This interactive workshop teaches you how to draft superior reports. Each attendee will be asked to submit in advance of the course a sample report for use in the class demonstrations. Each attendee will be provided with a detailed 200+ page course handbook not available elsewhere. The course manual contains practical and specific bullet-point advice along with numerous examples of both poor and effective report language. You will leave the course with an extensive, customized set of action steps to follow to help you write more powerful, persuasive and defensible reports. The course is taught using six methodologies: lecture, questions and answers, well written report excerpts, report writing exercises, report critique exercises, and mock cross-examination exercises.
Registration/Tuition/Discounts: Tuition for this course is $1,395 on or before April 12, 2024, $1,495 April 13, 2024–May 10, 2024, and $1,595 after May 10, 2024. Your tuition includes a detailed conference manual (both PDF and hard copy). 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. 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.
Cancellations: Conference cancellations received in writing on or before May 10, 2024 will receive a full refund. Conference cancellations received after May 10, 2024 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 (ACCME) 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 can be contacted at 617-791-4282 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
Day 1 — Thursday, May 30, 2024 (Live via Zoom)
9:00–9:30 AM Eastern Introduction
Attendees will introduce themselves to the group. Faculty will explain the reasons why a well drafted report is critically important as a roadmap to direct testimony, talking points on cross, to help you to prepare to testify, and to enhance your brand. Faculty will explain the six major methodologies that will be used to teach the program, namely: lecture, questions and answers, analysis of well written report excerpts, report writing exercises, report critique exercises, and mock cross-examination exercises. Questions & Answers.
9:30–10:15 AM Eastern How to Protect Your Report, Yourself, and Your Opinions from Daubert, Qualifications, and Other Admissibility Challenges
An inferior investigation or straying outside of your true area of expertise can lead to an indefensible written report. A poorly written report can lead to being excluded from testifying. Such an exclusion is often a career ending event. In this section, the faculty will explain how opposing counsel can and will use Rule 702, Rule 703, and the Daubert line of cases to attempt to limit or exclude the expert’s testimony. The legal basis for each of these challenges will be explained in easy to understand terms. Attendees will be provided with 16 methods and techniques to protect themselves from admissibility challenges. Questions & Answers.
10:15–11:15 AM Eastern How to Draft a Powerful, Persuasive, and Understandable Report
Every word in your expert report matters. In this segment the faculty will present twenty-two techniques for drafting a more powerful, persuasive and defensible expert witness report. Each of the techniques learned in this segment will be used in the segments that follow. Questions & Answers.
11:15–11:30 AM Eastern BREAK
11:30 AM–12:30 PM Eastern How to Draft a Powerful, Persuasive, and Understandable Report (Continued)
Attendees will be asked to complete a series of writing exercises in which they will improve the language of sample report segments which they will be presented with. Questions & Answers.
12:30–1:00 PM Eastern Report Templates and How to Format Your Expert Witness Report
Looks matter. A well laid out report will carry more weight than a report exhibiting poor formatting and style. In this section, faculty will discuss the importance of style, layout, and formatting and provide twenty-three easily implementable suggestions for making your expert witness report stand out. Samples from well formatted reports will be provided and studied. Attendees will be asked to critique and suggest formatting improvements to sample report segments. Questions & Answers.
1:00–1:30 PM Eastern LUNCH
1:30–2:30 PM Eastern How to Document Your Assignment
Attendees will learn how to obtain a clear and unambiguous expert witness assignment from counsel (with the necessary documents) and why this will increase the likelihood of meeting and exceeding the expectations of counsel. Attendees will be provided with a checklist of eight questions to ask retaining counsel at the beginning of the engagement. Faculty will explain six best practices that can be used to document the scope of the assignment in your report. Attendees will be provided with sample assignment sections of reports, will be asked to critique assignment report sections, and will be asked to draft a concise assignment section. Questions & Answers.
2:30–3:30 PM Eastern How to Document Your Qualifications
Attendees will learn sixteen best practices for persuasively and accurately describing how and why they are qualified to opine on the case at hand. Sample expert witness report segments regarding qualifications will be reviewed. Attendees will be asked to critique the qualifications sections from several sample reports as well as draft a concise qualifications section to a report. Questions & Answers.
3:30–3:45 PM Eastern BREAK
3:45–5:00 PM Eastern How to Best Describe Your Document Review, Research & Investigation
Many problems in expert reports are not caused by the drafting of the report per se. Instead, these problems are a reflection of suboptimal document review, research & investigation. Put simply, if the work prior to the expert report is flawed, it will make drafting a solid report difficult. In this segment, attendees will learn proven techniques for forming solid opinions which can be easily documented into a persuasive and defensible expert witness report. In addition, attendees will be provided with sixteen techniques for how to best document their review of documents, research and investigation. Sample report segments will be reviewed. Attendees will be asked to critique sample report segments as well as to draft concise documents reviewed and research/investigation sections. Questions & Answers.
5:00–5:45 PM Eastern How to Make Optimum Use of Charts, Graphs, Timelines, and Photographs in Your Expert Witness Report
A picture says a thousand words. In this segment the faculty will explain and demonstrate the advantages of adding charts, graphs, timelines and photographs to an expert witness report and provide eleven best practices suggestions for doing so. Sample reports segments with charts, graphs, timelines and photographs will be provided. Attendees will be asked to critique for possible improvement several report segments containing charts, graphs, timelines and photographs. Questions & Answers.
Day 2 — Friday, May 31, 2024 (Live via Zoom)
9:00–9:45 AM Eastern How to Best Deal with Confounding Data and Studies and Alternate Explanations and Theories
Slam dunk opinions are few and far between. Almost every close case has facts, research or other items that undercuts the expert witness’s opinions. Such information is ignored in a report at the expert witness’s peril. In this segment, attendees will learn five techniques for how to properly document confounding information, alternative explanations and alternative theories in a way that puts this information into context. Sample report segments will be reviewed. Attendees will be asked to critique relevant report sections as well as to draft a concise report segment dealing with confounding data, studies, or alternative explanations and theories. Questions & Answers.
9:45–11:15 AM Eastern Properly Expressing Your Opinion
An expert witness is retained primarily for the purpose of giving an opinion or opinions. Opinions need to be expressed in an expert witness report clearly, confidently, and with supporting rationale. In this segment attendees will learn fourteen techniques for more persuasively stating opinions in their reports. Sample report segments will be reviewed. Attendees will be asked to critique relevant report sections as well as to draft a concise report segment in which they clearly and persuasively express their opinion(s). Questions & Answers.
11:15–11:30 AM Eastern BREAK
11:30 AM–12:15 PM Eastern How to Best Rebut The Opposing Expert’s Opinion(s)
When an expert witness is aware of the opposing expert witness’s opinions, these should be dealt with in the expert’s report. In this segment attendees will learn nine techniques to persuasively document how and why the opposing expert’s opinion is flawed. Sample report segments will be reviewed. Attendees will be asked to critique relevant report sections as well as to draft a concise report segment in which they rebut an opposing expert’s opinion(s). Questions & Answers.
12:15–12:45 PM Eastern How to Properly Use Boilerplate, Standard Language, and Disclaimers
Most experts use standard boilerplate language and disclaimers in their expert witness report. In this segment the faculty will offer seven guidelines on the use and misuse of boilerplate language. Sample boilerplate language and sample disclaimers will be provided. Attendees will be asked to critique relevant report sections as well as to draft a concise report segment containing standardized verbiage. Questions & Answers.
12:45–1:15 PM Eastern Discovery, Ethics and The Influence of Retaining Counsel
Faculty will explain the various discovery rules which (depending upon the jurisdiction the case is in) may govern your communications with counsel and draft reports. Suggestions for how and when to communicate with retaining counsel will be provided. Also included will be eight suggestions for how to protect your credibility and deal with potential overreaching by retaining counsel. Questions & Answers.
1:15–1:45 PM Eastern LUNCH
1:45–2:15 PM Eastern How to Excel When Drafting Rule 26 Reports for Federal Court
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 governs what must be included in expert witness reports in federal cases. Following Rule 26 is mandatory. In this segment attendees will learn how to make sure their report complies with FRCP 26. Specific techniques to excel when drafting Rule 26 reports will be provided as well as sample Rule 26 report segments. Questions & Answers.
2:15–2:45 PM Eastern Quality Control & Editing Techniques for Expert Witness Reports
At best, mistakes in an expert witness report can be embarrassing. At worst, mistakes can completely destroy an expert witness’s credibility. In this segment attendees will learn the ten point protocol for quality controlling their reports. Included will be a detailed quality control checklist which can be used by the expert or one of the expert’s support staff. Questions & Answers.
2:45–3:00 PM Eastern BREAK
3:00–4:00 PM Eastern How to Defend Your Expert Witness Report at Deposition, Hearing & Trial
An expert witness is likely to be attacked through his report while testifying. In this segment attendees will participate in mock testimony demonstrations based upon their pre-submitted reports. Each demonstration will focus on: 1. How could the expert have better handled the attack/tactic that was being used by counsel? 2. How could the expert have avoided or lessened the attack had the expert drafted their report differently? Attendees will be provided with a fifteen point outline of how, specifically, attorneys will attack an expert through their report. Questions & Answers.
4:00–4:15 PM Eastern The Biggest Report Writing Mistakes Expert Witnesses Make: And How to Avoid Them
To reinforce the concepts learned in this workshop, attendees will be provided with a list of the 32 biggest mistakes that expert witnesses commonly make on their reports. The list is designed to be used as a take home quality control checklist. Questions & Answers.
What past attendees have to say:
“Time and money well spent.”
“Very practical and directly applicable to EW practice.”
“Nadine/Kelly: Thank you both for doing an outstanding lecture/training seminar. I learned a great deal and got several tid bits of information.”
“Kelly and Nadine, thank you very much for teaching the course. I learned an amazing amount.”
“You both present well and have a deep knowledge of your subject matter.”
“Nadine always does a great job, she is very effective at interacting with the audience, even on Zoom.”
“Ms. Donovan is a fantastic lecturer and made the days fly by.”
“I really enjoy Nadine reviewing reports and cross-examining us.”
"Nadine, You are a great teacher and presenter. You kept my attention, provided helpful feedback and gave each of us the opportunity to grow.”
“Nadine, you were amazing! Your vast knowledge is evident, but you teach in a very nonthreatening way. Thank you!!”
"I am getting great feedback on the new "Nadine-style" reports; I want to thank you for the report writing course, which led to major and positive changes in how I do things."
“[Excellent] use of examples and demonstrations along with questions and answers to reinforce lessons taught.”
“A great class, I learned a ton, very practical and useful.”
“Engaging, fast-paced, great teaching – focus on live examples with highlighting and interrogations very effective teaching technique.”
“Excellent and very informative.”
“Excellent as usual.”
“Excellent examples, great feedback on reports, good job answering questions, spectacular job of keeping students involved.”
“Excellent in all respects. It was well targeted, relevant and engaging.”
“Excellent instructor. High energy.”
“Excellent presentation, kept audience engaged and active.”
“Excellent seminar, reinforces what I am doing well and highlighted areas for growth and change.”
“Excellent! Held attention throughout.”
“Excellent. Very useful information.”
“Extremely effective and engaging presentation style. Humorous. Ability to adjust based on participant expertise.”
“Extremely well organized. The faculty has at heart the quality training of expert witnesses.”
“Extremely well presented, very helpful for report writing.”
“Eye opening to the pitfalls of report writing.”
“Fantastic and thorough.”
“Filled with very useful information.”
“Good use of time and money.”
“Great content, effective, knowledgeable speaker.”
“Great interaction with the class.”
“Great job by Nadine. She makes a dry topic come alive.”
“Great seminar. Extremely informative. Fantastic lecturer.”
“Great work! The workshop was good and now I will be able to improve my witness report writing. The examples with real witness report is an excellent tool to demonstrate and teaching the principals.”
“Great, very informative.”
“Having never written an EW report, I have enough information to now do so. Exceptionally impressive.”
“I appreciate how much time she spent reviewing audience reports. She was well prepared, passionate, and provided necessary feedback.”
“I enjoyed the course and your enthusiastic teaching style. You were able to provide critique and humor without ever being sarcastic or condescending.”
“I have to let you know that as the two day course evolved the more I thought about the report we do, the more I was cringing at how rubbish it was! As soon as I have caught up on all my work having been out of the office for almost two weeks I am going to be preparing a new draft report based on everything you spoke about (we also bought the book!).”
“I just wanted to thank you for the excellent San Diego seminar. It clearly will increase the quality of my reports.”
“I very much enjoyed my time in your course and learnt so much! Both my husband and I came away invigorated by the knowledge we gained and are determined to put it all into practice.”
“I was especially impressed that you so carefully prepared, reviewed reports, and organized a schedule that kept the days interesting.”
“It was an absolute pleasure having you as the instructor for the report writing sessions. I was especially impressed that you so carefully prepared, reviewed reports, and organized a schedule that kept the days interesting. Thank you so much for this superb introduction to EW report writing.”
“It was an amazing course, and you did a fantastic job.”
“It was excellent. I was blown away by how much I learned by lunch on day 1.”
“It was fantastic and exactly what was needed.”
“It was fantastic.”
“It’s really good because it helps you to develop the skills in report writing.”
“Just wanted to say that was an excellent seminar that was and it was a pleasure listening to your oration.”
“Loved it, very useful.”
“Ms. Donovan is a fantastic lecturer and made the two days fly by.”
“Nadine always does a g reat job, she is very effective at interacting with the audience, even on Zoom.”
“Nadine is an excellent presenter. Thorough, engaging, knowledgeable, articulate and polite. An excellent ambassador for SEAK.”
“Nadine is engaging, professional and provided appropriate examples. She demonstrates mastery of knowledge and is great at teaching it.”
“Nadine is the best.”
“Nadine provided clear, relevant examples. She was engaging and effectively managed questions across disciplines present in the room. The examples and questioning were fantastic at affirming crucial points.”
“Nadine should be gratified to know how valuable the content is for learning and a very polished and enthusiastic teaching style.”
“Nadine you were amazing! Easy to follow & kept me engaged. You’re easy to approach and charismatic!”
“Nadine: It was an excellent class and very helpful.”
“On point and presenter has the knowledge and ability to teach it. Report writing course is difficult, even when the subject matter is interactive, she makes it pretty good.”
“Outstanding – Nadine is an outstanding lawyer and teacher- maybe the best teacher at any conference I have attended.”
“Practical & immediately implementable concepts & lessons.”
“Practical, real life, examples.”
“Rich in content, superior instructor. Nadine was excellent!”
“SEAK offers the best CE programs I have ever attended- this was no exception.”
“Thank you again for an outstanding experience!”
“Thank you for what you do, and particularly the workbook and your sincere efforts to help all of us who are expert witnesses."
“Thanks also for working with me in San Diego during class on some of the documents I submitted. I'm using your advice now in my report preparation.”
“Thanks Nadine it was a blast I love SEAK conferences because I learn a lot in a very short period of time.”
“Thanks Nadine. Your course was phenomenal.”
“The class was first rate and just plain enjoyable. I appreciated that you did not pull punches when putting a "questionable" report on the screen. You have a talent for critiquing "harshly" in a fun way for all -even the person in the hot seat (kind of).”
“The content of the seminar made me reflect on my process of interpreting data and reporting it.”
“The course was fun and engaging, if for no other reason than learning what not to do, haha. I didn’t even mind being torn a new one - that’s what I signed up for!”
“The course was very thorough and extremely helpful.”
“The discussion on the red-flag words was particularly useful.”
“The real life work product examples, both positive and negative, were very good learning experience & tools.”
“The seminar was put together very well. Content was relevant & presented well.”
“This conference, your teaching, was the best conference I have attended in my entire professional career. I did hear from a number of participants that they come back multiple times to your course and I can see why. There is just so much valuable content.”
“This is my second conference with Nadine. Amazing, outstanding.”
“This was the best SEAK conference I ever attended and I have been to a few now.”
“Two very enjoyable days.”
“Useful, practical, well-done seminar.”
“Very aligned to what I needed.”
“Very fortunate to be here.”
“Very good...highlighted traps”
“Very helpful and informative”
“Very informative and interactive”
“Very informative, made the hours seem like minutes”
“Very interactive and kept me engaged. It’s a long couple of days so this isn’t easy to accomplish.”
“Very professional, lots of information, great tips.”
“Very useful! The interactive portion with critiques of attendee’s reports was informative and interesting and more engaging than a strictly didactic seminar.”
“Well done, great job!”
“Well organized, informative.”