Expert Article Library
How to Write an Introductory Letter
By: Rosalie Hamilton of Expert Communications, Inc.
More articles by Rosalie Hamilton:
Cross-Examination Questions - and Answers - About Your Advertising
Do I Need a Contract?
Eliminate Expensive and Ineffective Marketing
Expert Witness Marketing - What, Who, and Why
The Expert CV Checklist
Top 10 Tips for Marketing Your Expert Witness Practice
Your Competitive Advantage
Your printed materials represent you in your absence. What do they say about your professionalism, your thoroughness, and your attention to detail? Expert Witness marketing expert Rosalie Hamilton discusses your cover letter, and gives a cover letter example. Rosalie Hamilton is the author of The Expert Witness Marketing Book (link) and a frequent speaker at expert conferences.
The most important points to include in an introductory, or solicitation, letter are the subject line and the P.S. (postscript).
The attorneys who will read your letter bill their time by the hour. They condition themselves to scan for main points and skip the prose when they are not working on billable time (and probably even when they are). To increase the odds of the letter being read, the subject or reference line should indicate the topic of the letter, e.g., Environmental Litigation Expert or Earning Capacity Studies.
The letter should be direct and succinct and, preferably, not more than three short paragraphs on one page. The first paragraph introduces you and why you are contacting the recipient, and the second states the benefits of using your services, usually including the quality of your credentials. The third closes with a friendly request that the reader call for more information, engage your services, or keep your information on file for future use. Marketing jargon calls these three points bait, argument, and call to action.
The "bait" does not have to be as clever as it might for a letter aimed at creating a need rather than filling one that already exists (attorneys know they need expert witnesses). You can make the first sentence somewhat provocative: "Claims in the area of xxx are increasing daily! As a xxx I can offer competent and comprehensive assistance in the following areas:" or moderate: "As a clinical pharmacist I understand the challenges you face in clarifying issues associated with drug-related injuries and adverse outcomes," or merely state that you are sending your materials for his possible use.
In the example shown, I took a conservative approach. Construction attorneys already know that data management is the critical factor in litigating complex construction cases. Therefore, the problem the attorney needs for an expert witness to solve in construction litigation can be presented in the 'argument' - the body of the letter - rather than the first paragraph.
Do not forget to ask for the business. Do not appear desperate or overly eager but, certainly, interested.
Add a P.S. that will lodge in the reader's mind - "You can always find my information on ExpertPages.com" or "One of few vocational rehabilitation experts with Assistive Technology Expertise."
As discussed in the chapter on direct mail, the letter is accompanied by either a curriculum vitae (CV) or a shorter biographical sketch, and a business card. (Most experts' CV's are lengthy and therefore it is too costly to include them in initial solicitation mailings, and an attorney would not take time to read a long CV unless he were already interested.)
Example - Introductory Letter
ABC Consultants, Inc.
RE: Construction Project Management Expertise
Dear Mr./Ms. [Attorney]:
I would like to offer my services to your firm as a construction litigation consultant and, if necessary, for expert witness testimony.
My company, ABC Consultants, Inc., has developed a computerized management system, XYZ, which allows the attorney to view all of the pertinent data in a logical framework and to present with accuracy and credibility the facts supporting the claim. Our unique relational database capability is enhanced by my thirty years' experience in project management, contract administration, CPM scheduling, claim preparation and dispute resolution. I have testified before State Courts, the Federal Court of Claims and Arbitration Panels.
Enclosed are my CV and a brochure detailing our services in construction litigation matters. I would be happy to be of service to you in this matter. Please call me at your earliest convenience.
P.S. We specialize in identifying and providing evidence as to who did what and when.
By: Rosalie Hamilton of Expert Communications, Inc. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org All Rights Reserved.