Beryl Vaughan / ForensicExpertPro
For 20 years I worked for San Francisco powerhouse law firms Howard, Rice (now 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.
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 meeting the standards of the law applied to Expert opinion.
But there was plenty of room in his practice to grow.
First stop: overhauling an analog strategy for the digital age, with exciting results (see below).
Taking the hint: In over a hundred attorneys the message was repeated: it was nearly impossible to find an Expert Witness in a niche field. This was still true of the doctor’s existing clients whom we also swept into the net with an old fashioned technique: personal outreach (with a trade secret twist).
Calling Dr. Raffle, they reported, was the obvious choice.
Success is the headiest of results. I loved knowing my efforts produced tangible results. Ultimately that drove a decision to apply those lessons in my own private practice as a consultant.
Education and Background Matters
Understanding human behavior is the basis of marketing and running a business.
It is the foundation of my study–in and out of school.
I received two Bachelor of Art Degrees Magna Cum Laude from San Francisco State University in the study of human behavior: Interdisciplinary Social Sciences and Women’s Studies.
Research I conducted for a thesis revealed a liberal arts education contributes to a business venture. Why?
Liberal Arts Meets Science. Liberal Arts focus on how humans communicate and behave in Literature, Anthropology, History, even Poetry. The “interdisciplinary” and “communication” pieces are crucial.
Communication is the crux of marketing.
That lesson in mind, I pursued and was awarded a post-graduate Teaching Credential in Secondary Education in Social Studies and the most powerful form of communication: Language Arts.
Every day I use those skills on behalf of my clients.
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.
Finding those Experts online was the trickiest part.
A deafening silence greeted attorneys when looking for a qualified expert.
I tap 30 years of experience to the crack the code:
Providing attorneys with solutions that undeafen the silence when seeking an Expert.
Behavior follows: calling the right Expert on topic for a case.
My role: placing my clients where they can be found, their experience understood and verifiable, and an unforgettable call to action: picking up the phone.
Every day I find my personal interests overlap with my work: photography and digital art.
Visual communication is as important as written or spoken. Data backs up this claim.
Teaching the Medical Community.
I have been honored to present to UCSF Fellows about the nuts and bolts of building a forensic practice at UCSF which appears to be an annual event for each new Fellowship year.
I am an invited speaker to the UCLA Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship.
It turns out: being a business isn’t in the curriculum of medical school. Ethical and legal considerations for an Expert Witness isn’t even in the curriculum of a Forensic Fellowship.
I am changing that.
I work with Forensic Consultants and Expert Witnesses across the United States. Most 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.
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 billable forensic hours and cases, maintained year after year, even if an existing client base fluctuates.
Almost all clients report at least a three-fold increase in calls from those seeking their services, including attorneys. private employers, Insurers, military JAG and defense counsel, Districts Attorney, etc.
Whether a 300% increase in billable hours or 20%, my clients report my strategies produce income and expand their professional reputation.
On the Radar
The website of a forensic expert is very different from a garden-variety site and it is crucial to get it right. Material on the site must always be defensible on the stand, and meet the highest professional ethical standards. Premier website content and design consistently produce more cases for my clients.
Attorneys have given firsthand feedback about how well a site communicates about the expert, and ease of use. Ask for an example at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forensic Psychiatrists and Psychologists are specialists, often practicing in a niche. They can be hard to find. “Googling” is the #1 way attorneys look for experts.
1st and 2nd page results for their website are reported by our clients. 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, Bing and Yahoo ranking. (Check out the Glossary)
Getting to Know You
I develop bios, experience profiles, and graphics. These are developed specifically to the marketing platforms I recommend –because they are known hunting grounds where attorneys find experts.
New work, the old-fashioned way
Your existing clients can be your best resource. Proven techniques 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.
Internet = Lifeblood
Attorneys tell my clients (and me) firsthand: 90% of new attorney inquiries originated from the internet.
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 certain free online advertising I know works. 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.