Beryl Vaughan / ForensicExpertPro
For 20 years I worked for San Francisco powerhouse law firms like Howard, Rice (now the global firm Arnold Porter), and renowned boutique firms Sideman & Bancroft, Greene Radovsky/Fox Rothschild as a Litigation and Probate Case Manager and Paralegal.
High-profile clients in the arts, film, and finance made the work interesting, and stakes high.
When I looked for work closer to home I found a very different and fascinating gear in the workings of law.
Expert Witness Work and Forensic Psychiatry–Behind the Scenes
In 2007, I joined the practice of Stephen M. Raffle, M.D. & Associates – a veteran Forensic Psychiatrist and Expert Witness. I managed and marketed the practice.
He mentored me about ethics, best practices guidelines, workings of the IME, Report, testimony, and the law that governs Expert disclosure and testimony.
But there was plenty of room in his practice to grow.
To put it in perspective: I nixed the “Rolodex” card mailing, then in the pipeline.
We went digital, built a fantastic website and reached out in real life to his existing legal contacts. That was a plan for him, but not the right approach for everyone!
Dozens of attorneys began to report to me that it was nearly impossible to find an Expert Witness in a niche field.
We solved that problem for them.
Calling Dr. Raffle, they reported, was the obvious choice.
How to get that result
“Prescience” is anticipatory action based on study of human behavior.
Sussing what people need results from a smart grasp of what people want. It’s Social Science 101.
Every day I draw on the skills acquired from my decades-old BA Magna Cum Laude in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences.
It informs a
successful assembly of practice development techniques to communicate a complex field and the expert’s mastery.
Cases circle the negotiating table or go to Court, usually in that sequence.
Whatever the outcome, everyone benefits from a more thorough understanding of medically compelling matters: Jury, Judge, Counsel in Court and in settlement talks.
The work is there: Attorneys tell me there are more cases than qualified experts.
A deafening silence meets them when looking for a qualified expert.
Teaching the Medical Community.
Apparently, this isn’t in the curriculum of medical training.
In fact, ethical and legal considerations for an Expert Witness to promote a practice aren’t even in the curriculum of a Forensic Fellowship.
I am changing that.
Who are you? Medical-Legal Forensic Expert Witnesses across the United States.
Many, but not all, of my consultees are Forensic Psychiatrists, but that is changing because doctors in all professions are fascinated by the medical-legal field. Forensic Psychologists are also in high demand. My clients also include, or have included, for example, physicians in Emergency Medicine, Cardiology, Rehabilitation & injury recovery, and others.
You must own with pride how you are perceived. That’s why I collaborate, rather than take over.
The Highest Standards of Professional Conduct
I am a supporter of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law and donor to the AIER. I am committed to the practice of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology at the highest level of ethical and professional practice.
I only accept clients who take these values as seriously as I do.
Growth in Expert’s billable forensic hours and cases, maintained year after year, steady when the expert’s existing attorney-client base fluctuates.
The first year Ms. Vaughan set a marketing plan, my forensic income quadrupled. My income in the first half of this year is already equal to all of the prior year despite the COVID lockdown. I expect my practice will continue to thrive as a result of Ms. Vaughan’s expertise. I recommend her highly.
Internet = Lifeblood
Your online footprint is different as a forensic Expert Witness from a solely-clinical practitioner.
Attorneys tell my clients firsthand: 90% of new attorney inquiries originate 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 combat a common fear of the unknown.
FYI, a website is not the only feature of the internet “message” of the Expert. It’s bigger than that.
Expert Witnesses are specialists, often practice in a niche. Search engines are the #1 method used by attorneys to look for experts. Google, DuckDuckGo and Bing are the largest. Look yourself up on each to know what attorneys find.
1st and 2nd page results for their name are reported by our clients. This can include a website. Further, we know that being on page 4 is just fine if you’re the very first bona fide expert in your field to be listed. Our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies for forensic experts impact Google and other Search Engine rankings. (Check out the Glossary)
An Appropriate Website
Attorneys can’t find you if they…can’t find you. And you absolutely MUST control what they learn about you, or risk a challenge on the stand.
I didn’t get into this business to build websites. Until I found sites with grievous “errors”: out of compliance with the medical-legal world–and laws that govern it.
My clients aren’t going to make those mistakes.
1. Your website is 100% under your control.
2. Your website is often the first point of contact between an attorney and “you” (your CV, your bio, your knowledge-base.)
3. Material on the site is defensible on the stand.
4. Content meets the highest professional ethical standards.
3. Unique expertise is highlighted, never hidden.
4. Informative articles, portraits, and imagery underline what is asserted.
Attorneys have given me and my clients firsthand feedback about how well a site communicates about the expert, and ease of use. References available; don’t take my word for it. Ask me at email@example.com.
Getting to Know You
I develop “experience profiles,” to introduce my clients on marketing platforms that are known hunting grounds where attorneys find experts.
New work, the old-fashioned way
Your existing clients can be your best resource.
Something as simple as a handwritten note, for example, is old-fashioned and carries an intimacy that digital marketing alone never will.
Similarly, a presentation to a Bar Association is more effective than a Contact Us form on a website.
Proven outreach can reinvigorate your dormant relationships with attorneys.
The strongest connection is in the real world and personal.
Practice Methods that Attorneys Appreciate
Repeat business, goodwill, and attorney loyalty is promoted by a case management system, and best business practices in med-legal.
Everything has to hold up to Discovery without forgetting your bottom line.
I work with you to develop business practices, handling callers, timekeeping, even billing protocol to improve your client relationships and work smarter.
The Most Effective Environments
Do you know the most effective and client-rich environments?
I guide my clients in the thoughtful use of Expert Witness Directories, and free online platforms to communicate with attorneys.
My clients tell us about the financial benefits they enjoy supported by online exposure beyond a website (or social media morass.)
Expert Witness promotion is more conservative and specific than ecommerce. It guides all recommendations.
Teaching You 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.
Sideman & Bancroft; Arnold & Porter; Dudnick, Detwiler, Rivin & Stikker, LLP; Greene, Radovsky/Fox Rothschild; Shartsis Friese. Case Manager and Paralegal. Special experience in probate litigation, personal injury, estates, trusts, and tax, civil litigation, real estate, contracts.
Bar Association of San Francisco, Non-Lawyer Membership
Digital Photography and graphic design mastery with Photoshop, video and audio software. Research guru: Data-mining. Training. Educator. Bona fides can be found in my CV.
BA, Magna Cum Laude, in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences.
BA, Magna Cum Laude, in Women’s Studies.
California State Secondary Education Teaching Credential. San Francisco State University.