Be a Better Expert Witness
We all set goals, whether formally or subconsciously, especially at the start of a new year, when we feel we can wipe the slate clean and start anew.
We want to be better people, kinder, healthier, wealthier, thinner, and more competent at what we do.
For example, some of my personal goals for the coming year are:
1. In my dealings with people I will remind myself that almost everyone is coping with one or more personal issues that affect their potential for happiness in a major way and that they welcome a gentle word or touch.
2. Cross-train my body by varying the activities I do in my daily workout.
3. Take in less sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
4. Peter Drucker said, "Do first things first, and second things not at all." I'm not going to that extreme, but I'm certainly going to prioritize better and FOCUS - more billable hours, fewer interruptions, improved delegating.
5. Related, but not quite the same - Provide better service. We have a lot of clients, and sometimes, new clients have to wait for their marketing analysis and recommendations. I'm going to provide a faster turn-around.
6. Compartmentalize my time better, so I'm concentrating fully on the task at hand and getting more done of what I need to be doing, then closing the office door and enjoying personal and social activities with a free mind (one of the most difficult accomplishments of us self-employed folks).
7. Schedule a set time each day for sharpening the saw - Reading marketing, legal-related, and personal improvement books, articles, newsletters, etc. I'm currently reading Never Check E-Mail in the Morning by Julie Morgenstern. My next two books are Focus, by Al Ries, and The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker's Essential Writings on Management, all gifts from my friend, Jim Robinson. He must have read the quotation from Robert Allen that your income is the average of the five people you hang around the most, and therefore has a vested interest in making me more successful - Ha!
What proactive steps will you take to be a better and more in-demand expert consultant?
Developing your practice and becoming a more effective expert consultant requires that you perform an honest assessment of yourself and your practice. Based on what you determine to be areas that need improvement, steps to take could include: honing your skills at case review, opinion report writing, testifying in deposition and court, and marketing your practice.
If you are relatively new to providing services to attorneys and have not read Succeeding as an Expert Witness by Harold Feder, an attorney; and, The Expert Witness Handbook by Dan Poynter, an expert witness, these books are excellent guides. They both present a comprehensive view and practical, time-tested advice and examples.
If you are more seasoned in this work, you need The Comprehensive Forensic Services Manual. It is not as easy a read as the other two, but is truly comprehensive, a complete reference source for your practice, and a must-have for your library.
The most important book for an expert's skill set is Writing and Defending Your Expert Report. If your credentials qualify you for legal case consulting, then the next and most important line of attack is your opinion report, and your permission to testify and credibility in doing so depend upon your ability to produce an effective and defensible report.
Last, I wrote The Expert Witness Marketing Book as an outline for experts to use to professionally, safely, and successfully market their services. Whether they do their own marketing, have a marketing director, or use us as their marketing department, experts say they dog-ear the pages because they re-read it and refer back to it so often.
I'm a reader and visual learner by nature so have only described book resources for experts but you can find CDs and DVDs, as well as additional books and guides at our webstore.
Expert Communications exists for one reason - to help consulting and testifying experts expand their practices and get more clients through safe, professional marketing and ever-improving skills and services. Please contact us if we can assist you in any way in achieving your business development goals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rosalie Hamilton
The leading authority on expert witness marketing and founder of Expert Communications, Rosalie Hamilton provides customized marketing plans and consulting and coaching to individual experts and firms.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.