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.

Radioactive Iodine Treatment and Your Immune System

I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer in March of 2008. I was only 27 years old at the time, and in complete shock. I decided to get checked on a whim because my older sister was diagnosed the previous year (even though papillary thyroid cancer isn’t always hereditary). I had absolutely no symptoms and I was told that it was caught very early. My surgery for the removal of my thyroid was scheduled immediately. I was informed that I would have to undergo radioactive iodine treatment shortly after my surgery in order to destroy any thyroid tissue left behind. This is a routine procedure following a thyroidectomy (an operation that involves the surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid gland).

Approximately four months after your radioactive iodine treatment your doctor will order a blood test to calculate your thyroglobulin level. Small amounts of thyroglobulin are normal in those with normal thyroid function.

Thyroglobulin levels should be undetectable or very low after the surgical removal of the thyroid (thyroidectomy) and/or after subsequent radioactive iodine treatments. If levels are still detectable, there may be normal or cancerous thyroid tissue remaining in the person’s body, indicating the need for additional treatment.

In most cases, the patient is only required to undergo radioactive thyroid treatment one time following the thyroidectomy. But, here I am, two years later completing my third round of radioactive iodine treatment. My thyroglobulin level was still at 14. My doctor wants me to be under 1. The radioactive iodine treatment itself isn’t very difficult. My doctor educated me on what to expect before (low iodine diet) and during my short hospital stay for treatment. What I wasn’t informed about was the effects that the treatment would have on my immune system in the coming months.

Following my first two radioactive iodine treatments I was constantly sick. It ranged from the common cold to pneumonia (pneumonia is NOT fun). I was spending hundreds of dollars a month on primary care doctor visits, and prescription medications. I was also losing money because of my constant absence at work. I would only feel “healthy” a couple of weeks at a time here and there.

This went on for about 7 to 9 months following my first radioactive iodine treatment. I was finally getting back to my old self again to find that I had to do a second treatment the anniversary month of my surgery. Then the “sickness cycle” began all over again. I tried so many different immune boosters after my second treatment but nothing worked.

Finally, just after my third round of treatment this past January, I found something that worked. AND it was an all natural product which was the best part. It’s been four months since my third (and hopefully final) radioactive iodine treatment and I haven’t had so much as a sniffle! I can not believe how much better I have felt these past four months compared to the past two years! I am writing to share my experience with others in hopes that I may help in some way. Click on my link below for more information on how to boost your immune system for those tough times ahead. I’ll also share with you two low iodine recipes that I wouldn’t have made it through with out!!

Cultural Differences In Communication Style – Why Arabs Are Not Effective Communicators In Estonia

We all know that our success in life depends in a great deal how good communicators we are. New immigrants often believe that just learning vocabulary and grammar makes them effective communicators in Estonia and solves all the problems. However, in the long run they notice that they have misunderstandings and conflicts everywhere. By observing cultural differences in communication styles and practices of new immigrants in Estonia and other European countries, I have recorded several cultural differences that lead to conflicts and misunderstandings instead of success.

Recently we saw a case in media where a group of Arabs tried to change their drivers licenses in Estonia, however, caused a media event by threatening officials instead. The main reason for the conflict was that although Arabs spoke Estonian, they used totally different communication style than Estonians do. It was really interesting to see how the officials tried to explain the regulations according to their own direct communication style, however, as Arabs and Estonians have very different listening and speaking habits, Arabs did not get the message but perceived it as an unfriendly behavior and responded with threats. For Estonians, on the other hand, it is difficult to grasp that speaking volubly and with a rising tone might show sincerity in other cultures and thus they usually perceive it as an aggressive behavior.

There are enormous cultural differences in low and high context communication, in how to approach other people, how to say what is relevant, in body language, in direct and indirect communication styles as well as in values and norms. Officials who analysed the situation claimed that Arabs didn’t listen to them, that they spoke about irrelevant things, didn’t obey rules and threatened officials. Customer servants usually claim that Arabs don’t understand the meaning of the word “no”, they don’t get that it really means that “something is not possible”. They seem to think that they just have to explain longer and come back on the next day with bigger group and speak louder. According to my experience Arabs tend to use the same communication behavior over and over again in different situations in Estonia although they never reach their goals.

Arabic and Estonian cultures may be distinguished in terms of direct versus indirect communication styles. Estonian cultural preference is for clear and direct communication as evidenced by common expressions such as “Ära keeruta!” (Don’t beat around the bush), “Räägi asjast! (Get to the point). As we see from these two examples Estonians use even less words to express these phrases than English speakers which means that they really prefer to get to the point as quickly as possible without wasting time as that is how they feel when someone talks too much about “irrelevant” things. In high-context communication, (such as Arabic) much of the “burden of meaning” appears to fall on the listener. In low context cultures (such as Estonian), the burden to accurately and thoroughly convey the meaning in one’s spoken or written message appears to fall on the speaker (Hall, 1976). Estonians are not good in comprehending or following the real purpose of the indirect message and they perceive it as a waste of time. I have witnessed many conflicts that have aroused only because a person from another culture just talks to much and too long.

The direct style strives to represent facts accurately and avoids emotional overtones and suggestive allusions. Indirect communication style, which is more common among Arabs, is to the contrary, ambiguous and emotionally rich. The desire for precision is not as important as creating emotional resonance. For Estonians, it is difficult to grasp that speaking loudly and with a rising tone might show sincerity in other cultures and thus, they usually perceive it as aggressive and hostile behavior.

Although Arabs are considered as representatives of indirect communication style,the Arabic language seems to be in many ways much more direct than English or Estonian. For example, in Estonian you cannot say to someone “I want this!” or “You must do this!”. Instead, one often paraphrase it as a question or use conditional mood “Ma sooviksin… ” (I would like to have…), “Kas oleks võimalik/kas ma saaksin…? ” (Would it be possible/could I…?). In those cases Arabs tend to use according to the Arabic language structure quite direct approach which may shock officials, customer servants as well as all other people in Estonia because it sounds aggressive. In addition, like in the German language there are familiar and polite forms for saying “you” (Sina – Du, Teie – Sie) and in official communication context between strangers only the polite form is always used as it enables to keep distance and shows respect. This is definitely another reason why Estonians regard Arabs’ communication style as aggressive.

So far we have been training only officials and customer servants on these issues to reduce cross-cultural conflicts in Estonia, however, it doesn’t make new immigrants more successful communicators. In ordinary language courses language teachers are not aware of cultural differences in communication styles and are not able to teach those skills. The Estonian language course books are not designed to teach cross-cultural communication nor how to become successful in business and life. This is why it is relevant offer seminars and training materials for new immigrants to raise their cultural awareness and teach how to achieve their communication goals in Estonia.

The Importance of Upgrading Your Computer System

If you want to have a computer of your own, then you must understand one thing about them. You see, computers aren’t things you must dispose of after a number of years. It is something you can build on, improve and upgrade. A computer can last you a very long time. If there is one thing you need to know about computers it is that the only thing it needs for longevity is an upgrade. You shouldn’t be afraid to upgrade your system. Doubt is something that’s common with inexperienced computer users. But if you want to have a better system, one that lasts you a very long time, you have to open up to computer system upgrades. Here are a few upgrade suggestions depending on your needs.

If you start to notice a slowing of your systems, then you might need an internal hardware upgrade. A simpler approach would be to reformat your computer, but sometimes, that just won’t do. When it comes to computer speed, the key components are the memory and processor. Memory is very easy to upgrade. All you have to do is buys new memory chips and put them in the empty memory slots in your computer. The processor is a bit harder to change, though. First, you have to make sure the new processor you want is compatible with your current motherboard. If it isn’t then you can either look for another processor that’s compliant, or replace your motherboard with something that’s compatible with it.

Another upgrade you might want to do is shift to a dual monitor system. A dual monitor system is great for people who need to monitor many tasks at one time. This is also great for enhancing the gaming experience. If you want to shift to a dual monitor system, just invest on two LCD or LED monitors and ensure your video card can handle the dual monitor system. You can also invest on a dual monitor stand which saves you a whole lot of space even with two monitors on your desktop.

Upgrades are necessary to lengthen your computer’s life, and once you understand how you can easily upgrade your computer, you will enjoy a faster and more responsive PC without spending too much money on purchasing a new system.