PM Pulling Together a CV Appropriate for Expert Witness Work
Anyone considering starting an expert witness practice needs to maintain a CV. Attendees will learn the importance of an accurate, up-to-date CV, what should and should not be on a CV, and how mistakes in preparing CVs can damage or destroy an expert’s credibility. Sample CVs will be provided. Questions & Answers

12:00–12:45 PM LUNCH

12:45–1:45 PM Bulletproofing Yourself – Your Qualifications, Marketing Activities, Web Site, Image & Reputation
A mock trial demonstration followed by bottom line bullet point advice with numerous examples on how to avoid potentially devastating problems in an expert’s qualifications, marketing activities, web site, image and reputation. Questions & Answers

1:45–2:15 PM Bulletproofing Your Opinions – Passing the Daubert Tests, Your Methodology
An in-depth discussion of the legal requirements of Daubert and FRE 702 as they relate to how an expert forms and expresses his/her opinion(s) and the admissibility of the opinions. Numerous examples will be discussed. The lecture continues with practical advice on how to avoid being caught in a Daubert nightmare and how to use the Daubert criteria as a roadmap to bolster the persuasiveness of any opinion. Questions & Answers

2:15–3:00 PM Bulletproofing Your Opinions – Research, Investigation, Chart Review and Examination
An expert witness’s opinion will only be as strong as the facts, research and investigation upon which it is based. Attendees will learn how to conduct an investigation, perform research and collect data in a manner that bolsters an expert’s opinion. Questions & Answers


3:15–3:45 PM Bulletproofing Your Opinions – Managing the Potentially Damaging Influence of Retaining Counsel
Expert witnesses often severely damage or destroy the persuasiveness of their opinions by allowing retaining counsel to improperly influence (or appear to influence) their investigation, assumptions, and opinions. In this segment attendees will learn how to insulate their opinions from the appearance of being under the improper influence of retaining counsel, for example through the information the expert witness relies upon, the modification of draft and preliminary opinions, and through the communications between the expert witness and retaining counsel. Questions & Answers

3:45–4:00 PM Bulletproofing Your Opinions – Rebuttals and Commenting On Other Experts
Commenting on another expert’s opinions is an area that gets many experts into unnecessary difficulty. In this segment experts will learn the right way and wrong way to comment on another expert’s opinions. Questions & Answers

4:00–5:00 PM Best Practices in Forensic Office Management
Attendees will learn a myriad of techniques that will help them run an efficient and successful litigation support consulting practice. These include optimum new case intake procedures, billing systems, document receipt and retention policies, support staff training and instruction, file maintenance, trial scheduling, procedures for keeping your CV up-to-date, how to account for all time spent on the case, responsibilities and boundaries, security and confidentiality protocols and developing and using forms, templates and checklists. Questions & Answers 

Day Two (Friday, January 10, 2025)


7:00–8:00 AM Best Practices in Dealing with Counsel
A frank discussion of how to best deal with retaining and opposing counsel. Included is an explanation of the importance of maintaining boundaries, how to best communicate with retaining counsel, the importance of not giving away your theories or reviewing any confidential information until you have been retained, how to deal with non-responsive or incompetent lawyers, how to deal with failure to prepare you for deposition or trial, being pushed beyond your true area of expertise, how to handle “rush” requests for reports and opinions and how to avoid problems before they materialize. Questions & Answers

8:00–9:00 AM Best Practices in Report Writing
Faculty will review the most efficient methods for dealing with requests for preliminary, draft, and other written reports. Best practices for responding to input from counsel, formatting, editing, controls over release of the report, signing, and proofreading will be provided. There will also be an in-depth discussion on the use and misuse of computer templates to assist in report writing. A sample expert witness report will be provided. Questions & Answers


9:15–10:00 AM Deposition Best Practices
Attendees will be provided with an in-depth look at scheduling, billing, postponements, cancellations, errata sheets, and retention/destruction of deposition transcripts. Questions & Answers

10:00–10:45 AM Trial Best Practices
Attendees will learn more than twenty techniques to help them prepare for trial. These techniques deal with issues which include dress, logistics, travel, scheduling, payment, and visual aids. Questions & Answers


11:00 AM–12:00 PM Best Practices in Fee Setting, Fee Schedules & Agreements, Billings and Collections
Experts will learn how to correctly value their time and set their fee. They will be taught the importance of not undercharging and how to determine exactly what their time is worth. Also included is a detailed discussion of the amount and frequency of retainers, whether retainers should be non-refundable, cancellation fees, expense reimbursement and proven techniques to improve collections of expert witness and consulting fees. Attendees will be provided with sample expert witness retention contract language that addresses 15 common problems faced by expert witnesses. Questions & Answers

12:00–12:45 PM LUNCH

12:45–1:45 PM Advanced Marketing Techniques for Building an Expert Witness Practice
Faculty and attendees will engage in a frank discussion and analysis of the utility of: search engine optimization, social media, networking, writing articles, speaking, directory listings, fees, advertising, referral services/brokers and 24–7 marketing. Questions & Answers

1:45–2:15 PM Ethics and Risk Management
Experts will learn how to deal with common ethical problems and will learn the potential civil and professional liability of experts. Numerous specific risk management techniques for experts will be explained including avoidance, maintaining the appropriate insurance coverages, due diligence, confidentiality protocols, anti-spoliation procedures, avoiding conflicts and the overriding importance of being 100% honest. Questions & Answers

2:15–2:30 PM Conclusion and Takeaways
Concluding remarks will be preceded by an attendee and faculty generated numbered list of action steps and takeaways from the covered material that attendees will be taking home to their practices to start, build and run a better and more successful expert witness practice. Questions & Answers

What past attendees have to say:

“Very informative and ‘eye-opening.’ I certainly appreciated the hard-line ‘this is a combat sport’ approach, because I would rather hear it up front then be caught off guard later. I thought the instructors did a great job of sharing pitfalls of experience to which we would not otherwise be exposed other than by life experiences and years, and frankly, by getting burned.” 

“Great job! They were awesome! Informative, incredibly knowledgeable and added humor to keep the participants engaged. I especially appreciated the fact that the presenters really got to know each participant to best meet their individual needs.” 

“Jim is superb. He is obviously knowledgeable and also engaging and approachable. A great teacher. Chip is also quite knowledgeable and does incredible work at a high level. It will be difficult to be as thorough as he is. That said he was mesmerizing!”  

“Both Jim and Chip were extremely knowledgeable, experts in their respective fields. And were adept at passing that knowledge on.”

“Jim and Chip are a great duo and fantastic teachers.”

“It was a great program that was rich in content that can be utilized to make changes to my current practice. The SEAK conferences are life changing!” 

“Excellent. Great intro into the field.” 

“Excellent; the faculty was very responsive to questions.” 

“Fantastic! So much great info, not just about medical expert witness, but general business advice.” 

“Very knowledgeable faculty. Practical and to the point.” 

“Very well organized and structured.” 

“The entire course was extremely well done extremely educational, and I would change nothing.” 

“Learning about others' experiences and getting feedback about my own strategies [was useful/interesting]; very positive outlook from faculty.” 

“Excellent presentations. Extremely informative and educational for those entering the field.” 

“Keep it up. The energy was great. Enjoyed the entire course.” 

“Some of the best presentations I’ve seen in my career.” 

“Very responsive to questions. That is a very good trait for presenters.” 

“Wonderful course. See you again soon.”

“WHAT A TEAM! A great mix with Kelly and Chip!”

“Highly effective training … Great use of teaching by examples.” 

“Really well organized and grounded on experience.” 

“This was a great course. I would recommend it to others looking to do this type of work.” 

“Very well put together and professional. Gets right to the point.” 

“I think the concrete items of 1) documents needed, 2) script for interviews via phone, 3) financial management strategies, and general expectations setting around file review vs. depo vs. testifying were incredibly helpful.” 

“It was a great program that was rich in content that can be utilized to make changes to my current practice.   The SEAK conferences are life changing!” 

“Really enjoyed the course and was engaged the entire time. Found all the info to be very useful.” 

“Fantastic. Far exceeded my expectations.”

“A useful combination of stories from the front lines & practical advice.”

“A ‘must attend’ for anyone interested in this line of work.”

“The entire training course was filled with many useful lessons. Understanding the importance of communicating with direct and cross examination was very important. Understanding the limits of staying within the experts field of expertise was very important, I could go on...” 

“The chemistry and respect among presenters added to the high quality of the course and facilitated learning.” 

“Awesome presentation and instruction from industry leading pros!” 

“Exceeded my expectations. It filled in holes that I expected it to fill, but provided so much more than anticipated. The teaching style and content relevance of Kelly, and Chip was as top notch as we could have asked for.” 

“Very impressed with the knowledge of all the instructors. The format of the course was exceptional and easy to follow. All of the attendees were treated fairly weather the attendee was an experienced expert or a novice.” 

“The CV/resume exam segment was very useful. Like many in the audience, I will be working to improve mine!!”

“Pearls of wisdom/experience [were] freely shared by presenters. I especially liked them saying what rate they recommend each type of expert charge (i.e. surgeon vs. engineer).”

“One of the most practical seminars that I’ve attended”

“Instantly executable information.”

“Very enlightening- a big eye opener.” 

“Superb experience.”

“Chip, Thanks for the tremendous amount of relevant and detailed info in this class. You did a terrific job. This class will make a big difference in my success and everyone who attended, I’m sure.”

“The course was wonderful and I am extremely grateful for all your insight and knowledge.”

“Excellent! Well worth the time and money.”

“Great course, very detailed and helpful to jumpstart my EW practice. “

“One of the most applicable trainings I have been to in a long time (I attend multiple a year).”

“I liked that the speakers went individually through the class and told them a fee range that would be acceptable. As the owner of a small business in a very specialized field, I’ve struggled to know what fees are appropriate for me.”

“A++; Thank you for your feedback and time.”

“Absolutely loved the dynamic “no hold barred” disposition of both presenters. Great.”

“I found both presenters to be informative & captivating. A two-day seminar often involves glazed-over looks at some point, but the attendees of this course were attentive & hanging on every word.”

“The SEAK trainers were Stellar. I found the staff trainers to be the most informative.”

“Excellent, only wish I had taken the course when I first heard about it”

“Loved it!”

“Excellent. The faculty have taken so much great information and condensed it into an invaluable starter kit. I’m amazed at the things I’ve learned in just 2 days.”

“It was such a good course and well worth the time and money.”

“The training was excellent-very informative, engaging speakers, great teaching methods.”

“You guys are great, very personable, honest, available and engaging, great job.”

“Excellent, well organized, engaging, and practical.”

“Loaded with powerful information.”

“Phenomenal-did not want the seminars to end.”

“The information provided during this conference was incredible. This was certainly an investment in my practice and not an expense for it.”

“Informative, inspiring and fun. I learned what I need to get started and be successful.”

“Thank you and thanks to the entire SEAK team....I attend a decent amount of seminars with my Civil Engineering degree...yours was top notch!!!!” 

“Can’t tell you how the course fired me up. Been working all day getting my business together.” 

“Thanks to the three of you for such a cohesive and informational course. Your presentation styles generated a want to listen and learn.” 

“The most useful/interesting part of this course was the no-nonsense, straight up communication styles of all three speakers and the depth of knowledge that each speaker brought to the table.” 

“I have taken a lot of training classes over the years, this was the only one where I was completely engaged over two days. In addition to your hand outs, I left with 10 pages of notes. Can’t wait for additional classes!” 

“The best meeting I’ve attended in several years.”

“Awesome course! I will keep in touch and look forward to another course.”