Law for Experts: What You Need To Know To Succeed “connects the dots” and shows experts how a practical understanding of law, procedure and legal terminology will make them markedly more effective and successful. This is a lively and intense interactive course. We have carefully condensed a huge body of knowledge into a very manageable program, thus allowing experts to learn what they need to know about the legal system. Experts will learn how to think and speak like the lawyers who retain them. Common “legalese” will be made comprehensible and experts will learn the procedural and substantive laws which impact them and govern legal disputes including: civil procedure, discovery, trial practice, causes of action, affirmative defenses, evidence, contracts, negligence, Daubert/Frye and the legal rules and concepts most relevant to expert witnessing.
Opal Sands Resort, Clearwater Beach, FL, Thursday-Friday, April 21-22, 2022
Click here for the full conference brochure and details (pdf)
Registration Information/Discounts: Tuition for each course is $1,295 on or before February 20, 2022, $1,395 February 21, 2022–March 20, 2022; $1,495 after March 20, 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 from the same organization. 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 all new and renewal standard listings in the SEAK Expert Witness Directory placed by attendees while at the seminar. THIS COURSE IS ALSO AVAILABLE TO STREAM ON-DEMAND, VISIT WWW.SEAK.COM.
Location/Hotel Accommodations: The 2022 SEAK Expert Witness Conference will be held at the Opal Sands Resort, Clearwater Beach, FL. The Opal Sands Resort offers guests ultra-modern Gulf front accommodations on the Gulf of Mexico, right on Clearwater Beach’s lively promenade. SEAK has secured a special group rate of $224/night. Rooms are limited and this rate expires on March 20, 2022. To make your reservations, please click here, or call 1-855-335-1087 and refer to the SEAK Group rate and National Expert Witness Conference.
Conference Cancellations: Conference cancellations received in writing on or before March 20, 2022 will receive a full refund. Conference cancellations received after March 20, 2022 will receive a full tuition credit.
Attendees will learn:
• What retaining lawyers need to prove, how they need to prove it and how experts fit into the process
• How to think and speak like a lawyer and how to understand “legalese”
• How to identify the high value cases which allow you to charge premium fees
• The scope and limits of discovery and your options to fight back against unreasonable discovery requests and abuse
• How lawyers exclude expert testimony and what you can do to prevent being excluded
• What lawyers can and cannot ask you at deposition and trial, and why
• The law of negligence, contracts, and damages, which are the areas of civil law that most commonly use expert testimony
• The ins and outs of how a lawsuit works and the ethical and other rules the attorneys must follow
• The anatomy of a civil trial
• The rules associated with depositions including fees, length, scope, instructions not to answer, etc.
• Issues that give rise to expert witness liability and risk management strategies for experts
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. Arborists: SEAK will apply for Continuing Education hours through The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) on written request at 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)TM. 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.
Nadine Nasser Donovan, Esq., is a former trial lawyer with extensive litigation experience. She is a senior SEAK trainer and consultant, and has been on the SEAK Faculty since 2002, having trained countless 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.
DAY ONE: Thursday, April 21, 2022
7:30–8:00am REGISTRATION & CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST WITH FACULTY
8:00–9:30am Fundamentals of the American Legal System
Attendees will learn how the legal system they are supporting really works. Faculty will discuss the relationship between state and federal constitutional law, statutory and administrative law, state and local law, and common law. Attendees will also learn how appeals work and how administrative law disputes are adjudicated. Experts will also gain a working understanding of preemption, binding authority, persuasive authority, and how to distinguish case law. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Explain how the American legal system works.
9:30–10:15am Thinking Like a Lawyer, Part I—Elements of a Cause of Action
Attendees will learn how to “think like a lawyer” by breaking down a potential cause of action into its component elements. The faculty will explain how important it is for experts to understand how he/she fits into retaining lawyer’s case and which elements of a cause of action the expert is and is not opining on. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Describe how to break a cause of action into its component elements.
10:15–10:30am BREAK AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
10:30–11:15am Thinking Like a Lawyer, Part II—Affirmative Defenses
Attendees will learn how lawyers are taught to defend against causes of action that can otherwise be successfully proven by the plaintiff. Experts will learn how some of the most common and important of these defenses work and how these defenses are relevant to their role as an expert witness in a case, including statutes of limitations, contributory and comparative negligence, assumption of the risk, workers’ compensation exclusivity, charitable immunity, and sovereign immunity. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Describe how attorneys use affirmative defenses to defend against causes of actions.
11:15–12:00pm The Law of Negligence
Experts are often retained for cases alleging negligence. In addition, experts can be subjected to claims for negligence stemming from their work as an expert or other professional and personal activities. In this section, attendees will learn the four elements of negligence, the expert’s role in proving, defending, and mitigating negligence claims, and why attorneys in negligence cases often need the opinions of several expert witnesses. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Explain the elements of negligence and the expert’s role in proving/disposing of this type of claim.
12:00–12:45pm LUNCH PROVIDED WITH FACULTY
12:45–1:35pm Damages, Valuing Cases, and the Economics of a Lawsuit
Proving or defeating a claim of damages is critical to the success of a case, and lawyers often call upon expert witnesses to assist in this regard. In this section, attendees will learn the types of permissible damages allowed under tort and contract law, including compensatory damages, medical and emotional damages, economic damages, expectation damages, consequential damages, future damages (including future lost wages and future lost earnings and sales projections), and punitive damages. Attendees will also learn how a lawyer uses the measure of damages to value cases. We will discuss how attendees can add value to these cases and recognize and seek out the highest value cases such that they can charge a premium amount for their expert services and take the time necessary to do their highest-level work. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Identify the legally available damages in civil actions, and the factors that affect how attorneys measure damages and value cases.
1:35–2:15pm Anatomy of a Lawsuit
Attendees will learn what actually happens behind the scenes in a lawsuit and why it happens. This insight is extremely helpful to the expert witness in understanding counsel’s expectations, as well as the timing, context, and meaning of the expert witness’ participation in the case. Included will be a discussion of complaints, answers, affirmative defenses, discovery motions, summary judgment, motions to dismiss, remedies, and appeals. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Explain the different stages of a lawsuit.
2:15–3:00pm Liability Insurance
Insurance has a huge effect on how many types of litigation are conducted and resolved. Expert witnesses need a working knowledge of how liability insurance works in the context of a lawsuit. Such knowledge will assist the expert in his work as an expert witness, and also in his own personal and professional risk management. Specific topics covered in this section include how to read and understand an insurance policy, the meaning of key clauses in liability insurance contracts, the duty to indemnify, the control of the defense, cooperation clauses, bad faith actions, exclusions, policy limits and the key differences between occurrence and claims made policies. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Analyze how to read and understand a liability insurance policy.
3:00–3:15pm BREAK AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
3:15–4:15pm The Law of Contracts
Expert witnesses are often retained in cases involving contractual rights or issues. In this section experts will learn the law of contract formation, breach, defenses, and important contract clauses that materially affect the rights of parties. Experts will also learn how lawyers use experts to prove the existence of legally recognized contract defenses and damages, which contracts needs to be in writing, and how courts interpret oral, implied, express, and written contracts. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Describe the elements of a contract and defenses to contracts.
4:15–5:00pm The Discovery Process and Avoiding Discovery Abuse
The discovery process typically eats up most of the time and money in a lawsuit. In this section, attendees will learn the legally permissible rules that govern the scope of discovery. Attendees will also learn the various methods attorneys use within this process to maximize their advantage, including interrogatories, requests for production of documents, depositions, subpoenas duces tecum, physical examinations, and requests for admissions. Included will be a discussion of specific discovery scenarios that make experts vulnerable to potential attorney abuse of this process and how experts can “fight back”. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Explain how the discovery process works and how attorneys use the process to investigate and prove their case.
DAY TWO: Friday, April 22, 2022
6:30–7:00am CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST WITH FACULTY
7:00–7:45am Legal Requirements for Expert Witness Report Writing
Attendees will learn what is legally required for expert witness report writing, including expressing expert opinions clearly, confidently, and with supporting rationale. The discussion will also include preparing Rule 26 reports for federal court, and the specific legal rules that govern what must be included in those expert witness reports. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Explain the rules governing expert witness report writing.
7:45–8:30am The Law of Depositions: In Depth
In this section, attendees will learn the ins and outs of the law of depositions, including the types of question they can be expected to face, the role of retaining counsel, what attorney stipulations and objections mean, who is likely to attend their deposition, the rules governing reading and signing, when expert depositions can and cannot occur, the permissible length of depositions, the rules regarding payment of the expert’s fee, how to deal with abusive questioning, and the special considerations that exist during video depositions. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Identify the legal requirements of a properly written expert report.
8:30–8:45am BREAK AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
8:45–10:00am Daubert and the 700 Series of Rules Dealing With Expert Witnesses
Attendees will learn the laws that govern how and why a person is qualified to testify as an expert witness, the strategies attorneys use to prevent expert witnesses from testifying at trial, including the use of Daubert/Frye motions, and additional expert testimony rules that govern both the types of facts and data that experts can rely upon in forming their opinion, as well as the types of opinions that experts should and should not offer. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Describe the legal rules that govern the content and basis for an expert’s opinions.
10:00–10:15am BREAK AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
10:15–11:00am What Happens At a Civil Trial
This section covers the key aspects of a civil trial, including the role of the judge, jury, fact witnesses and expert witnesses, as well as the legal maneuvers attorneys make during the trial which affect the presentation of expert testimony. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Explain the different stages of a civil trial and the role of the different participants in the trial.
11:00–12:00pm What Can and Cannot Be Asked of an Expert Witness At Trial
Attendees will learn the role that the rules of evidence play in the presentation of evidence. Attendees will also learn how evidence rules such as relevance and unfair prejudice can limit what the jury hears even if the expert thinks the evidence is relevant. Attendees will further learn how these rules affect the kinds of questions attorneys can ask expert witnesses during direct and cross-examination. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Identify how the rules of evidence affect the presentation of evidence at trial.
12:00–12:45pm LUNCH PROVIDED WITH FACULTY
12:45–1:15pm The Hearsay Rule And How It Affects Expert Testimony
Attendees will learn the key aspects of the hearsay rule, how attorneys invoke the rule, and why hearsay rules do not apply at deposition but do apply at trial. Attendees will further learn how expert witnesses must keep these rules in mind when forming their opinions, expressing their opinions, determining what facts or statements on which they rely on and can base their opinions, and testifying at deposition and trial. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Explain the legal definition of hearsay and how hearsay is used at deposition and trial.
1:15–1:45pm Jury Trials: What Experts Need To Know
This section will cover the rules governing the jury’s role in the case, and the specific legal rules, best practices and courtroom etiquette that govern an expert’s interaction with the jury. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Describe the legal rules governing the jury’s role in a civil trial.
1:45–2:30pm Expert Witness Liability and Risk Management
Attendees will learn the traps for the unwary which can subject experts to criminal, civil and professional liability. Practical suggestions to avoid liability and manage risk will be provided. Questions & Answers. Learning Objective: Identify the factors which can expose expert witnesses to civil, criminal, and professional liability along with risk management techniques to avoid or minimize this exposure.
What past attendees have to say:
“I have found the specific topic trainings thru SEAK to be golden. SEAK really helps shorten the learning curve.”
“This was a fantastic, top-notch seminar.”
“More helpful than any other training I’ve ever received, I think due in large part that it was so engaging and packed with great examples.”
“Nadine, Thank you. Without a doubt the best training I've had in preparing myself for being an expert on the stand. Your class was my first SEAK training, and I'll be back to more SEAK courses. I appreciate the legal background and experience you bring to teaching your class. I appreciate your support, and I hope to truly be a good objective, truthful, prepared witness. I will certainly be much better because of the training I've had the last few days. I hope you have a great day and thank you again for sharing your experience and skill with us.”
“Exceptional seminar. I attend continuing ed seminars regularly and this seminar was beyond all of those. It seemed that every word was productive.”
“Thank you for such awesome training. I learned so much. A friend recommended the training and I’m so glad I came. See you next time.”
“I thought the Conference was excellent – well-run and a huge amount of useful info – great speakers.”
“The conference you directed was absolutely the best conference I have been to in many years, with a huge amount of practical, take-home information. Please feel free to use me as a reference, or if you need a testimonial, I’m very happy to provide one.”
“Instruction not available from other sources.”
“Awesome! The best, more entertaining, informative and useful seminar I have ever attended.
Essential information for the serious and credible expert. Should be a prerequisite for all experts.”
“The program was extremely valuable for context and perspective on our litigated assignments.”
“Amazing job! That was the best conference I have ever attended! (And being a doctor for 29 years, I have attended and spoken at a LOT of conferences).”
“I really enjoyed listening to Mrs. Donovan. She was engaging and energetic.”
“On the way home I wrote 8 full yellow-pad pages of action items from your class! It’ll probably take me a year to implement them!”
“Well done! I will definitely take more courses from you in the future!”
“Excellent! – lots of info presented in a short time.”
“Great job. Quick moving and interesting.”
“Great! Nadine was a dynamic speaker, the course book is well done.”
“Nadine is awesome! Witty, smart, tough, engaging.”
“Nadine was fantastic – great instructor.”