Practice Development for Medical Expert Witnesses
Beryl Vaughan, Consultant
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or Call (415) 302-9589
Marketing Medicolegal Work During a Slowdown
By Beryl Vaughan
Your sparkly marketing plan is in place.
You get a rush of new case calls.
6 months or a year passes and the rush becomes a trickle and anxiety kicks in. This is when I tend to hear from clients. Silent phones can rattle even the most confident doctor.
In a perfect world, an enthusiastic response would be to beef up your marketing strategy and double down.
However, if the trickle keeps shrinking, you might give up on your goals and resign yourself. Frankly, a slowdown in work can be demoralizing. Becoming demoralized, in my experience, leads to inaction.
A Second Wind With These Tools
In Real Life
Tap Past Attorney-Clients For New Cases
The lowest-hanging fruit in any profession is repeat business. These tools will reboot relationships you have already.
Lawyers seek experts for distinctly different types of cases. Attorneys you worked with in the past may recall your expertise and put you in the box for only those types of cases.
Sample: you testified about medical damages in a PI motor vehicle accident; now the attorney has a malpractice case about standard of care in your medical specialization. You may be qualified for both topics but that may not be what first comes to mind for the attorney. The only way they can know is if you tell them.
Here’s how you change that.
Stay in Touch
You left a good impression after a case, worked closely with an attorney or team, but that was the last time you spoke.
Attorneys tend to file away your name for the future and then forget. A few years pass. A new case comes up. “Who was that expert we used in a case once?” …”Hmmm, I can’t remember. I think there’s a CV floating around here somewhere..”
Let them know you’ve seasoned since then.
- Explain additional experience with testimony/IME/report-writing/disclosure as an Expert Witness.
- You’ve worked on very different types of cases.
- They need to realize you might be the right expert though a new case is different.
Rekindle the relationship in real life or digitally.
Tap a new attorney population
- Presentations (whomever the attendees, looks good on a CV and bios).
- If relevant, you can use this when you reach out in real life or an email. “I testified in a testamentary capacity case earlier this year. In a presentation to medical students, I discussed the nuances of a competency evaluation and my testimony in a probate case last year. Your name came to mind and I wanted to reach out.”)
- Join the local Bar to identify and contact Committee Chairs/Secretary/Events Coordinator in areas of law where you testify.
- Ask the Committee decision-makers if you can give a presentation.
Pick Up the Phone
Call those clients you haven’t heard from lately. Make it personal, and mention your last case together. Leave it open-ended. See sample language below. (Digital outreach side note: you can do this in an email but you lose the “real life” benefits. Still, it’s better than not reaching out at all.) If you are shy about a phone call or fear it might seem pushy, consider something old-fashioned and more powerful.
Pick Up a Pen
A personalized note sent by snail mail. Snail mail is so rare these days, as are personal touches, that a handwritten note stands out. A personal connection will always be more powerful emotionally than a digital message. An emotional connection will always be more powerful than a digital connection one or two steps removed.
“Joe, I was thinking about the Smith case the other day.
This past year I testified in a different kind of Probate/Criminal/Fraud/Civil Litigation case than with Ms. Smith, but there were interesting overlaps.
It would be great to catch up, and as always feel free to call if you’d like to run a case past me.
(your first name)”
If emailed, use signature block with credentials and contact info. If handwritten, consider printed notepaper with your contact information in the footer.
Remember, anything you post online is open game on the stand.
Don’t let this stop you. Keep your statements straightforward. Identify personal opinions as such. Cite research if appropriate.
Be thoughtful and get more than one set of eyes to navigate with efficacy.
Google MyBusiness and other freebies are discussed on this site at Freebies and other Marketing Ideas, Ready to Go
Create or Update Expert Directory Listings
Expert Directories can be an effective marketing tool. Most contain a short profile with a photo and a link to your website and phone number. Learn more about Expert Witness Directories, Free and Paid E.g., Here’s my listing on HGexperts.
Ideas to Refresh a Directory Listing
- Update your profile.
- Add any new accomplishments, presentations, credentials, years of experience.
- Update your CV and load it to the directory.
- Adapt content from your website for use on the directory (most have this option.)
- Ask your contact at the directory for ideas to promote your listing or add writing that is professional and, once again, stays in your lane.
There is no charge to update an existing profile.
Video. Pick a topic and make a video to post on YouTube (and link on your website). Post it on social media, offer it as a webinar or make an audio podcast. Easy methods: Record a Zoom selfie, or create a voice over PowerPoint and save it as a video.
Print and Online Interview. Did you give an interview posted online last year? Promote it on your website, bios, CV. Always include a caption, and byline and if you reprint it- get reprint permission.
Photography: You in Action. Scan and add a photo to your site of you speaking to attorneys at an event. Another good reason to take your camera or phone and a friend to your presentation. FYI, a screenshot on a Zoom presentation works too.
Testimony Video. Maximize video of your testimony, if it exists. An attorney with whom you worked on the trial can tell you if a videographer captured your testimony and if the court will allow you to use it. Get any licensing or legal permissions before posting the footage.
Video is valuable to Attorneys. They want to know you will appear to a jury. Wise and thoughtful? Flippant? Hostile? Trustworthy?
Social Media: Post on LinkedIn
Social Media is a misunderstood tool. Posting is a great way to jumpstart your visibility–and practice development.
Let’s be clear: there’s only one social media platform appropriate for Expert Witnesses -LinkedIn. It’s professional. In the vernacular “B2B” (Business to Business.) Doctors and attorneys belong there.
- A LinkedIn post contributes to your online footprint and, ultimately, leads clients to learn about you, usually on your website. Building a base of connections to attorneys is a good thing. When you post or even comment on someone else’s post, they receive a Notification and a chance to wonder who you are and click on your profile–an introduction of sorts.
- Most Social Media posts bear a date; a dusty date gives the impression your practice isn’t active, or that you haven’t learned anything new lately. Posting regularly establishes a routine “conversation” with your contacts, keeping you at the forefront of their thoughts.
Companion article Social Media Guide for the Medicolegal Expert Witness
Build or Revamp Your Website
Write, Write, Write
Write articles. If your site is new, write articles. If your site already exists, write new articles.
Address the fact pattern of cases you’ve worked on, or those you want to work on.
Big SEO benefits. It is a known fact that new content boosts SEO and SEO means your site and name come up earlier in Google search results.
Double Duty for writing. Writing content doesn’t have to be solely for your website.
Articles can be posted on many reputable platforms online, and should.
Companion Article: Why you need a website
Ask Attorneys What They Want to Know and Write Responsive Content
- What do attorneys keep bringing up? Those calls you turned down and cases you took–all revealed something in those first calls from the attorney. Write about it. Post it.
- Focus on different or expanded areas of expertise. Early, mid and established-career doctors all benefit.
- Pursue more training and write about it. You may be eligible for Certifications in your field that are available online. Write about what it means and why it’s important. Add it to your CV and About page!
- Emphasize your experience in those engaging areas of expertise where you want to be working. E.g. if you have been doing Fitness for Duty evals but would like the occasional Criminal case, then write about competency: to perform a job and similarities/differences from competency to stand trial.
Update graphics and photographs. (This includes photos of you!)
Visuals can be more powerful than words. Stock photos are inexpensive and protect you from licensing and attribution issues. Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, 123rf are a few service with a large library of imagery.
Easy Fix: Website Graphics Update
A Portrait is Worth a Thousand Words: What Do Attorneys See in Yours?
Engage users to your site with elements that invite them to interact with your site, you or other sites with relevant information.
Many interactive elements are available through an amateur website builder like Squarespace. Some can be coded in by a web developer and it doesn’t have to be pricey. Below are examples.
What is the meaning of life, the universe and everything?
(Question compliments of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
“Hover and click”
Test on the image above.
Link one page on your website to another. (Also has SEO benefits as internal links.) Or link to a Journal article, Research or anything you deem related.
An FAQ can be interactive. Click on the arrows.
Clickable features can do anything with the right coding. Simple behaviors like the ones on this page are available in most website building interfaces.