Practice Development for Medical Expert Witnesses
Beryl Vaughan, Consultant
Nationwide

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

Marketing Medicolegal Work During a Slowdown

By Beryl Vaughan

Updated 2/27/24

 

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.

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 little effort can breath new life into your practice.

Get 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.

Break Typecasting

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..”

Remind Them Who You Are and Who You Are Now

Let clients know you’ve seasoned since you last spoke.

  • 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.
Personal Communication
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.

Best,

(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.

Cite research if appropriate.

Stay away from personal opinions.

Be thoughtful and get more than one set of eyes to navigate with efficacy.

Freebies

Being “findable” does not have to be expensive. But you need to know where to look.

Google Business 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 new accomplishments, presentations, credentials, years of experience.
      • Update your CV and load it to the directory (don’t forget the watermark.) CV tips
      • Update your bio and supporting information. Two directories ask point blank how many times you’ve been deposed. I bet that number has gone up. Let attorneys know.
      • Does your bio reflect shifts or expansion in areas of the law? Include that!
      • Ask your directory for ideas to promote your listing. The Directory’s own specialists provide this service free in some cases.
      • Adapt content from your website for use on the directory (most have this option.)

There is no charge to update an existing profile or even post your article for you.

Multi-Media Presentations
  • 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?

Post on LinkedIn
Social Media is a misunderstood tool. It’s all TikTok’s fault. Business Posting on a Business Platofrm 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

Website Magic




Build or Revamp Your Website
Write, Write, Write

If your site is new, write articles. If your site already exists, write new articles.

Articles drive calls. You have put yourself in the frame as an expert and educating an attorney demonstrates you can educate a jury.

Example

Address the fact pattern of cases you’ve worked on, or those you want to work on.

SEO – New Materal = Higher Spot on Google Results.

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.

Graphics

Update visuals and photographs.

This includes photos of you.

Visuals include illustrations, photos and icons. They can be more powerful than words.

Stock images are inexpensive and protect you from licensing and attribution issues. Adobe Stock and Shutterstock are a few services with a large library of imagery for about $60/month.

Tip: If you ask, they might drop the price. Balk at the cost, explain you’re a new customer, ask for a lower price for the first year while you “try it out.”

Companion articles

Easy Fix: Website Graphics Update
A Portrait is Worth a Thousand Words: What Do Attorneys See in Yours?

Interactive Features

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.

FAQ
FAQ

What is the meaning of life, the universe and everything?

Answer: 42.

(Question compliments of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

“Hover and click”

Test on the image above.

Link content language on one page on your website to another page on your website, also called an “internal link.” 

Or link to a Journal article, Research or anything you deem related (an external link._

An FAQ can be interactive. Click on the arrows.

Clickable features

Call, Email, Text, Share