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ENGINEERING EXPERT WITNESS – Do you have what it takes?

https://www.theengineersresource.com/forensic-engineering-online-course/

 

“Learn if you have what it takes to be a success as an engineering expert witness”.                   

By John D. Gaskell P.E. , Retired Consulting and Forensic Engineer

                                        Board Certified Diplomat in Forensic Engineering

Creator of the OnLine Course: “Forensic Engineering

Litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable. If you have what it takes, I recommend adding “Forensic Engineering” to your practice as a consulting engineer.

WHAT IS AN ENGINEERING EXPERT WITNESS?

An Engineering Expert Witnesses provides comprehensive engineering analyses in their field of expertise and serve as consultants to the legal profession and as expert witnesses in courts of law.

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?

You don’t need to be an engineer to be an expert witness, but you do need to be experienced with credentials in your field. To be an “expert witness,” you don’t need to be an engineer, but you do need experience and credentials in your field. To be an “engineering expert, you will usually need an engineering degree and a license as a Professional Engineer. In addition, being a member of NAFE is a big help in being selected and in assuring acceptance as an expert in court.

It is also important to have knowledge and qualifications in the engineering specialty involved in the particular case at hand. For example, if the issue is lighting or illumination, experience in lighting design and membership in the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) would be helpful. It’s best to stick to your general area of expertise. If you are an electrical engineer, for instance, don’t take on a civil engineering case.

In addition, you should possess the following general traits:

Speaking/teaching ability. In court you need to speak clearly, using proper English and making your statements and replies concise and easy to understand. You will be teaching the judge and jury your opinion of the case and it is your job to convince them that you are correct.

Writing skills. Written reports need to be clear and professional. Don’t put anything in writing until your attorney-client requests it, and be sure you can defend every word under cross-examination.

Willingness to prepare. You are being paid to study the case and the technical issues involved. This can often be tedious, but it is the key to success. When preparing for court or deposition, it is crucial that you prepare for all possible questions and memorize much of the information.

Reading skills. In most cases you will receive a box full of documents to review. These may include: (1) affidavits (written declaration of facts sworn to);  (2) complaint (plaintiff’s initial pleadings); (3) depositions (oral testimony taken by the opposing attorney in advance of trial); (4) indictments (written accusation presented by a grand jury); (5) interrogatories (written questions sent to the opposing side and written answers submitted under oath); (6) petitions (written applications to the court requesting judicial action); (7) pleadings (written statements of contentions of the parties in the suit); (8) subpoenas (written orders for witnesses to appear); (8) summons (writ directing an officer to notify a defendant to appear in court); and (9) transcripts (official record of proceedings in a trial, deposition, or hearing).

It is part of your job to read all of these documents and to cull the information pertinent to your involvement in the case. This can mean many hours of reading even though many of these documents have no bearing on your portion of the case.

John D. Gaskell, Retired Professional Engineer

Board Certified Diplomat in Forensic Engineering

My name is Jack Gaskell. I operated Gaskell Associates Consulting Engineers for over 35 years and we became the largest electrical engineering firms in Rhode Island. One of my most interesting and profitable undertakings was to add “Expert Witness/Forensic Engineering” to my practice.

To share my experience, I have prepared an On-Line Course and I would like to invite you to experience a FREE SAMPLE LESSON.

Litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable. If you have what it takes, I recommend adding “Forensic Engineering” to your practice as a consulting engineer.

To experience a free sample lesson, click here Forensic Engineering

Visit: https://www.TheEngineersResource.com for additional tips.

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EXPERT WITNESS TRIAL PREPARATION

https://www.theengineersresource.com/forensic-engineering-online-course/

 

“Learn the step-by-step trial preparation that will make your testimony creditable as an engineering expert witness.”

By John D. Gaskell, Retired Consulting and Forensic Engineer

   Board Certified Diplomat in Forensic Engineering

Creator of the OnLine Course: “Forensic Engineering

Litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable. If trial preparation interests you, I recommend adding “Forensic Engineering” to your practice as a consulting engineer.

Forensic engineering is defined by the National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE) as “the application of the art and science of engineering in matters which are in, or may possibly relate to, the jurisprudence system, inclusive of alternative dispute resolution.” These engineers serve as consultants to the legal profession and as expert witnesses in courts of law.

The good news is that the vast majority of cases settle; the bad news is that you need to prepare every case as if it will go to trial.

TRIAL PREPARATION

Review what to bring to court with your attorney/client. Usually, bring the following:

  • Your CV – (your expert witness resume). Be prepared to present it orally from memory. Summarize your cases by saying something like, “I have been involved with 18 cases as an expert witness. I was deposed in 10 of them, and I testified at trial 4 times.”
  • Your fee schedule, time sheets, bills, and case summary. Make sure that these records are up to date and be prepared to answer the question, “How much time did you spend on this case and what were your total charges to date?”
  • Your report. Again, be prepared to present it orally from memory.

Don’t bring your case file unless directed to do so. If you do bring it, carefully remove any irrelevant, early, or incorrect information.

Trial preparation is similar to that needed for a deposition. The important difference is how clearly and convincingly you present your opinions. Juries tend to believe expert witnesses who appear confident, knowledgeable, and likable.

Another difference is the thoroughness of your trial preparation. Write out questions and detailed answers. These should each be concise. Juries lose their train of thought with run-on questions or answers; break them up into smaller pieces. Group them by topic and in appropriate order. For example: site investigation, interviews, examinations/observations, tests, and opinions. Also, include broad inquiries: “Tell us about all of your opinions and the justification for each. When did you first form that opinion?” (Hopefully it was not before you knew the results of your investigation.) Send them to your attorney/client for review. Also, ask him or her to send you a written list of other possible questions. (But, don’t expect much of a reply).

Practice aloud in front of a mirror until you can recite the answers from memory with conviction and without “umms” and “I thinks.” This will adequately prepare you for your direct examination by your attorney/client.

Next, try to predict questions the opposing attorney might ask during his or her cross-examination. The opposing expert’s report will be an inspiration for possible questions. Try to craft an appropriate response to each, answers that don’t sound defensive. Try to find out the name of the attorney who is expected to cross-examine you so you can address him or her by last name in court. If you forget the name, address the attorney as “counselor.”

In some cases, exhibits are effective. If you think of a prop that illustrates your opinions and makes them easier to understand, review that with your attorney/client well ahead of time.

Litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable. If trial preparation interests you, I recommend adding “Forensic Engineering” to your practice as a consulting engineer.

To share my experience as a forensic engineer – expert witness, I have created an “online course”.

To experience a free sample lesson, click here Forensic Engineering

Visit: https://www.TheEngineersResource.com for additional tips.

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TOP MARKETING IDEAS

https://www.theengineersresource.com/finest-sales-marketing-book/

 

 

 

Learn how to market both yourself and your company – Be exceptional and Succeed.

‘The “Smart Guide” to MARKETING’ by Jack Gaskell is a #1 New Release. It is a handbook to achieving a reputation of brilliance and reveals the easiest way for you to succeed in any profession or business. Learn what is common to all enterprises, such as: building your reputation, finding and keeping clients/customers, promoting new work/projects, distinguishing yourself with achievements and awards, being selected over your competition, and managing your practice/business profitably.Be exceptional and Succeed.

  • Be exceptional: There is no point in striving for a great reputation if you can’t produce exceptional services/products. Be exceptional and Succeed.
  • Get known: Attend meetings of local industry organizations.
  • Start a contact list: including both business and personal information. Include anyone who might use your services/products or recommend you.
  • Become an officer: Volunteer for committees and after you become accepted, let it be known that you want to be an officer.
  • Win awards: After you have been active in an organization, nominate another involved member for an award and they will later return the favor. Or have a mutual friend suggest it.
  • Start saving: You’ll need equity, good credit, and banking relations to start a business.
  • It doesn’t just happen. You make it happen. Be exceptional and Succeed.
  • Business announcement. Make your business announcement outstanding. It should look like a wedding invitation on fine thick paper with raised letters.
  • Letterhead and business cards. Create elegant letterhead and business cards. Parchment with raised letters would be a good choice.
  • Your brochure is the face of the company. It will evolve as your firm grows. Try to make it versatile and something that will make you proud and distinguish you from your competitors.
  • Don’t forget to send out announcements of awards, new services/specialties, and anniversaries.
  • Always consider public speaking as an opportunity. By becoming an officer of one or more of your industry organizations you will progressively gain more and more public speaking training, so when you become the organization’s president you will be an accomplished public speaker.
  • Send notes. Never forget to send thank you notes, and look for opportunities to send notes of congratulations. You don’t even need to know someone to recognize their achievements.
  • Your notebook: to record information, such as office procedures, your contact list, formulas, calculations, definitions, and anything that you might need again. Your lap-top will be your notebook.
  • Spend time: Reading magazines in your industry, plus articles regarding business trends, and current affairs.
  • Success: Includes: happiness, wealth, respect, good health, family and friends, interests, and charity. The starting point of success is happiness and not wealth. But wealth should not be overlooked. Make a prioritized list of your own ideas of the components of success and develop a plan to accomplish your goals.
  • White paper: A white paper is a report or guide to help readers to understand an issue. After you have prepared a white paper, reread it several times, and commit much of the information to memory. They will serve as a useful future reference and possibly the basis of a magazine article authored by you.
  • Collect business cards: Start a contact list, including both business and personal information. Create a form for each person on your contact list. Each time that you contact the person, list the date and details on this sheet.
  • Articles: Try to publish at least one article per year in the most prominent magazine in your industry. Being a published author is the quickest and most effective way to boost your reputation. Write about your projects or clients or timely issues in your industry.
  • Designing, printing, and distributing reprints of your articles is one of the keys to being successful.
  • Public speaking: Almost any kind of speaking engagement enhances your image and credibility.

Excerpted

Excerpted from ‘The “Smart Guide” to MARKETING’ Copyright © 2020 by Jack Gaskell. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to copy and distribute this “Smart Guide” tip, upon condition that this message remains. Visit: https://www.TheEngineersResource.com for additional tips. Be exceptional and Succeed.

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PUBLIC SPEAKING – Part 2

https://www.theengineersresource.com/finest-sales-marketing-book/

 

Almost any kind of public speaking engagement enhances your image and credibility.

Teaching

Most professional organizations offer continuing education courses. this is a public speaking oppertunity and it will enhance your reputation to arrange to be a guest lecturer.

The RI chapter of the Illuminating Engineering Society every couple of years offered either a basic lighting course or an advanced lighting course. Instruction was for three-hour sessions on eight nights. Not surprisingly (since I was the RI chapter’s founding president), I was asked to be the instructor.

Benefit’s

I agreed to teach the first night and help select instructors for each of the other sessions. Eight lectures would have required a great deal of time and preparation. Also, in addition to giving me some publicity, it allowed me to help some of my contacts to get some notoriety. My lecture also gave me an opportunity to scope out some future employees.

Don’t let yourself get roped into a multi-night teaching engagement at a local college. It’s very time consuming with little benefit, poor pay, and (in most cases) no student appreciation.

New Service Lectures

Every time that you start a new service, try to be a guest speaker at any professional organization whose members might use your service or recommend you. We had a local mayor who had the reputation of being available to speak at the opening of an envelope; my criteria were not much higher.

Prepare

Prepare a PowerPoint presentation and hand out your announcement. If the organization does an actual mailing, try to get the program chairmen to enclose your announcement so those who don’t come to the meeting will receive your information. At the meeting, don’t pass out the announcement until after your lecture, because attendees may read it instead of listening to you. Take the opportunity to make new contacts.

My Book

I have recently completed a book on Marketing: “The ‘Smart Guide’ to MARKETING”, that is presently on sale at the Kindle Store on Amazon. Both the paperback & hardback (Case Laminated) versions are available from: https://www.TheEngineersResource.com/shop

To see my YouTube video “START THE JOB RIGHT” – go to:

https://youtu.be/DGlQrUXFWqw

To see my YouTube video “PUBLIC SPEAKING” Part 1 – go to:

https://youtu.be/D86kTAGF4L0

To see my YouTube video “Job Search” – How to go to:

To see my YouTube video “Job Search” – How to go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRBMTooffog

To see my YouTube video of: “Your Disaster Recovery Plan” go to:

https://youtu.be/CVSQCegSUkA

To see my YouTube video of: “Career Choice” go to:

https://youtu.be/Rkh0SHfZ9Ew

To see my YouTube video of :”Your Interview” – How to prepare – Go to: https://youtu.be/9FdLW7uzghg

To see my YouTube video of: BECOME “Widely Known” go to: https://youtu.be/fM9GCAODpIk

Related topics include:

How to Prepare for a Job Interview https://www.experisjobs.us/exp_us/en/career-advice/20-tips-job-interviews.htm

How to easily and quickly get the interviews that you want.

How to prepare for your interview and be ready for the likely questions.

How to start the job right and make the best first impression.

How to become known, build a reputation and make useful contacts.

How to gain credentials that will distinguish you from your competitors.

How to win awards that will make your resume shine.

Excerpted

Excerpted from ‘The “Smart Guide” to MARKETING’ Copyright © 2020 by Jack Gaskell. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to copy and distribute this “Smart Guide” tip, upon condition that this message remains. Visit: https://www.TheEngineersResource.com for additional tips.

 

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EXPERT WITNESS CROSS-EXAMINATION

https://www.theengineersresource.com/forensic-engineering-online-course/

EXPERT WITNESS CROSS-EXAMINATION

Forensic engineers serve as consultants to the legal profession and as expert witnesses in courts of law. In my experience, most opposing attorneys are civilized. However, some of them can be nasty and abrupt in their cross-examination. Consider cross-examination questions like the following, and craft answers that suit your personality and temperament. But listen carefully because a slightly differently worded question may require an entirely different reply. After every question, pause for a beat to give yourself time to form the best answer and to allow your attorney/client time to object. If he or she does object, immediately stop talking until the judge rules. In any case, try not to lose your cool.

CROSS-EXAMINATION

Question: How much are you being paid for your testimony?

Answer: My company charges $XXX per hour for my professional services; my testimony is not for sale.

Question: Isn’t it true that you would not be here today if it weren’t for the obscene amount of money that you are being paid?

Answer: Like you, counselor, I am being paid appropriately for my professional services.

Question: Have you ever lied?

Answer: Of course, but never under oath.

Question: Have you ever been wrong?

Answer: Yes, but never on the witness stand.

Question: Did you read all the documents regarding this case?

Answer: I requested all of the relevant documents and read them.

Question: You haven’t told us everything today, have you?

Answer: No, it would be impossible to condense 40 years of professional practice into a few hours.

Question: What is the reputation of the opposing expert?

Answer: I like him. I don’t know what others think of him.

Question: Did you remove any information from your case file?

Answer: I updated my case file, but I didn’t remove any relevant information.

Question: How much money do you make in an average year?

Answer: That is personal and not relevant to these proceedings.

If you are directed by the judge to answer, respond with one of the following:

Answer: My income from litigation related services is about $XX,XXX.

                or

I don’t know; it varies from year to year.

Question: Did your attorney/client tell you what to say today?

Answer: No, of course not. Except to speak slowly and clearly.

Be especially cautious of compound cross-examination questions, run-on multiple questions, or ones with multiple parts. Ask to have them rephrased, one question at a time. Politely keep asking for clarifications until you understand the question.

Litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable. If what is involved interests you, I recommend adding “Forensic Engineering” to your practice as a consulting engineer. Get Jack’s new book: The “Complete Guide” to FORENSIC ENGINEERING to learn the details. Also, the largest chapter in his book: The”Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING covers the “highlights of Forensic Engineering. Visit TheEngineersResource.com to find out more.

Learn how to be a forensic engineer. Find out how to be a forensic expert witness. Discover how to be an engineering expert witness. Find out how to obtain training as a forensic engineer. Learn how to obtain training as an engineering expert witness.

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Consulting Engineering Salaries in Canada

 

 Engineering Legacies reported that starting salaries for engineers and technologists in the consulting engineering industry vary from province to province and will also depend on the state of the economy in each province at the time.

There are also variances between urban and rural locations, and between firms that specialize in different types of work.  Some of the provincial consulting engineering associations and professional engineering registration bodies carry out salary surveys, and you may be able to access information by contacting them directly.

For the most part, well-qualified professional engineers or certified technologists in the consulting engineering sector are compensated equally well as, and often better than, other professions, particularly if they have:

  • achieved a reputation for their specialized knowledge;
  • risen to a senior management role;
  • invested in an ownership position in the firm for which they work; or
  • if they are prepared to relocate to work on projects in remote locations, domestically or internationally.

As an engineering or technologist student considering a career in consulting engineering, or as a graduate engineer who might be weighing the options between entering consulting engineering and taking a second degree, you should take many factors into consideration, but salary should not be one of them. It might be true that a graduate engineer entering the workforce typically earns less than a graduate lawyer. However, by the time a law student graduates, the engineer already has several years’ working experience, and will often be earning as much or more than the graduate lawyer.  Firms that offer consulting engineering services contribute to the social, environmental and economic quality of life in Canada and around the world, and offer the kind of challenges and rewards, financial and otherwise, that other professions cannot.

The Engineer’s Resource extrapolated available data and adjusted for inflation and offers the following 2015 estimate in Canadian Dollars:

SPECIALTY   ENTRY  5 10 Yrs.  10-20 Yrs.  20 + Yrs.
Electrical Engineers $76,000 $110,000 $148,000 $181,000
Mechanical Engineers $70,000 $102,000 $137,000 $167,000
Civil Engineers $60,000 $88,000 $118,000 $143,000

For more about consulting engineering see The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING © 2015 John D. Gaskell. Order at http://www.TheEngineersResource.com. Use discount code “paperback” and save.