When, Why and How to Ask for Prepayments and Extra Payments As an Expert Witness

Should you ask for a retainer? Yes, you should. If a case appears simple, a modest retainer fee equivalent to two or three hours of your consulting rate may be fair. You can reduce your initial retainer fee under special circumstances or for limited scope of work. In the same fashion, you can raise your retainer at other times when the initial work will be dramatically larger. After assessing how many hours of initial work you will need to undertake, let that guide you to the size of your retainer.

Be particular about the initial expectations so that you can quantify the initial retainer. Ask, and agree, on the materials you must read, the research or investigations you must complete, and consider what tests you must run. Confirm your understanding with an email, a fax or a letter, depending on the urgency of the work. Then, wait until you've received the retainer check or payment before starting the work. If the attorney tells you that the job is urgent, send him wire transfer information so that he can wire your retainer directly to your bank account. This can easily happen in a 24-hour period.

Always ask for an initial payment before you begin work on a case or you might end up working for nothing. If, by the end of the case, the hours you spent did not consume the retainer, you should refund the difference.

Occidentally an attorney will ask you to do work for free. A free first telephone conversation representatives goodwill and can be an encouragement to engage you when the case seems right. Doing analysis or research for advocates and charging them nothing is unprofessional. On the other hand, you can certainly consider pro-bono work from time to time, just as attorneys occasionally do.

One novel element remains to consider. As your reputation grows, attorneys will sometimes retain you just to be sure that the other side can not employ you. As a result, you should value the use of your name as an expert witness, and considering imposing a minimum fee whenever an attorney wants to retain you. You can apply this minimum charge against services, so it will have no impact on the total cost to the client unless the attorney never uses your services.

In my retainer contract, my terms require both an advance retainer and a replenishment of all or part of the retention from time to time. The amount of replenishment depends on what additional work the attorney requires of me. Some experts require that the attorney or client maintain a minimum retainer. To do so, you should bill to restore that minimum whenever the balance in the pre-paid account for the client falls below a specific level. Ask for new advance payments whenever it becomes similar that additional work will deplete the existing balance in the client's account.

Typically, your client will not have to replenish the retainer if the additional work only requires one to several hours. But you should request advance payment in the following instances:

1. If a sudden surge occurs in discovery materials for your review.

2. If your attorney requests that you travel for conferences and meetings.

3. If any investigations require you to travel to job sites or company offices for observations, meetings, and any other explorations.

4. If your deposition has been scheduled. You will have to reserve a variable number of days in your schedule for the deposition, for a pre-deposition conference, and possibly for the travel time as well.

5. If a trial has been scheduled; you will have the same factors of blocking out time for possible travel, meetings, and testimony.

You should also estimate airfare, hotel, car, and food expenses as well. You can contain those in requested advance payments. If you ask for advance payments, ask for them well in advance. Larger companies often have processing delays for invoices or payment requests. You do not want those delays to stand in the way of your work. Do not wait until the last minute to ask for advance payment. Your business needs to be organized enough to estimate the size of advance payments. You can base those payments on discussions with the attorney about the progress of the case and what work you expect will be required of you.

The most important advance payment is the one that precedes a trial. Be firm in asking for advance payment for your anticipated billings before traveling to testify at a trial. Clients have now spent a large sum of money by the time a trial begins. If the client loses in the trial, he either may not be able, or choose not, to pay you. But because he needs your testimony at the trial, put the pressure on him to pay beforehand and not on you to collect afterwards.

Receiving advance payment for your trial testimony time permits you to respond "No" to the potential cross examining question of whether the client owes you any money.

If the client has now paid you, you can honestly point out that the verdict in the case will have no affect on your testimony.

The Importance Of Communication Skills

Communication skills simply do not refer to the way in which we communicate with another person. It encompasses many other things – the way in which we respond to the person we are speaking, body gestures including the facial ones, pitch and tone of our voice and a lot of other things. And the importance of communication skills is not just limited to the management world, since effective communication skills are now required in each and every aspect of our life. However, in this article we will discuss the importance of communication skills in two areas namely business and relationships.

First, let us concentrate on the importance of communication in business. We can measure the importance of communication skills in the business sector when we take a look at job advertisements. There is little chance that you will come across an advertisement which does not mention that candidates should have good communication skills. Perhaps this is the only criteria which creates a positive impact when a person goes for a job interview. This is because technical qualifications are likely to be more or less the same for the candidates.

Without effective communication skills, a person may find it impossible to climb up the corporate ladder. Promotions come to those who can communicate effectively at all levels, from senior management level to the lowest employee. The use of communication skills in business is covered in more detail at http://www.communicationskillsworld.com

As for communication within relationships, it should be remembered that maintaining good relationships is a way to a healthy lifestyle, and a good relationship can only be maintained by maintaining healthy communication with our near and dear ones. They are the ones we stay with on a regular basis. They are also the ones who see us at our best as well as our worst.

Good communication skills help the relationships to develop along good lines, and ensure that arguments and disagreements are kept to a minimum. Good communication will avoid arguments and insults

Another important part of communication in relationships is taking the initiative yourself. Do not wait for your best friend to call you after a long break. Instead take the phone and also take initiative to start the conversation. Often people have this problem while communicating, which comes from fear. They always think a thousand times whether to approach a person or not. But a person with good communication skills is always the first to start a conversation.

Given the importance of communication skills in both the personal and the corporate world, any individual who want to make progress with their life should develop this important skill.

The Success System That Never Fails by W Clement Stone – Book Review

Title and Author : The Success System That Never Fails by W. Clement Stone

Synopsis of Content:

Success is a system. It can be learned from those who have achieved success. In this book Stone accounts his own meteoric success going from poverty to riches and starting out in the Great Depression. He teaches what he learned from life experience, business, his mentors and others who taught him how to succeed in business.

The Success System that never fails covers the importance of selecting the correct environment for success, understanding the formula for success, thinking for oneself, the importance of taking action, and many other rules and disciplines that lead to success.

Stone teachers what he calls the three essentials for success: Inspiration to Action; Know How; and Activity Knowledge. These would also be understood as inspiration and motivation, knowledge of how to do something, and knowledge gained from experience. Each of these is essential in the pursuit of success.

He stresses the importance of proper planning and goal setting, how it takes less effort to succeed than to fail, finding and maintaining the right course to success, the importance of energy and motivation and the importance of the right team.

Stone was a devout man and he included discussions of the importance of personal faith and prayer. He also touches on what later became known as the power of attraction. He discusses the importance of developing success oriented skills such as becoming an effective public speaker, how to use your mind to achieve more, how to relate and assimilate useful information and many small steps that lead to success.

Stone's formulae for success are the traditional list of having a purpose, planning, using goals, working hard, working smart, and constant learning and improvement. While you will not find any new or revolutionary in this classic work you will find the solid success tools that have worked for millions of people for centuries and remain just as valid today as they were in 1962 when the book was written.

The examples and mentors he lists are dated a bit but they certainly illustrate his points well. To truly understand where success literature and theory is today it is useful to study its history. Stone was not a pioneer in this work but he worked with at least one such pioneer and studied others.

Readability / Writing Quality:

This book is very readable. It was ahead of its time in its careful organization. Atypical of books of that period does not contain large blocks of text but is broken down into an easy to follow outline form with many illustrations.

Notes on Author:

W. Clement Stone was one of the most successful salesman and businessman of the mid 20th century. He turned $ 100 into one of the largest insurance companies in the world and launched it in the middle of the Great Depression. He was also a student of success and a collaborator with Napoleon Hill during the 1950s.

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

1. You can neutralize a negative emotion that limits you through properly directed action. You can change how you feel and think through your own directed action.

2. While learning and planning are critical to success nothing is more important than taking action and striking when opportunity presents itself. "Do it Now" is an axiom that will empower you.

3. If you can not save money the seeds of success will remain forever elusive. Having a budget and planning for the future are essential.

Publication Information:

The Success System That Never Fails by W. Clement Stone

Copyright 1962 by W. Clement Stone

Published by Prentice Hall, Inc.

Rating for this Book

Overall Rating for Book: very good

Writing Style: easy to follow and understand.

Usefulness: very useful to anyone who aspires to succeed.

Effective Communication – Multiple Channels of Communication

As if face-to-face miscommunication were not enough of a challenge, dealing with multiple channels of communication can compound the issue of clear message transmission. One of the most frustrating aspects of communicating to multiple audiences (eg customers, business partners, and senior managers) is the redundancy and repetition intrinsic to the process of repeating the same message, over and over, to different stakeholders.

One of the best ways to handle the need to repeat a message across multiple channels is to identify an "elevator pitch" version of your message. The idea is that you have the good fortune to be on the elevator with the senior decision maker for a project or proposal you have. What do you say in the 30 seconds? How do you quickly and concisely convey the benefits of your message to someone whose time and attention is scarce?

When you consider your elevator pitch, think of the most concise way of expressing the key feature or benefit of your message. The more you understand and internalize the key aspects of your own message, the more easily your audience will pick up on your intended meaning. The American president Teddy Roosevelt was famous for giving "whistle stop" speeches that rented from five minutes to two hours, from the back of a train that rolled through town (this was before television broadcast such messages through the country). When asked how long it took him to prepare a five minute speech he was said to have responded, "About a day." And a twenty minute speech? "A few hours." How about a two-hour speech? "I'm ready to go right now!" The insight here is that to convey your message clearly and concisely takes more work than piling on more words, hoping your listener can sort out your meaning from the vast stream of thoughts spewing forth.

Once you've identified the elevator pitch version of your message, you can tailor it for face-to-face communication at sales and networking events, for print advertising, for online newsletters, and so forth. The elevator pitch clarifies your message's value in a succinct yet versatile manner, suitable for a variety of communication channels.