Excerpted from SEAK’s streaming course: How to Make More Money as an Expert Witness.
All right. We’re gonna continue on with our holistic look at how to make more money as an expert witness. And one of the ways that we can do that, where I think you can implement a lot of strategies, is to convert more of the leads that you get into actual assignments. And the things that you can do to control that, your percentage of cases that you convert, and that’s what we’d like to discuss in this next section. So, typically, as an expert witness, you’re gonna get inquiries, “Hey, I’m thinking about hiring you,” either on the phone or via email. And what we would like to discuss now is turning more of those, of cases that you want and you’re qualified for. And not just any case, but cases that you want, you’re qualified for, you have the bandwidth to handle that you wanna take the case making sure you get hired. And again, there’s things that you can do. So, let’s go to our coursebook. I’m smart enough to share my screen here, Kelly. Look at that. And go through some techniques we have here.
So, number one. So, most inquiries these days come via email. That is actually not correct. It really depends upon the expert. Some experts that we deal with say that 90% of their inquiries come on the phone, some say that 90% come via email, some get it half and half. It really varies upon the expert and maybe how the expert is promoting themselves. But let’s just say that a lot of inquiries will come via email. So, what you wanna do on your email is you wanna make sure you check it at least five or six times a day, especially if you have a dedicated email to your expert witness practice. And because the lawyers are looking for somebody who’s gonna respond to them right away. That’s gonna be the next point that we cover too.
Your spam folder. I do not understand spam folders. I think that they’re pretty good, they’re like 99% effective, not to talk about effectiveness. Efficacy or whatnot at a percentage, but every once in a while some critical email ends up in my spam folder. We’ve had experts that call us up and they’re like, “Yeah. We haven’t gotten a referral from you guys in months, did you check your spam folder?” Oh, it spits out all these cases that they missed. So, you definitely wanna be on top of that. Try to check that and to make sure that your case referrals are not going in your spam folder.
And then point number C is when you get an email, a lawyer will often send an email off to you. And what you wanna do is you wanna be very, very careful in how you respond. And what you don’t want to do is you don’t want to… Well, let me take a step back. In many jurisdictions, the emails that you send back and forth to retaining counsel are going to be discoverable. Which means that the opposing side will have access to those emails. And so you wanna be extremely careful of not creating any problems for yourself and your client, the lawyer, by putting dumb stuff in an email. So, when you communicate with a lawyer via email, you want it to be very, very bare-bones. “Yes. I can talk to you at 3:30.” “No. That date doesn’t work for me. Here’s my bill.” Innocuous stuff like that. “Can you please give me directions to the courthouse?” All perfectly fine for email. Talking about the substance of the case is not a good idea on email in jurisdictions where emails are discoverable, which is a lot of jurisdictions like that. So, let’s show an example of this if I am able to do so.
So, this is a real inquiry that was forwarded to us by a doctor. And she was contacted on April 3, and this is a few years ago now. And it starts off that, “We’re looking for a pediatrician.” You can see this here on the Hello. “For a medical malpractice case with the following facts.” And what is this expert asked? The expert is asked, “Please advise with your CV and fee schedule if you’re interested.” And then the lawyer goes through this as a typical inquiry email, kind of what the facts of the case are. “So, please send me your CV and fee schedule.” Does the expert who is potentially interested send her a CV and fee schedule? No, she doesn’t. She writes back with a substantive email which completely and totally torpedoes any chance she has to be hired in the case because she just created a discoverable document. “I would need to know which specific vaccine-preventable illnesses the child had actually had and what other underlying medical problems the child had.”
So what if in case she testifies this email comes out and she doesn’t know that information? She’s going to be a fish in a barrel, we’re just gonna rip her apart. Also, per the CDC guidelines for an at-risk child of four years of age, blah, blah, blah. All these thoughts that are coming in the record, the only thing that I might not agree with is the number of vaccines needed. She’s giving opinions before she’s even read the records in the case. So, this is a way to absolutely “totally shoot yourself in the foot.” She never heard from this lawyer again. So, when the lawyer asked you to please advise with your CV and fee schedule if you’re interested, send your CV and fee schedule, do not send a treatise with all the things that you will need and all the problems a lawyer has with this case that’s not gonna be discoverable, that a lawyer would no way in a million years wanna hire you after that because you’ve got this big handicap. All right. Do not discuss things of substance in discoverable emails to the lawyer.