Expert Witness The 5 Biggest Mistakes Expert Witnesses Make On Their Websites
Alex Babitsky, MBA
© 2007 SEAK, Inc.
1) Expert witnesses not regularly updating the CV on their website.
The CV that is listed on an experts website is frequently inconsistent with the hard copies distributed by the expert and filed with the court. The reason for this is simple: the person in charge of the Web page does not update the expert’s CV as frequently or in the same fashion as the expert does. To avoid this problem, the expert should change the hard copy and the Website CV at the same time and in the same fashion. The goal is to avoid having inconsistent CVs; a situation that is a fertile area for cross-examination.
2) Expert witnesses not frequently reviewing the copy on their website.
Expert Witnesses often have someone from their marketing department design their website or hire someone to design it for them, without taking the time to review what they have written. Keep in mind that you are ultimately responsible for what is written and posted on your website. Do not let the marketing person “fluff-up” your credentials, as your website is often the first place opposing counsel will go to dig up dirt on you.
3) Expert witnesses having too much information on their site.
Expert witnesses face unique challenges in having a website. The site must be optimized for search engines and contain enough information so attorneys can find you on the internet. This must be balanced with the fact that any information that you have on your site is discoverable and can be brought up in depositions and at trial. If you include articles that you have written, past cases you’ve been involved with, and other such information, just be aware that retaining counsel as well as opposing counsel will have access to it.
4) Expert witnesses having a website that is not optimized for search engines.
Website optimization involves designing a website (design, content, page structure, technical structure, etc.) so that search engines like Google and Yahoo identify the site as highly relevant and rank it higher in the search results. You should include industry buzz words or phrases within your site that potential clients may use to locate you. You should drill down on what your niche area is and use those terms within the copy of your site. Use specific terms such as “crashworthiness expert witness” or “Geriatric Psychiatry Expert Witness”.
5) Expert witnesses having a website that does not print out properly.
Make sure that if someone (like a potential client) wants to print out the information that is posted on your website, that your site is designed so that the pages print out properly. We come across many websites that are poorly designed and simply won’t print what is shown on the screen. Either the information runs way off the page or it may print off blank pages. Try this with your own site and make sure this is not occurring.
Expert witnesses should take time to review their site and see if you are making any of the above mistakes. A simple, well designed site can often make the difference between obtaining a new case or not.
About the author
Alex Babitsky, MBA is a Partner at SEAK, Inc. As the Product Manager of SEAK’s National Expert Witness Directory, Medical File Review Consultants Directory and the National Directory of Independent Medical Examiners, Mr. Babitsky deals with expert witnesses and the attorneys, paralegals, insurance companies and other organizations who retain them on a daily basis. Mr. Babitsky consults regularly with experts of all fields on the subject of expert witness marketing. His publications include the 2004 National Guide to Expert Witness Fees and Billing Procedures, The A to Z Guide to Expert Witnessing, The 2009 National Guide to Expert Witness Fees and Billing Procedures, and What All Physicians Considering Starting an IME Practice Should Know. Mr. Babitsky received his BS degree from the University of Massachusetts and his MBA from Northeastern University. Alex can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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