PracticeLink Magazine

FALL 2017

The career development quarterly for physicians of all specialties, PracticeLink Magazine provides readers with feature articles, compensation stats, helpful job search tips—as well as recruitment ads from organizations across the U.S.

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C A R E E R M OV E PracticeLink.com   FALL 2017 21 p Jennifer L'Hommedieu Stankus, M.D., j .D., combines her previous work as an attorney with her current experience as an emergency medicine physician as a medical expert witness. · Photo by Matt McDaniel See this issue's physicians in exclusive video interviews at Facebook.com/PracticeLink realize how much heartburn I would have in testifying against my own. I was also surprised that even as a former medical malpractice defense attorney, how long it takes to get the business going to the level I would want. I've been doing this for years, and I am still not where I want to be in terms of volume of cases. What advice would you give to physicians who want to do this? They have to know that this is and always will be a side job. It can't really be full time. The reason is that, in most states, the experts still have to be practicing in their profession at least half the time. That makes sense because they can't be a subject-matter expert if they are not practicing. However, some retired doctors act as expert witnesses in the states where it is allowed. Expect that they are going to have to build a website, spend a lot of money on advertising, spend time on sites such as LinkedIn if they are very serious about it. If they have no legal experience, they need to know the courtroom is a totally different setting with different language other than what they are used to in medicine. The other thing I would say for new physicians is that there are rules about when they can testify as an expert. States may vary, but typically they have to have been practicing in their specialty for a certain number of years. How does a physician become an expert witness? Research and understand what the expectations and requirements are, and look at expert witness directories. Lawyers will pull everything out of their hat to make the experts look bad. If that is something that makes them uncomfortable, this is not the job for them. Anything else you'd like to add? This can be very exciting. However, they need to always remember that they are N o T the advocate for one side or the other. As an expert, they are there to objectively review materials and render an opinion. This will, if they are doing their job correctly, go against what the attorney wants on a regular basis. That is normal. They need to be aware that they can be held liable for reports and testimony that are not neutral. They need to always, always, always be objective and never change or tweak their opinion for the buck, or they will have a bad outcome. ● Win! Find your next practice— and enter to win a $500 gift card— at PracticeLink.com/Win.

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