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Chapter Event: Houston

The 2017 Essentials Workshop for Experts and Attorneys

Join the Houston Chapter annual all-day workshop!

The schedule of presentations is as follows:

8:15-8:50am: Registration, Breakfast & Networking 

8:50am: Program Introduction

9:00am: “Methodology is the Key – How to Connect the Dots” by Attorney Jim Smith, senior counsel at Shirrmeister Diaz-Arrestia Brem LLP and eight-time FEWA presenter. 

Description: Mr. Smith will facilitate an interactive exploration of cases where an expert’s methodology failed to adequately overcome the challenge of a motion to strike. Tips will be provided to ensure methods are reliable and readily applicable to facts being addressed in reports and testimony.  

10:00am: “Designation of the Expert - Who Am I and Why Am I Here?" by Attorney Joshua Mermis of the West Mermis law firm. 

Description: Attorney Joshua Mermis will provide a unique overview of the importance of the expert's designation and how it is a key factor in the admissibility of expert testimony. He will discuss what it should include and not include and how important it is for the expert to understand what the lawyer is committing them to testify about.

11:00am: “Elements of a Case” by Attorney Michael Hudgins of the Hudgins law firm.

Description: Experienced trial attorney, Michael Hudgins, will discuss how even the most complex cases often hinge on a few simple facts and how the proper use of a qualified expert-from designation through trial--can best highlight the facts favorable to your case.

12:00pmCross-Examination of an Expert by John Boswell, partner at Boswell and Hallmark 

Description: Mr. Boswell will sharpen the skills of the attendees by teaching the techniques he has used to successfully impeach or disqualify opposing experts in high profile matters. He will use examples drawn from actual cases to demonstrate the practical application of Daubert challenges.

1:00pm: “60 Tips in 60 Minutes – A Primer for the Certified Forensic Litigation Consultant Exam” by FEWA National President John McReynolds, CGR, GMB, CFLC, and owner of Construction Defect Consultants LC. 

Description: Mr. McReynolds will address the nine core areas of knowledge that differentiate a great expert from a great expert witness. Experts planning to seek CFLC qualification will find this a great primer for the exam and others will find useful tips in being a more effective expert witness.   

2:00pm: Ethical Standards for Expert Witnesses presented by Professor Joseph Sanders, A.A. White Professor of Law at the University of Houston where he teaches torts, products liability and scientific evidence.

Description: A favorite of the chapter, the Professor will deliver a fourth update on how we should think about and enforce ethical behavior among experts appearing as witnesses at court.

3:00pm: Closing Remarks & Dismissal. 

Attorney Jim Smith, senior counsel at Shirrmeister Diaz-Arrestia Brem LLP. 

Jim Smith principally focuses on environmental matters, in counseling, supporting transactions, and trying cases. His degree in chemical engineering combined with his legal experience enables him to bring a unique perspective as he represents refining, petrochemical and other resource related industry clients. He counsels corporate as well as individual clients on a variety of environmental issues, in addition to trying and arguing appeals in both civil and criminal matters and in both state and federal courts. Mr. Smith has appeared before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and other administrative agencies in permitting and enforcement matters.

Attorney Joshua Mermis of the West Mermis law firm. 

Joshua Mermis has broad experience in litigation, with a focus on construction, energy, product liability and business law. Joshua has extensive trial experience conducting jury and bench trials, as well as arbitrations, from homeowner claims to multimillion commercial projects throughout Texas. He represents domestic and international companies including developers, general contractors, subcontractors, product and equipment manufacturers, and business owners.

Attorney Michael Hudgins of the Hudgins law firm. 

Michael Hudgins was a Briefing Attorney to the Honorable Murry B. Cohen of the First Court of Appeals in Houston from 1993 - 94. His practice focuses on complex legal matters, including oil & gas, professional malpractice, school law and appellate matters. Michael is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the Houston Bar Association. He is admitted to practice before all state and federal trial and appellate courts in Texas. 

John Boswell, partner at Boswell and Hallmark. 

John Boswell has tried over 300 cases to jury verdict, resulting in a favorable result in over 90% of those cases. In those cases where he was representing Defendants, even in high verdict areas and against excellent opposing counsel, he has never had a jury verdict resulting in a Judgment in excess of $1 million against one of his clients. Additionally, he has never had a jury verdict against any of his clients for punitive or exemplary damages, treble damages, or enhanced damages of any type. This is due to an understanding of the venue where the cases were tried, how to level the playing field in hostile jurisdictions and retention of jury selection experts when needed.

FEWA National President John McReynolds, CGR, GMB, CFLC, and owner of Construction Defect Consultants LC. 

John McReynolds focuses on serving clients and counsel in support of litigation, arbitration and mediation of matters involving construction disputes in single and multi-unit residential and commercial business sectors. Engagements have involved independent and objective advisory services, expert reports, and testimony in deposition and court, arbitration and mediation on a wide range of matters involving contract disputes, construction defect issues, product application, and overall management of the building process.

   Professor Joseph Sanders A.A. White Professor of Law, B.A., Northwestern; J.D., Northwestern; Ph.D., Northwestern

Professor Sanders received his J.D. from Northwestern University in 1969 and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern in 1974. A member of the Law Center's faculty since 1983, Professor Sanders is one of the leading experts in the United States on sociological studies of the law. In particular, his writings in the field of tort law, especially on the mass tort cases have brought considerable attention to his scholarship.


*** Registration price includes breakfast and lunch. ***


This course has been approved for 6 CFLC Credits 

This course has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of Texas Committee on MCLE in the amount of  6 credit hours, of which 1 credit hours will apply to legal ethics/professional responsibility credit. Course number: 928000484


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