Practice Development for Medical Expert Witnesses
Beryl Vaughan, Consultant
Nationwide

Email go@forensicexpertpro.com or Call (415) 302-9589

Practice Development Consultant, ForensicExpertPro

2017-Present

Practice development, business and marketing consultant to Forensic Evaluators and Expert Witnesses in medical and psychologist specialties.

Experience Overview

I draw on 17 years of experience working closely with medical specialists including fellowship-trained Forensic Psychiatrists (the only dedicated Board-Certification in medical-legal focused medicine), and Forensic Psychologists.

This combined experience is preceded by 20 years in law as a litigation and case manager (non-lawyer.) Law firm affiliations listed below.

Educator

I am honored to serve as an invited speaker to Forensic Psychiatry Fellows annually at UCSF, UCDavis and Stanford. I was co-moderator of a workshop for the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Annual Conference in 2023, “Navigating the Digital World: Solutions to Develop Your Practice.”

Past Professional History

Medical-Legal Practice and Marketing Manager. Stephen M. Raffle, M.D. & Assoc. (2007- 2017.)

Designed and implemented a marketing and practice- management model for services delivery to attorneys, for this 47- year veteran Forensic Psychiatrist. Practice development techniques spanned online and offline outreach to attorneys. A crucial underpinning to the marketing plan included auditing hundreds of forensic reports and trial preparation, for content that is legally defensible, ethical and thorough, and translating that into website content with stellar results.

Legal Background

Case Manager and Paralegal at Sideman & Bancroft; Arnold & Porter (formerly Howard, Rice); Dudnick, Detwiler, Rivin & Stikker, LLP; Greene, Radovsky, Maloney & Share; Shartsis Friese; Law Offices of Helen Olive Milowe. (Collectively 1987-2007.) Practice focus: Elder Law, Probate, Estates and Trusts, Issues of Testamentary Capacity and Undue Influence, Personal Injury, Tax, and Civil Litigation. San Francisco Bay Area, CA.

Presentations and Publications

“Navigating the Digital World: Solutions to Develop Your Practice,” Co-Moderator, Workshop Leader, American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Annual Conference. 10/2023. Chicago, IL

 “Practice Development,” Invited Speaker, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF,) Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship. Jan. 2020, Jan. 2021, Jan. 2022, May 2023 and April 2024

 “Practice Development and Best-Practices in Medical-Legal / Forensic Psychiatry Practice,” Invited Speaker, University of California Davis (UCD,) Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship. June 2021, June 2022 and May 2023

“Marketing Best-Practices and Business Concepts for Forensic Psychiatrists,” Invited Speaker, Stanford, Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship. June 2023

“Marketing Best-Practices and Business Concepts for Forensic Psychiatrists,” Invited Speaker, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship. April 2021.

“Get Discovered by Lawyers for Medical Expert Witness Work,” Interviewed on podcast Physician’s Guide to Doctoring, hosted by Bradley Block, M.D. December 2022

“Marketing and Networking,” The Expert Resource (an Educational Program of Webinars for Physicians). Webinar presentation December 2020

“How Expert Witness Retention Contracts Work & Why You Need One,” Published on ExpertPages.com. 2019 and 2020

 “Timekeeping Strategies That Will Improve Your Bottom Line.” Published on ExpertPages.com 2019 and 2020

“Hiring a Forensic Physician: What Will It Cost? Published on HGExperts.com, 2022

Digital and Software Expertise

Over 25 years’ experience in the visual tools of the marketing trade: Graphics, Photography and Visual Design software. Photoshop power user. Adobe Illustrator and 3D Software. Adobe Acrobat Suite (a great tool for records management,)  proficiency with video/audio editing software (Adobe Premiere Pro, Camtasia.) Visual communication engages attorneys in a field that is information and text-heavy. It must be developed thoughtfully, with copyrighted and licensed imagery. I develop visuals that reflect meaning in context, drawing the lawyer’s eye to the doctor’s.

Education

BA Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Magna Cum Laude, San Francisco State University (1982)

BA Women’s Studies, Magna Cum Laude, San Francisco State University (1982)

Secondary Education Teaching Credential, San Francisco State University (1987)

Services Summary

  • Creating a digital footprint for my clients so that they can be found by attorneys
  • Guiding doctors in ethical and best-practices in issuing medical-legal opinions
  • Unique doctor-centered plan of action surgically focused for medical specialists and the legal matters where their expertise will be needed
  • Website development (front-end) 
  • Curating content for digital and website platforms that drive SEO
  • In-person techniques for attorney relationships
  • Training in the use of practice tools and methods

Website Best Practices: Expert Witness Considerations

  • Developing content. Curating focused article topics suited to a given doctor and the types of cases suited to their area of medicine or psychology. Working with doctors to copyedit their material and develop a design to showcase their expertise. Email me for a portfolio of sample websites.
  • Auditing an existing website with recommendations to improve attorney engagement, if the site lends itself to that purpose. 
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specifically for a forensic practice. 
  • Data-based assessment and auditing, if historical analysis is available, to form decisions to improve attorney interaction.

Directed Marketing

  • Developing directed outreach on LinkedIn; if appropriate, research to target a specific attorney population for email outreach.
  • Identifying goal-specific presentation topics for legal venues such as Bar Associations, and online education.
  • Maximizing personal outreach for repeat and new business. There is a time and place for a personal message and the personal connection with anyone, including attorneys, has been proven to be highly effective.
  • Teaching doctors about ethical considerations in a marketing strategy that reflects best-practices for defensibility on the stand.
  • Quality control in reports and business practices (e.g., Rule 26, court challenges, discovery.)
  • Retainer and retention best practices, billing methods and attorney communication protocols.
  • Case management tools that support building a reputation with attorneys for transparency and integrity
  • Ethics and Best Practices Considerations in Marketing and Business Consultation, Transparency, Reputation Management, anticipating the Due Diligence research of counsel.
  • Navigating Referral Directories and Third Party Services. Consulting to navigate the ethical and practical use of referral directory listings and services. Companion article 2024 Guide to Directories and Referral Services.
    • Assessment, navigation and management of Social Media platforms and their reputation within a medical-legal best practices environment.
    • Long-Term Professional Planning. Growing a forensic practice and career.

Who Are My Clients?

My clients include physicians in multiple specialties with additional focus in Forensic Psychiatry and Forensic Psychology. 

Medical specialties of sample clients:

Forensic: Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatry, Brain Injury Medicine, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Emergency Medicine

Cardiology

Physiatry and PM&R, Rehabilitation & Injury Recovery

Pain Medicine

Medical Educators, thought leaders, hospital policymakers

Clients and/or their cases have been based in, most recently: Pennsylvania, Idaho, Texas (incl. Austin, Houston and San Antonio), California, Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, Georgia, Kentucky, Oregon, Alaska, New Mexico, Louisiana, Washington State, Idaho, Oklahoma, Montana, Colorado, Ohio, Delaware, Hawaii, Nevada, South Carolina, US Virgin Islands, Florida and more.

Initially, I worked with Board-Certified Forensic Psychiatrists and Forensic Psychologists exclusively, because of the legal focus of their training. Such training has lessons for physicians in any practice.

Results

Clients reported developing a stellar reputation, and growth in billable forensic hours and cases, maintained and increasing year after year. Their practice survives in the face of a fluctuating client base.

 

The first year Ms. Vaughan set a marketing plan, my forensic income quadrupled. My professional reputation has grown. My practice income this year is already greater 8x greater than our first year working together. I expect my practice will continue to thrive as a result of Ms. Vaughan’s expertise. I recommend her highly.

Sanjay Adhia, MD

Forensic Psychiatrist, Adhia and Associates

Who are you?

You are among a minority of doctors interested and qualified to assist a trier of fact about what you know.

You practice medicine in any field.

Psychiatrists: about 4% of all Board-Certified Psychiatrists are also Board-Certified in Forensic Psychiatry. More are Psychiatrists not Board-Certified in Forensic Psychiatry, who evaluate and testify on a regular basis.

Once I know you, I can introduce you to attorneys in a digital environment. The goal is to introduce my clients on those proven platforms where attorneys find experts.

Digital Presence:  Kick-Starts a Practice

Personal Contact Builds What Comes Next
Digital tools are only one feature of building a practice.

IRL Techniques Build Personal Relationships that Drive Repeat Business – Cases

(IRL=In Real Life) 

 

Relationships = Cases

Maximizing and Navigating the Digital World

Internet = Lifeblood

Master your online footprint. It is unique for a forensic Expert Witness and distinct from a solely-clinical practitioner.

90% of Attorneys tell my clients firsthand their call originated from the internet.

Develop and deliver your reputation on the “largest” screen in the world–a computer monitor or phone on your own terms.

I’ll help you navigate this world and maximize its benefits to grow your practice.

Effective Environments

Do you know the most effective and client-rich environments?

I guide my clients in the thoughtful use of internet databases, improving results from data scraping, as well as navigating Expert Witness Directories, free online services, paid online services, a conservative use of Social Media, and non-internet methods to communicate with attorneys. 

Professionally Appropriate Website Design

Attorneys can’t find you if they…can’t find you. A website is one tool to control what attorneys learn about you which you can defend on the stand.

Complementary article: You Need a Website: Here’s Why

New work, the old-fashioned way

Not everything happens online. In fact, the simplest personal gestures can generate cases and reinvigorate dormant relationships. I’ve generated these strategies so attorneys remember your name and a respectful appreciate of your skill. This has downstream benefits when you are referred to other attorneys.

The strongest connection is in the real world and personal.

Practice Methods That Attorneys Appreciate

Developing goodwill is promoted by quality in services delivered professionally. This is how a medical expert witness gets more cases. 

I teach you how this is accomplished in the trenches on a day-to-day basis following best business practices exclusive to med-legal work.

Teaching You How to Teach Attorneys What They Want to Know

Writing and speaking are excellent forms of public education. In person or online, attorneys enjoy learning what you have to say, once I identify the intersection of law with your expertise. I pinpoint

  • In-person outreach you can make to your local legal community.
  • Curating writing topics that resonate with attorneys.
  • Focused and strategic content for a legal reader online, and the places where that content will get attention.

For example, one client is an expert in non-traditional families; I identified a niche for attorneys to understand atypical loss of consortium.  Another is Board-Certified in 3 medical specialties. We showcased his expertise with fascinating case studies where overlapping medical expertise was necessary.

My Commitment to the Field

I am committed to the practice of medical-legal specialization and law, at the highest level of ethical and professional practice.

  • American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Forensic Psychiatry research branch, AIER, Donor. 
  • San Francisco Bar Association, Member as a professional adjunct, non-lawyer.
  • American Bar Association, Member as a professional adjunct, non-lawyer.
Legal 

Over 20 years at respected law firms as a non-attorney professional: Sideman & Bancroft; Arnold & Porter / San Francisco Powerhouse Howard, Rice; Dudnick, Detwiler, Rivin & Stikker, LLP; Greene, Radovsky/Fox Rothschild; Shartsis Friese, and more. Case Manager and Paralegal. Special experience in probate litigation, personal injury, estates, trusts, tax, civil litigation, real estate, contracts, so-called “family wealth” and “generational” planning.

Member, Bar Association of San Francisco, Non-Lawyer member.
Additional skills

Digital visual master: Photography and digital graphic design with Photoshop, video and audio software, Adobe Illustrator. Anti-head-shot Art Director. Multi-media specialist.

Research guru: Data-mining. Training. Educator.  Bona fides can be found in my CV.

Education

BA, Magna Cum Laude, Interdisciplinary Social Sciences.

BA, Magna Cum Laude, in Women’s Studies.

California State Secondary Education Teaching Credential.  San Francisco State University.

I use these skills every single day on behalf of my clients.