Practice Development for Expert Witnesses
Beryl Vaughan, Consultant
Nationwide

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

Great Ideas, Ready to Go!

By Beryl Vaughan

  1. A CV that promotes you and builds an attorney network
  2. Never Understimate an Email Signature Block
  3. Domain name that’s easy to type 
  4. Freebies
  5. Post, Post, Post 
  6. Cheat Sheet at your fingertips to save time and stay on track

Keep this page bookmarked–We only share tips proven in the field and add ideas all the time!

Come back again to see the latest great idea, ready to go.
Your ideas are welcome too! Send them in from the Contact page.

Bookmark this page and Don't Miss New Ideas!
CV outdated

CV that builds your reputation through structure and crafting

A CV for medical-legal work is quite different from a CV in an academic or clinical setting.

Yet, most doctors have one CV for a multitude of purposes.

The most common mistake I find is the chronological CV that starts at the beginning. 

I recommend you re-sort the CV.  Chronology is most recent and works backwards.

Tips:

  • Hung up your shingle yesterday?  Start with your credentials, licensing, Board-Certification, Presentations.
  • Graduated more than 3 decades ago? Start with the highest and most important credentials, faculty appointments and presentations.  

Published widely?

If you’ve published widely, the academic CV may well list every publication. I recently saw a 20 page CV of which 8 pages were publications. I argue it is adequate to highlight publications of relevance to attorneys and only those in recent decades. Add a line “contact for a complete list of publications.”

 

CV outdated

    Letterhead, phone number and professionalism in presentation.

    There are micro-tips as well:

    Your CV is a tool.

    Your CV should be on professional letterhead (never academic letterhead if for forensic work.) Your name, email and phone number on every page. This way you can be reached even if a page falls out of the pile.

    Watermark your CV “Unretained Expert.” Attorneys can use your CV to disclose you without retaining you. The Watermark protects you. 

    Opposing counsel may use the footer on your CV to retain you in the future.

    Remember your CV will end up in the hands of opposing counsel too. They may retain you someday. Make it easy for them to reach you too.

    As an adjunct, you will likely have an “About” page on your website. It is also the logical place to list your credentials but it will be laid out differently from the CV document. 

    Note: the CV for a Rule 26 Disclosure is different than the CV you send an attorney after a first inquiry. 

    Email Signature

    Establish an email signature for your business email.  Make it simple to reach you. Acknowledge your med-legal experience with a legal confidentiality notice. 

    GMAIL TIP: Use Shift-Enter to create a hard break between lines. Just “enter” can convert your signature to double-spaced.

    J. Doe, M.D./Ph.D./PsyD/[or other]
    Board Certified
    [Medical Specialty]
    OR
    Licensed Psychologist

    [your phone]
    [your email]

    www.[your website]

    Confidentiality Notice

    The information transmitted by this email is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed… 

    [LEGAL DISCLAIMER TO VISITORS TO FORENSICEXPERTPRO.COM: A COMPLETE CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE IS BEST REVIEWED BY A LICENSED ATTORNEY TO DETERMINE IF IT IS LEGALLY VALID -BV]

     

    Logo or No Logo?

    Where will you use a logo? Website? Business Cards? Online platforms? 

    1. A logo is a graphic that serves to identify your practice. If you are solo, your practice= you. 

    My recommendation:
    Use no logo if you are solo.

    If you are a group practice, identify the focus and stick with the logo best suited to that practice. Patient care? Forensic Medical-Legal? Choose one.

    Solo? Use your photo. (Exception: a photo is unprofessional on a business card.)

    Why?

    1. Logos are used for “branding”–to build a visual bridge between your client and your practice. Healthcare logos for a forensic practice create confusion.

    2. Attorneys want to know what you look like.

    You don’t have to be gorgeous, but it is human to want to connect with a face- visually.

    A logo can be distracting and frustrating if the attorney seeks a face and finds a graphic that makes no sense. Logos for group practices run this risk as well. 

    A frustration-response is the opposite of positive communication.

    Exception? A group practice. You can’t have a business card with 10 faces on it. A logo, therefore, is a substitute for many services and many people. 

    3. Logos become dated.

    In recent years, Instagram, Slack, YouTube and Starbucks all updated their logos. The images were referential to earlier logos but designers changed the style and in some cases colors. 

    4. One simple line image can rarely address a nuanced multi-service practice. I suggest you pick one for each practice and stick with it. Keep a boundary, e.g., telemedicine treatment vs. uniquely forensic testimony.

    A healthcare logo is confusing if your practice is more than treatment.

     

    A logo is a statement about the practice AT A GLANCE.

    This logo does not communicate medical-legal work or healthcare.

    I find it dated. Do you?

     

    This logo immediately communicates medical-legal work.

    It does not serve healthcare, or the gavel will confuse patients.

     

    What does this mean?

    A few changes with a different message.

    The boxes suggest a group practice.

    The magnifying glass is self-explanatory.

     

    Why 3? What are they doing?

    I do not understand.

     

    Domain Name:
    Too Long? There’s a Workaround

    A DOMAIN NAME THAT’S EASY TO REMEMBER AND EASIER TO TYPE IS HARD TO FIND–BUT THERE ARE SOLUTIONS!

    Imagine:

    “Psychiatrist or Psychologist or Medical Specialist + Forensic + Expert + Witness +++++.com”

    The profession inherently comes with a tough domain name challenge. You are trying to overcome so many characters, demands spelling and typing skills by your user. Finding the right domain is hard, but not hopeless.

    Available domain name options are slim if you stick with the obvious–I’ve been trying to figure out how to get the owner of forensicpsychiatry.com to sell to me for years!

    Most forensic professionals use their entire name, Drjoesjameschmoephd. I recommend against this approach.

    Attorneys who don’t know you yet, can’t know your name. Plus a long name is hard to remember and hard to type.

    Workaround:

    Think outside the box, or consider a second domain name that points to your primary website. Sometimes called a subdomain or addon domain (they are different,) it operates a little like an alias: something simple that goes to something long. The short name is what you tell everyone so they can remember it.

    My client, Dr. Adhia, domain is forensicpsychiatrynow.com, but sgamd.com takes you there and is so much easier to manage.

    Benefits of a Long Name:

    • A long domain name might be informative telling searchers they’ve found a site that’s relevant.
    • The subdomain or addon domain takes care of the clunkiness.

    A fun tool is namemesh.com. You type in your search name and if it isn’t available, Namemesh displays handy alternatives.

    Freebies!

    Take advantage of free resources to market your practice.

    • Google MyBusiness is the secret behind that search result when you’ve typed in someone’s (precise) name. To the right of the search results is a massive box with photo, location, contact info and, most valuable of all, a place to post from time to time.
    • Social Media. Accounts are free, you just have to set them up and begin posting. Choose platforms for professional reputation, then join groups and post to get attention. Link articles on your website and you get  both a link and a chance to use imagery with contact info. More about maximizing posts below.
    • Analytics. Google Analytics is a free account you can set up to track all sorts of info. about who is visiting your website. You’ll have to add a little code to your site and you might consider a tutorial, but that said, data is invaluable to adapting your website as information comes in.
    • Touch base with your clients. This may seem obvious but a call or email to an existing client reestablishes your relationship and puts you back on your client’s radar. It’s free and smart.

    Post! Post! Post!

    If you have social media accounts, posting is the only way to get the attention of your connections who are attorneys (if you’ve done your homework).  Mid-morning is a good time to post, or so the statistics say. A timesaver is to make a post then copy it to any other place you can: your other social media sites, Google MyBusiness (see Freebies), even a blog on your site if you do that.

    File Checklist – Data Driver

    On the inside of your new case file, consider keeping a checklist and reference. I prefer making a label because I use a template and can easily stick it on the folder. 

    Useful information to include

    Client name and address

    Client phone

    Source of referral to you (!! this is the most valuable marketing data you can collect)

    A checklist of stages and deadlines (e.g. obtain records, expert disclosure, discover closure, expectation of a trial date)

    Contact person at the law firm who can tell me what I need–usually a paralegal or admin. assistant.  Get to know these folks on a first name basis and you’ll have a much better chance of getting your answers quickly–like setting a deposition suited to your schedule!

    Back to top