Rights of the Expert Witness ~ I’ll Take a Veggie Slice, Please

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Rights of the Expert Witness

expert

I continually assess and evaluate (there I go again!) my rights, values, professionalism, and of course ethics (which I really enjoy!?!) and am hopeful to write more on these topics and my career in the field of forensic rehabilitation consulting.

As far as rights, I found this great listing online (website is referred to below), and yes I added the graphics! I agree with the following essential considerations for taking on the role of expert witness:

  1. I have the right to be paid for my work.  Dream of Getting Paid
  2. I have the right to be prepped in advance of my testimony.
  3. I have the right to ask questions about the case.
  4. I have the right to work for either side, without fear of retribution.
  5. I have the right to change my opinion from previous testimony, as long as my opinion is evolving (based on new information, science and/or experience) rather than revolving (based on which side I’m working for). 
  6. I have the right to say “I don’t know”, if in fact, I don’t know. Just because I’m the expert doesn’t mean I have all the answers. I am clearly okay to say “I’m sorry, that’s outside my scope of practice”.
  7. I have the right to solicit objective feedback about my testimony from  the attorney who has called (and of course, they have the right to  decline to give it).
  8. I have the right to set limits with counsel about the scope of my testimony. 
  9. I have the right to disagree with another expert’s practices or  conclusions, even when I perceive that expert to be: a.) more educated;  b.) more famous; or c.) more experienced. 
  10. I have the right to disregard the initial instinct to view opposing counsel’s expert as the enemy, but instead recognize everyone’s role in the process and share pizza and a bottle of wine with that expert after trial is over.

Pizza

 Truly, it’s all good work!

I am glad my career continually evolves! I accept responsibility when providing forensic services to be clear, truthful and comprehensive in my evaluation and report products, and in my role as an expert witness. Thank you for reading!

Please contact me Amy Botkin for more information ~ 515-778-0634 or amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

I’ll take a veggie slice and a glass of Chardonnay please. You?

Source for Rights: http://www.forensichealth.com/2011/07/13/10-things-the-fho-expert-witness-bill-of-rights/

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Need an Expert Witness on Your Litigated Case? Choose Me!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Happy Turkey-less Day to those who won’t be gobbling a gobbler this Thanksgiving!  I personally won’t because I continue as a pescatarian! My two younger adult children Jacob and ArinJune continue their vegetarian lifestyle. Not my oldest son Nick, for he’s an incredible meat eater! Although the no meat eating rubbed off on me many moons ago, I still enjoy eating fish (tuna mostly).

Thank you Jake and AJ for showing me a lifestyle I probably wouldn’t have gone for had it not been for you two. But then again, I may have become really fantastic at grilling steaks (no, that’s Randy’s area.) 

Image result for turkey cartoon

I love the taste of turkey and found a delicious vegetarian roast that to me tastes just the same! My opinion counts!

For this post, I want to write about a way to chose your own path. I’ll start with a link to a post when my daughter Arin started a new job at Walgreen’s.

Over the two years she worked at Walgreen’s (she resigned earlier in 2014 to move on in different ways with her lifestyle), Arin had many customer experiences (including her days working as a host at Okoboji Grill as her first job, she knows a thing or two about customers) and I value her opinion

She’s shared many interesting retail shopper stories from her Walgreen’s days.  The worst was one day, she turned around while at the cash register to get perfume out of the locked glass cabinets for a customer, when she turned back, “the customer” was racing out the store with Chanel No 5 in her hands, along with other stolen items, and right out the front door.

Some shoppers are kind with good intentions…get in the store, find what you need, pay and get out of the store…all while being grateful and appreciative you found what you were looking for!  Then there are other shoppers who seem to float around in a bubble without realizing their bubble is more of a brick! Some shoppers are demanding, have no regard for other shoppers or the retail clerk, and are even down right rude. Yuck!!We all are continuously affected by the energy of other people in both positive and negative ways. My daughter quickly learned that the less you respond to rude, critical, argumentative people, the more peaceful your life will become and the more productive you’ll be on the job!

AJ’s goal at work: Help customers find, buy, and get out of the store with minimal distraction…along with an idea or two of how to get the customer to spend more money (especially products with incentives found within her own department, which gave Arin more in her paycheck!) This knowledge, my dear daughter, takes a certain level of emotional intelligence. Good for you!

Emotional intelligence is a huge factor in my work as an expert witness.

A very helpful and proactive way to limit how much we are affected in many settings and situations by where others are is a simple technique called being in your bubble.  Using your bubble when you need to, or realizing others are using their own bubble, takes a level of emotional intelligence, kindness and grace.

My sister Janice has told me to get out of her bubble more than once!Bubble

Bubble Me Up

I can’t find the source for what follows, but I’m sure whoever it is would be happy to share! Being in your bubble goes as follows:

1.) Spend a few moments with your eyes closed, quieting your thoughts.

2.)  In your imagination create a big clear soap bubble all around you that is about a foot out from your body.

3.)  Notice yourself within this bubble, and acknowledge that any type of energy you don’t want to experience in your own body will be unable to get through the bubble, and will just bounce off.

4.)  Walk through your day within your bubble. Take a look at the bubble periodically just to affirm that it is there, and recreate it whenever you want to.            Bubble

 Bubble Me Down 

There’s great reasons to use this tool to manage the energy that bounces around us all of the time. It frees you up to create the experience(s) the way you choose, while leaving others free to their own expression. You won’t need to get into the struggle and discomfort of resisting what others are doing or thinking, because it happens outside of your bubble and doesn’t need to affect you.

I hope your work week is productive, and you enjoy experiencing the energy that surrounds your work and home environments.

And if you need an expert for your litigated case, I’m here to help you help your client. In fact, I value the opportunity to help.  The choice is yours! 

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC            lcpresourcesplus.com          515-778-0634 

amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

___________________

 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Randy and His Perpetual Flip Off! Need an Expert on Your Case Involving Work & Disability?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The evening before my dad’s funeral in May 2016, my husband Randy walked our dog Bella.  Holding his cell phone in one hand while talking to my mother about his part in the service, the other hand held the leash. Bella’s a big Aussie girl, weighing in around 60 pounds;

and from what I hear, a huge raccoon made an appearance near a sewer opening down the street just as they were walking by. This appearance led Bella to lurch towards the coon…pulling hard on the fingers grasped around the leash, and breaking husband’s finger in the process. Ouch.

Early the next morning, we had to hit the road to make the trip to Iowa Falls and, well, experience what would transpire during my father’s service…and beyond in this world for those of us who loved him and enjoyed his company.  

Here’s one of my favorite photos of my dad!

Randy never saw a doctor for his finger injury. I wish he would’ve though. I performed my version of physical therapy and Healing Touch on him, but to this day…well, Randy has a broken middle finger that sticks up in such a way it resembles the image below!

Get my drift?

The funeral service was nice, and my mom did a great job choosing the readings and what to sing! Randy read the first reading, my sister Julie the second and Father Tony the Gospel, of course! I was a communion minister for dad’s friends!

Many of dad’s church friends were involved in the Mass Mass and he would’ve loved that! In fact, one of his buddies told me my dad was like a brother to him. At that moment, my heart grew stronger knowing my dad was very special to another person. Clearly, that was God’s presence, and one of many experiences I feel during life!

One good thing was my dad was cremated, so no handling of a heavy casket with a broken finger!  Afterwards, we had a nice lunch that my dad would’ve enjoyed as well. Love You Dad!

So, to this day, Randy’s finger exhibits a perpetual flip off! Pretty cool huh?  When certain people, like a friend he hasn’t seen in a while, questions why he’s flipping them off, instead of going into detail, he just says “I dunno”.  Just recently, he came home from his job and remarked one of his fellow teachers wanted to know why he flipped her off.  He smiled and replied ~

 dunno!

A great memory from October of 2016 was of Randy driving into and out of the parking area of the Kansas City Chief’s Arrowhead stadium pre-and post game (they won!).  Soo many people, staffers, and cops too! Well, they all got the flip off! But, no one noticed, which to me made it quite comical! 

It’s a “I do know” factual concept for me to tap into emotional intelligence when I’m being deposed or testifying (I believe it’s okay to flip someone off under a table or in your mind as a form of mental exercise!!). So contact me, my Attorney Reader, if you need an expert and I’ll offer my complete time and attention  as an consultant and an educator for your case.

Keep me in mind as I also offer consulting services to help attorneys come up with good questions to help you prepare for a deposition and/or cross examination in a courtroom on cases involving work and disability.

I’m Here to Help You Help Your Client!

The best way to contact me is by email at  amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

___________________

 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Emotional Intelligence and Expert Testimony…Stay in the Ship!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I want to touch a bit more on emotional intelligence from a previous blog on the subject of EQ. Basically, emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions in yourself and sense the emotional needs in others. I study this interpersonal skill and certainly am not an emotional master, but I constantly challenge myself to control any “miffed” (annoying) emotions that are connected to stressful situations.

Miffed?  Mad? Upset? Irritated?  Jittery?  Soft?  Antsy?  Optimistic?  All the Above?!?!

For example, when I’ve been on the witness stand in court (serving as an expert in my field of vocational rehabilitation), I’ve experienced verbal assaults on my work, my credentials, and even my vocation (don’t even go there buddy…), by the opposing attorney. This of course is stressful!

However, because I know myself well and have thee highest regard for what I do for a living, I am able to calmly turn mean and rude statements into mush (metaphorically in my mind where it matters!) You’d be surprised how effective a concerned look and a calm statement or simple facial expression saying, “I hope you realize how that sounded” can be.

 

Mush you say??? Yuck. Get Out of Here. No Way Would I Ever Eat That.

Seriously though, emotions can turn into enemies if they get in your way during certain times in your life (like on the witness stand!). I like to think of emotions as waves. A storm has rushed in, the winds are fierce, and the lake is churning up white caps. THESE ARE THE EMOTIONS – the things that get us disturbed, all riled up and self-absorbed.  We liked the calm…

Emotional waves get in your way!

Now think, the storm will blow over and the lake will calm down. During the slowdown of the storm, the waves are just big, and in fact can be quite beautiful. THESE ARE YOUR THOUGHTS – and now you connect with the outside world….and to other people easily.

Calm those waves down!

Now think of a peaceful lake.  Become aware of your own feelings and realize, hey ~ this is what makes me special, my stuff really is helpful and I am good at stilling the waves. Calm yourself down right when the lake’s current does too. Now there is no distinction between yourself and the environment. You become a part of it. Everything clicks. The world is safe….and you are alive! (yet potentially still on that witness stand!)

“I know that I know that I know!”

Understanding the effects of wind, waves and currents is not an easy subject to master. Waves (humans who may be intent on verbal attacks) behave differently under a large variety of different conditions.

So to be familiar with all, or at least rough water conditions, a professional seaman (or how about an expert witness such as myself?!), uses knowledge and skills to confidently control the ship through to the calm following the storm. That’s what it takes to be a good expert witness. I’m here to help you help your client. 

In another blog, I continue with another element of emotional intelligence ~ EI ~ stay in the ship!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Emotions and Changing Your Mind…Don’t Lose Your Keys & Don’t Delay Contacting Me For Help on Your Litigated Case!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I’ve mentioned in past blogs that I’d write more about my brother. We referred to him as: (and his name has to be said really fast) Steven John Patrick Henry Murphy Fred George John Prochnow. Yep! And this is all I’m writing about my brother at this time because I chose to change my mind on this week’s writing!

Change is inevitable. Change is constant.  Change is what makes me go around and around! And therefore, this post is about emotions and relationships.

During my master’s level coursework at Drake University, I started studying emotions and continually learn how to apply what I’m learning about emotions in my own life, especially when it comes to relationships. 

Over the years, I’ve come to realize and accept that I’m pretty adept at identifying a person’s emotions within situations and contexts that I understand. What to do with that knowledge is what matters, especially as an empathetic rehabilitation counselor like me, with abilities to sense people’s emotions, and imagine what s/he might be thinking or feeling, and consider how I can help (if needed to help).

Randy and me at home after a photo shot at church ~ Fall 2011 (The above was a photo taken by a son, the actual picture in our church directory looks like we’re related to Frankenstein!)

As a complex creature each human is driven by emotions, beliefs and various points of view that most likely do not coincide perfectly (if at all) with yours (Now, Now Randy).

It can be difficult to understand all the emotions sailing around another person’s head, especially within a cultural context and from situation to situation. So to make it simple, let’s just consider basic emotions that could be experienced within relationships.

Basic emotions

Emoticons

Anger

Happiness

Fear

Sadness

Surprise

Disgust

On top of basic emotions and beliefs, you or the other person may also be in any state of HALT – being Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. (I am so happy I learned this acronym way back as a new mom!) If so (may want to first address any state of HALT ASAP: hungry: eat; angry: cool down; lonely: become involved in the world around you; tired: rest!), there will be a need to be more sensitive to any choices or decisions you make with that person.

 Figure this sweetie out?  

If bursts of emotion become too much to handle, what can you do? My way of answering this question involves taking a look at how people in love chose to culminate and sustain a healthy relationship .

You can sense how they appreciate each other. They freely accept their differences. They both are confident, responsible and believe in trust. They simply allow each other to be their own person. In my eyes, that’s the key….to the front door (if you want in).

Keys to the Front and to the Back Door

And to answer the question regarding how to handle “emotional outbursts” rests in changing your mind.  Choose to judge the situation or circumstance in exactly the opposite direction. The key to the back door (if you want out) is to change the way you think and feel about yourself and others. It’ll work, trust me!

Just be sure you’re not letting your feelings turn into facts….that will never happen.

 Always Keep Both Keys on Hand And DON’T LOSE EM!

If a persons’ emotions are significantly part of your case, I can provide the person’s true story which explain to others how emotions are shaped by experiences and why emotions matter.  I’ve had my share of emotional roller coasters and know how (and often why) emotions convey information and generate action.  Would it be a good legal strategy to include what your client’s thoughts and feelings are revealing?

Thank you for reading! Please let me know how I can help you help your clients.

___________________

My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Intimidators: Tailgaters, Drunken Jerks or Glaring Attorneys? Need an Expert? I’m Here to Help!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Remember the last time someone tried to intimidate you? How about when a person (for example, that careless tailgater or the drunk in the same beer line as you) may think they can make another person do something or react in some way? Exceed the posted speed limit ~ NOPE! Pay attention to public intoxication ~ NOT INTERESTED! or say something to the drunken jerk ~ NO WAY!uckr cup

Go ahead be one, I don’t care! 

During cross examination in the past, I’ve received a pretty mean looking facial expression/glaring eyes/stare down/stern voice/condescending attitude and a critical tone to the long litany of questions arising from the mouth of an attorney on a workers’ compensation court case. I knew this attorney was trying hard to intimidate me. Go ahead, try!

But, I answered all questions calmly. P.S. ~ I love it when the attorney can’t even remember what was asked and has to refer to the court reporter! I stuck to my guns (aka: my knowledge base) during my testimony, and talked about what I knew about.  I knew what I knew.

mmI know, bring it on!

I’ve never been intimidated much by people (places, things or even animals either for that matter). Okay, okay, I am intimidated by Mother Nature, a force to be feared, and treated with utmost respect e specially when she zoome a mesocyclone or other tornado-like activity my way.  I’ll never forget the evergreen tree in my front yard crash down on the car in my neighbor’s driveway during a mesocyclone many summers ago. The storm was in full fury just as I was peeling away in our minivan to get my two youngest children who were about 1/2 mile away at a park for a daycamp.

Image result for cyclone cartoonI have always been able to speak my mind (ask anyone who knows me) and yes it’s gotten me in a pickle or two from time to time (just like my dad!). I try to express what’s on my mind being mindful of who I’m communicating with, the content of my speech/body language, and the context of how/when my message is delivered.  In other words, I’m not the type of person who “blows up” or “blabs” and I definitely don’t overshare!  

I do tend to speed up my talking and need to watch that so I don’t sound nervous, however that is a natural consequence of my hard wired fight and flight response! I read the “butterflies in your stomach” occur as blood from digestive system is redirected. (So I try to eat healthy before a court date!) 

PeacockThere is truly a difference between a cocky person and a confident person!

When on the witness stand, my role is to explain what I did on a case so the judge understands; and ultimately educate the jury on why what I did was important to the case.  I accept confidence with the work I do. My role  allows me to serve as an expert witness & educator all while consulting within the scope of my practice. I keep a placement, rehabilitation, and quality of life orientation at the forefront of any topic. 

Every day, I learn more about how to help others.  My Attorney Reader, please know I am here to help you help your client.  Give me a call and brief me on your case involving work and disability (or just work, or just disability), whatever it may be I’m interested to hear about it! 

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Dam! Need Help on a Case? I’ll Search Until I Find It!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Some days do you feel weird because part of your daily routine has changed? It happens quite regularly with me. Yes both, feeling weird and not having a typical day!

Image result for images feeling weird

Time that follows after finishing work on an in-depth legal case can feel unusual. How about the time after you’ve completed a project or a presentation that you spent hours on, or when you complete a long-term educational goal…and the homework is done?! You know what I’m referring to. You feel different!  And kinda weird, which is okay. In fact it’s great!

After I’ve served as an expert, I can relax and think upon the experience and what I learned about myself and my role in the process. I consider  how I did good and how I could do better. My work opens up experiences where I continuously learn about work!

My work as an “expert” requires me to research and study the subject matter at hand. So, I make my own homework all the time and seem to like it! Am I or am I not an unusual person? I absolutely love to study and analyze information! And like my brother Steven enjoyed, I too like to come up with theories and see if I can prove or disprove them to myself. Some of Steve’s theories however, defied gravity, like his skateboard stunts, and his water skiing stunts, I still don’t know how he could fly!

Steve

The meaning is:  Crown, wreath

I looked up “Steven and dare devil” and found out that on August 18th 1985, a Rhode Island bartender named  Steven Trotter made the trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel wrapped in inner tubes. Mr. Trotter was fined a total of $5,503. Then, he did it again.  On June 18th, 1995, Steven returned to the Falls and made it another success. This time he and a female partner (a caterer) made the big drop together. That is all fine and good for them, but what about the rescuers? Somebody had to help get them out of “hot” water. Oh my! I remember as a child visiting Niagara Falls (height of 167 feet!!)  many moons ago with the family. My brother Steven loved it! I would love to visit again.

But instead I only need to travel a short distance to the pedestrian bridge over the Des Moines River. I love to stop on the south side of the Women of Achievement Bridge and gaze down at the beautiful falls from the Center Street dam…the dam height is 15 feet! I love the dam in Iowa Falls too which has a height of 26 feet! Or course the Saylorville dam is fun to visit too, especially when it’s flowing full force and you get splashed! Dams are gorgeous yet dangerous! Dam! 

Bud

Here’s to you bro! 

I always have a sip or two on July 17th which is my brother’s birth date at a favorite local cemetery and let Randy drink the rest! (Budweiser is not my brand of beer).

Think about “daredevils” and what their personality and temperament are like. Okay, someone similar to my brother! Someone who takes risks, not silly or reckless dares, but a good slightly risky risk. Are you a person who accepts dares? how about risks? Think about your job and your role at work. Think about how I can help you with a legal case. Okay, go ahead and think about drinking a beer!

Law involves uncertainties and risks that cannot be quantified. Some cases may be “risky” because of their sheer complexity or because the subject matter cannot be reasonably measured. I recognize that when I’m called upon to help on a legal case everyone has a role in the process. From me you will receive a report that is clear, truthful and comprehensive. Here’s a little story about me:

I once searched for a solid week for a black pearl that fell out a ring from my finger. It happened one morning as I was leaving my apartment going to work (for the State). The heavy door grazed my hand as it was closing, caught my ring and the pearl fell out. It fell through the deck slats and landed somewhere in a huge mess of leaves, etc. below. I looked briefly yet had to get to work on time. Upon returning home I looked for the pearl. I looked every time I left the apartment to go to work or go where I needed to go. I was determined to find it!

Until there ya go! 7 days later, I found it!  I am one persistent person when it comes to finding something I absolutely know is there! And that includes something so small as a black pearl!

Image result for pearl black and white ring cartoonWhat an incredible ring!

If there is part of your job that is somewhat risky, convince your brain that you are not scared of said dare or risk, and how proud you will be of your accomplishment. Consider all outcomes, and don’t forget others who are or could become involved. Then gather the courage and just do it! Don’t stop until you are done. Feel the exhilaration! This is similar to serving as an expert witness!

Skydiver

 Be safe, especially if you have a dangerous job (or hobby)

What will I study next? How to sky dive?  I would love to! And I’ve thought about it…hummm, maybe in Brooklyn! Actually I want to get into art. Not that I’m good at drawing or painting. I just like to study and learn new techniques. Not that risky huh! Stay tuned!  Contact me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com for help on a litigated case involving work and disability.  Thank you for reading!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Seen The Reasonable or The Unreasonable Person Lately? I Look Every Day!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This is a summary of my written responses to a discussion question while studying forensics through George Washington University a few years ago.  It includes edits and additions of course, because that’s what a writer does

Question: What does the term “reasonable man”  as a legal expression used in both criminal and tort law mean to you? (That’d be me, Amy the student at the time, with the online discussion involving my cohort from across the country!)

Answer: To me, I believe the term “reasonable (ahemm) person” refers to a theoretical person in society who shows average judgment, skill or care in his or her conduct; and this “person” becomes a standard or a basis for comparison when deciding issues of liability in civil or criminal cases involving negligence. 

…But then I start asking myself more questions, like, so how would an average person behave under the “exact same circumstances and conditions” because how could the context or a situation ever be the same to more than two people? With unique personalities, the many layers of culture in society, who really can be seen as average? 

…and doing my own questioning again, I thought, just how is one average person selected during the formation process, let along twelve “average people” who are impartial to the case and have the energy and focus needed to develop into a jury pool?

Image result for jury cartoonI’ve been summoned for jury duty once in recent memory, but didn’t move through to a next step. I have no idea why! Although I would love to serve on a jury, as it is a right and a duty, I wonder if my profession for some reason had anything to do with the selection process. The one thing that would bother me though is sitting for a long time during a trial. Ouch! Would need yoga!

Okay, so I continued with my thought process and answer: Our legal system compares actions of people and makes a decision based on the factors involved whether or not a reasonable person would or would not do the same thing. Using this standard can lead to strange outcomes I’ll bet. For my research, I found an interesting read titled Brigham Young Law Review titled Better Off with the Reasonable Man Dead or the Reasonable Man Does the Darndest Things

It’s written by Randy T. Austin in 1992 and includes numerous citations and some funny foot notes! One part reads: The Reasonable Man first appeared in the law in the 1837 case of Vaughan V Menlove. The defendant’s haystack caught fire due to poor ventilation. The defendant had been warned on numerous occasions that this would happen if he left the haystack. The defendant argued he had used his best judgment and did not foresee a risk of fire. The court held his best judgment was not enough. He was to be judged by the standard of a reasonable man.

Another part reads: The Reasonable Man Did he evolve? Was he created? has had many first names: Prudent, Ordinary, Typical, Ideal, Average, Right Minded. He has qualities of a good citizen, an ordinary chap.

On the other hand, others say he is inadequate, makes mistakes, is selfish and afraid. He does typical things (for example, takes out the garbage, opens doors for others) he doesn’t do atypical things (like park his car on the busy freeway to scrape a small blob of bird poop off his windshield or drive his ball when he clearly sees golfers still on the putting green.)

Image result for bird poop on windshield

It was a HUGE Blob! All the drivers on the freeway should’ve known why I stopped!

The Reasonable Man is shy and he doesn’t want to talk about himself, but his best friends (judges and law professors) are happy to talk about him. And talk about him a lot they do!

The review concludes that the reasonable man has enjoyed a long and prosperous career in law and the author Randy believes due to the arbitrariness of the standard and insensitivity to gender issues, it’s time to thank him for his contributions and bid him a fond farewell. So be it.

Then I found this written by George Bernard Shaw to ponder: The reasonable person adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. 

Next, I decided I’m going to play a game I just made up called Reasonable or Not Reasonable? As I move throughout my city, in the community and my own hood, I’ll keep a look out for a Reasonable Person or a Not Reasonable Person and decipher what transpires (via my own eyes) and brainstorm why it may be that I think this person is or is not average. The context, situation and circumstances will matter, and whether or not I’m somehow involved in the interaction will too. 

I’ll tally up how many average people and exceptional people I meet on a particular day and then talk to someone (You, my attorney reader?) about my results. What do you think my probabilities will look like? No doubt in my mind this will be a fun learning experience!  As a counselor, I have that sixth sense about others!

Related imageAs an aside, have you seen the play production 12 Angry Jurors? I saw the play at North High a few years back, with Taylor and Bridget being 2 of the jurors. I’ve also seen it at the Civic Center with Richard Thomas as the lead. It’s a great dramatic production and makes you really think about doubt!

I’m sure you’ve studied the “reasonable person” standard, please share any good legal case stories! Thank you for reading, and just a little more, here’s the link to my disclaimer because I’d like you to read it, too. Let me know what I can do to help you help your client, especially with a case that’s going to trial!

___________________

 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Cross Examination is Like Playing Ms. Pac-Man & I Like it!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I know that a good attorney who excels at cross examining an expert witness is thoroughly knowledgeable of their case. There’s volumes of information and data that needs to be absorbed and analyzed before going to court! 

You my attorney reader, use intuition and instinct to discover weak points in the witness’ presentation, and in a fair and calm manner, formulate and ask clear questions to elicit precise information. This requires patience and self-control, especially when you’re working on the spot! Job well done!

I’ve been a vocational expert witness during workers’ compensation court proceedings about 12 times over the last 16 years. I have served in courtrooms (mostly conference rooms with a workers’ compensation deputy commissioner presiding) with up to eight people present.  Recently, I’ve also testified in divorce court proceedings, personal injury and medical malpractice cases. For a copy of my most recent litigation history, please inquire and I’ll be happy to provide it to you.

From my side of the stand, I better be familiar with rough courtroom conditions!

I’ve experienced verbal assaults on my work, my credentials, my vocation, and even my personality (I’m too nice, huh? hahaha!!) by the opposing attorney. I learned a lot from prior mistakes but I learn even more from recent successes.

I remember my first court appearance many moons ago. I was the primary job placement specialist on a case when the opposing attorney stabbed my body language in an erroneous and made up way.  Because there was nothing to see because human bodies speak for themselves, he undermined his credibility not mine. And I remember that well.

Image result for old fart cartoonI have no idea what the old fart was trying to do, but the judge didn’t care for it either!

I remember another court case  (this was in Council Bluffs) that involved typical cross examination, starting out with repeating basic questions to get different responses from me…then the pressure was applied! I used first-hand knowledge and communication skills to respond to his questions, remaining true to my convictions while expressing strong belief in my work.

Hopefully I revealed to everyone in the room that being confident, calm and polite is a respectful way to answer difficult questions (even personal attacks). The judge on this case was newly appointed at that time. I don’t know the decision nor have I reviewed the transcripts on that case. I suppose decisions and transcripts could help me to some degree, but I don’t ever have direct access to them plus to me it’s likely they are not pertinent to any future case other than learning from miscue or miscommunication errors.

My goal as an expert witness is to win over the people in the courtroom.

To prepare for cross, I think of all the factors that may arise on a case and pay close to attention to what I want to say about 5 to 7 main issues or circumstances most likely at the meat of the matter, commonly being extent of loss of earnings. I realize the cross examiner will try very hard to prove his or her theory of the case, while devaluing mine. The opposing attorney wants to discredit me, and will eat away at any potential weakness in what I said or reported.

I really am pretty good at Ms. Pac-Man! Wanna play?

Ms Pac-Man

I rely on my expertise, research on disability and rehabilitation, objective evidence, direct placement experiences, the principles of ergonomics along with the provision of reasonable accommodation to help determine an individual’s work potential.

I understand how worker profile changes may impact access to the labor market and wage earning capacity. I can respond creatively by highlighting the constructive and favorable strengths of how my work brings successful results and focus on the positive nature of change, motivation, and choice.

I educate everyone in the courtroom about the scope of my practice and how it works when the individual agrees with my approach. Most importantly, I match people within their own world of work which takes time, attention and a great appreciation for the jobs people do everyday.

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Need help with your litigated case involving work and disability? Let me know what you see as the most important aspects of the case and I’ll let you know if I believe I’m the right person to help you help your client.  I’ll view my  interests, do a conflict of interest check and consider whether or not the case is in my area of expertise. And keep in mind I work on both sides of the fence!  Need an expert?  Contact me and thank you for reading.

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

“Somebody Call for An Expert?” I’ll Answer That Call!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I’ve written about my fondness for Eeyore and want you to know I’m a bit attached to Gopher as well, especially when he comes to the rescue! You’ve heard the story when Pooh eats too much honey (honey is often on Pooh’s mind) at Rabbit’s place, gets rotund, and subsequently gets stuck in Rabbit’s front door.

Rabbit is not happy and help is needed! Gopher recommends using dynamite, and he’s an expert with that subject, but Pooh isn’t so hot on the idea. If dynamite was needed, Gopher was ready for the rescue! I’ll answer just like Gopher but am not an expert in dynamite, I am in forensic rehabilitation consulting!

Gopher

Popping out, Gopher exclaims “Somebody call for an expert?!” 

After thinking it through, Pooh, with assistance from his friendly team, realizes how to get unstuck. He agrees with Christopher Robin’s recommendations to patiently wait until he gets thin. Time passes, and it works (he gets thin!), however, he still needs a good jolt to move through the door. The team is successful and Pooh ends up in a happy place…filled with honey! 

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Honey! Yummy! Yummy!

I hope you appreciate this Pooh story. I, too, use my expertise to help out in complex cases. I also hope you realize that a good expert has more than expertise that you can appreciate! 

I strive to educate others in a clear manner and explain a complex  subject to a lay audience in simple terms.  It’s important for me to stand up under questioning (here’s a post on intimidation), commit to my opinion, and stay within my area of expertise. Thankfully, all my training including my background in Community Health Education helps!  And you know what else, a good expert like me cares. I love my career, and deeply care for my work.   

When I made an executive decision to study forensic rehabilitation counseling at George Washington University (back on April 15, 2013), I initially felt a bit overwhelmed but focused on following through with the decision, complete the course, and graduate (which I did on August 15, 2014 ). The program taught me more about courtroom testimony and issues as they relate to personal injury, medical malpractice, life care planning, marital dissolution, product liability, and catastrophic injury cases.

The GWU forensic rehab graduate certificate takes about a year and half to complete and is similar to when I committed myself….ha ha, and completed the Life Care Planning certificate program in 2011 through the University of Florida.

My goal for completing yet another educational program allowed me to gain valuable insight on how to function more effectively, efficiently and confidently within the legal system. Although most of the coursework is online, visiting Washington DC is always awesome!  

When labeled “a firecracker” by a classmate during our 15th class reunion, I had to look up what that meant!

Yes, I realize I can be a bit firecracker-like, mostly because I’m a bold individual and will do what I have to do to accomplish my goals. There’s plenty of satisfying work to accomplish and life constantly moves forward at a really swift pace so it’s important to not slow down. I work hard for my customers, for myself and for my family.

I believe it’s always beneficial for lawyers and experts to spend time getting to know each other. Yep, attorneys think differently than counselors. So, please let’s spend a little quality time together before we meet in a courtroom! It will truly prove beneficial. You’ll find I’m a genuine person who truly cares about serving as an expert in the field and am willing to offer my voice to help you help your client.  Give me, Amy Botkin, a call at 515-778-0634 or email me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com   

Thank you for reading!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.