If attorneys can find you, they can call you.
Most of the time, attorneys or their staff are seeking someone like you online. If you don’t have an online footprint, you might as well be invisible.
Arenas and platforms that are powerful for forensic Experts to develop or expand their practice. This is true for all medical-legal specialties. In no particular priority:
- Presentations and networking with a local Bar Association and at Attorney Meetings;
- Website content – what you write about what you know;
- Dissemination and adaptation of that content for publication online;
- Expert Directories and Referral Services. (More detail: 2022 Guide to Expert Witness Directories and Referral Services.)
Quickie Explanation: Expert directories and referral services are used by attorneys with a search feature on the site. The sites either (1) charge experts to be listed, or (2) the attorney pays for access to the directory’s listings, OR (3) the referral service screens the attorney’s case then connects them with an expert who has listed with the service. Be wary of the IME Factory–it is a look-alike that contracts out medical-legal reports en masse at a discount.*
Reputable Directories and Referral Services should not be confused with IME Factories.
Websites are one tool. Websites aren’t a marketing plan.
But if you do nothing else, have a strong website.
I feel so strongly about this I’ve written a number of articles. This hits all the key points You need a website and here’s why. (Hint: …”a website is the most sophisticated business card in the world.”)
Wherever you post a website address, you’ve provided a destination to learn more about your practice. (Hint: Most online directories include a link to your website–but it only works if you have one.)
On a website you have 100% control over what is learned about you, and position that information for the work you seek.
Coming up first isn’t the point.
As a standalone matter of coming up early on Google searches (“SEO”), research shows most websites with a new domain name do not begin to pop up on Google in early pages for at least 2 years and only if content is relevant, concise, frequently updated and offers content that is on-topic and reliable. Google gives preference to “staying power” and established sites. For that reason, your first concern should not be traffic from the general searching public. The strength of the website is that you can link to it and that gives attorneys a risk-free chance find out about you before investing time in a phone call. Learn more: Is Google God?
Social media is a resource to make you more visible and it’s relatively free and easy. Tread thoughtfully!
Facebook isn’t generally a referral source. It has different benefits, like networking with colleagues who may refer you cases.
LinkedIn is the best choice because the focus is on business and professional topics, and allows you to post to a legal reader.
Ignore Twitter and Instagram; they are a waste of time–attorneys don’t look there for an Expert in their field (Ok, a post from Neil deGrasse Tyson might count, but he’s not in the budget for most lawsuits).
Real world visibility: the Bar Association. Did you know you can attend many Bar Association events even if you’re not an attorney? Video (COVID) or in-person (post-vaccine?), it will always be true that attorneys who meet you are more likely to call you with cases or refer you. Even if the call or case goes nowhere, you’re on that attorney’s radar.
Giving a presentation is even more effective.
- As a presenter, you own the primary real estate for the topic.
- As a local, assuming the Bar Association meeting is for local Bar members, you own the geographic real estate. This means that attorneys seeking an expert locally are more likely to remember your name, vs. those of your other local colleagues.
- You can show off your know-how, which is the whole point of being an Expert Witness.
- Attorneys get a sense of what you would be like on the stand–your demeanor.
* “The IME Factory” (my term) is a third party business that contracts with insurance companies to churn out IMEs and reports. They are not in the business of promoting you. Do not confuse them with a Directory or Referral Service.
Practice Development for Medical Expert Witnesses
Beryl Vaughan, Consultant
Email email@example.com or Call (415) 302-9589