Employment Discrimination and Help With a Litigation Fix!

As a vocational expert, I can help sort out the consequences of employment discrimination cases in many ways and from “both sides of the fence”.  To me, this phrase meant I will be fully instrumental to help serve your client without falling off and hurting the case because I have a full grasp of what I’m on to. To accomplish this goal, I balance your case with your client’s story and use all my instincts and brain power….kinda like a cat!

Black Cat on FenceCat’s tails are instrumental in balance!

Cats’ tails serve as a counterbalance when cats walk on narrow spaces, such as fences. However, one of my felines from long ago, (Max 1987 – 2002) was a Manx, henceforth no tail but he was well able to manage cat life with his strong body shape in every way! I asked my vet, and yes, even cats with amputated tails have proven to re-learn how to balance.

Employment discrimination cases need plenty of proof and evidence. Loss of salary, loss of benefits, and lengthy unemployment can be quantified pretty easily. Other issues are more difficult to assert. For example, if there is a claim the loss of job adversely impacts income and questions surface regarding economic realities, I can help with educating the individual on how to engage in a meaningful and productive job search, or I can assess the extent, quality, and reasonableness of a current job search. It is important to keep employer attitudes towards hiring an individual terminated from previous employment in mind.

Further, I can help to determine the impact on earnings potential and perform a vocational assessment and evaluation that provides data such as ~

  • the number, types, and wage level of jobs available prior to the discriminatory action
  • vocational options following the discrimination or termination
  • local job availability and wages and benefits associated with those jobs

I can also help uncover whether or not a good cause for termination of employment existed. That’s why documenting real time employer comments become helpful to sort out the nuances of the case. I’ll take a deep look at a behavior or situation that any reasonable person agrees would warrant discharge. I can help determine the ramifications of ~

  • Work performance and productivity
  • Attendance
  • Violation of work policies and rules
  • Dishonesty
  • Endangerment of health and safety*
  • Illegal conduct
  • Insubordination
  • Personality/attitude problems
  • Poor interaction with subordinates.

*If disability is involved in the case, under the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title I of the ADA), I can assess for reasonableness and identify reasonable accommodations. Keep in mind I believe that for every disability there is some form of assistive technology to allow continued employment.

If necessary, I can provide expert testimony to help prove the loss of job was or was not reasonable. Do you have a case where I might help? Give me a call and let’s talk about your case. I hope you’ll find our conversation interesting! And if you like cats, let me know why. And if you don’t like ‘em, I’d really want to know why!

DudeCats have other unique advantages besides their beloved/not so loved personalities.

If falling (which doesn’t happen much based on my own personal cat ownership research) a cat’s head twists to inform the brain exactly how to restore alignment in a millisecond and a perfect landing is guaranteed!

16 Claws

 

If a cat falls from a porous surface, sixteen hooked claws do their work in an instant!

Do I have you more interested in cats or my work as a vocational expert!?!

Felix Feeling Loving 5-30-2010

Felix (2002 – 2015)

I very much miss my Felix. As mostly a cool outdoor cafe’ kitty, you were quite a lover! Felix shared his feline life with me through many a fix (both his and mine).

Keep me (and Felix with his secret bag of tricks) in mind to help in dangerous situations. I definitely can help your case through a litigation fix!

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * 515-282-7753  * VocResources@gmail.com

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

The Proof is in the Pudding…Try Avocado Chocolate! And A Life Care Plan for Your Client!

Consider how a Life Care Plan can help your litigated case, especially when the proof is in the pudding.  The ‘proof’ here is a verb meaning ‘test’ and a noun meaning ‘the evidence that demonstrates a truth’ – as in a mathematical or legal proof.  To know if a plan has succeeded, consider the true value or quality of it, as seen when it is experienced, tried, or put to use.

PuddingInterested in a life care plan for your client?

One recent case where I prepared a life care plan helped attain a $3.43 million settlement and judgment in a catastrophic personal injury case. Another plan I wrote helped to reach a $1.5 million award in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

I repeat, interested in a life care plan for your client?

Pudding

As a certified life care planner I will prepare a reasonable plan and I will expend whatever time needed to do a fully competent job. As an added benefit, how about including vocational rehabilitation consulting in a plan? That’s where my forte’ lies!

A plan can take upwards of six months to prepare, depending on the case. By taking the story directly from the patient with input from the family, my subsequent reports and expert testimony become viewed as genuine in front of a judge or a jury. The goal is to zero in on the specific needs and costs of the individual’s healthcare future.

With your input or agreement with my report to be sure we understand everything, I will help you be well equipped to persuade others about the bottom line of your case. And it can be significant because when preparing a plan, I will carefully consider the client’s life and how it has been impacted.

Third time here, interested in a life care plan for your client?   Pudding

I can help you to help your client.  The proof of the pudding for a business is also what customers say about it! I have references available to find out what customers say about my work in the areas of life care planning, as well as in my professional work in other areas, including my writing capabilities.  Pudding

The proof of the pudding for a plan is also what transpires when it is followed by the individual for whom it was written. You’ll find I truly care about what I do and can provide references who will attest to my ethics, research capabilities and the value that I can bring to a case involving work and disability.Money Centerpiece

A Life Care Plan can truly become the centerpiece of your client’s claim!

Because each case is unique, to help identify the level of service for your case, a 15 minute complementary consultation can be arranged. Subsequently, a preliminary assessment of the time-frame a plan could take to prepare can then be offered that helps outline the projected costs which can be anywhere from ~40 – 80 hours, not including expert testimony preparation and witness time.

Keep in mind the necessity to schedule an in person meeting and follow-up visits with the individual and his/her family. Contacts involving his/her treating physician and other members of the healthcare team are made as well over the course of preparing a plan. You can find a simple sample plan on my website under documents for download.

Pudding

Now, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” means that you don’t really know your dessert has come out right until you taste it. Seriously, try this pudding! It’s yummy and healthy! Easy to make too! Avocado

Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Prep Time: 2 minutes Total Time: 5 minutes Yield 2-3 services Serving Size ½ cup

  • 2 ripe medium avocados, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup milk (regular or almond milk, coconut, etc.)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients until smooth in a blender, food processor or using a hand held beater or mixer. Serve immediately or chill first. Eat with a lovely spoon!

***

Contact me, Amy E. Botkin at 515-282-7753 for a life care plan because I have studied it, experienced it and continue on my journey growing as an expert in my field. An expert is someone who has enough knowledge to help others confidently! And, darn it all, I like it and I’m good at it (with a humble Arr Arr)!  If you’d like more information, let me know!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Here to Help The Passionate Attorney Help Your Client ~ Life Care Planning Services

Along with vocational consulting services, I offer you life care planning services. Life Care Planning Services are valuable to passionate attorneys such as yourself: One who works to your fullest potential for your clients; One who truly cares about your client; and One who strives to maximize the best outcome for your client. A Life Care Plan will help you help your client.

cartoon lawyer  Are You a Passionate Attorney?  Image result for woman attorney cartoon

Comprehensive Life Care Planning Services focus on the individual who sustained a personal or catastrophic injury, has a congenital disease or acquired illness, or suffered a traumatic event that altered his or her life leaving them with a disabling condition. The individual and his or her family is in need of planning how to live with these ongoing life changes.

Image result for passionate attorney cartoon   Are You a Passionate Attorney? Image result for group of attorneys cartoon

A Life Care Plan outlines an individualized holistic program that documents your client’s specific healthcare needs and a projection of what it costs for that care over their lifetime. An economist reviews the plan to determine the present value of the costs.

Even more, a Life Care Plan  helps prevent medical complications, enhances community and society participation, considers quality of life issues, and assists in maintaining emotional and psychological health. 

The person’s life now has important healthcare needs and significant costs are associated with those needs that will last throughout their lifetime. How can you, the person’s caring and passionate attorney prove this, or show this to others, and why would you need to do so?

A Life Care Plan is helpful in many ways, here are three,

  • to facilitate decision making relating to the individual’s health care, long-term care, and special needs; and those costs related;
  • to identify and obtain good care in the individual’s community, whether at home, an assisted living facility, or, if necessary, a nursing home; and those costs related;
  • to help move the litigation process forward, and ultimately to settle or win a case justifiably at the highest level possible using real data!

A Life Care Plan involves a systematic process (I do that part!) of developing a “road map” of the care, goods and services the person will need to ensure optimal health, safety and life satisfaction. A plan also highlights what it is the person will need to restore or improve their life activities to their maximum potential.

Keep in mind that while most Life Care Plans are developed for people who have suffered a traumatic injury, Life Care Plans are increasingly used for older adults with chronic conditions to anticipate their health and financial needs in later years. Do you have a client in this elite category? If so, be prepared for more future that focuses on healthy living! (Hint: Get a Life Care Plan!)

Image result for quality of life

The standard definition of a Life Care Plan is a “dynamic document based upon published standards of practice, comprehensive assessment, data analysis and research, which provides an organized, concise plan for current and future needs with associated costs for individuals who have experienced catastrophic injury or have chronic health care needs. (IALCP – International Academy of Life Care Planners, 2003. Definition established during the 2000 Life Care Planning Summit.)

Please visit Dr. Deutsch’s webpage for much more information on Life Care Planning. Dr. Deutsch was on my training team!

CLCP Certificate expires 2-28-21
Life Care Plans
are developed by Certified Life Care Planners (CLCP), who are professionals in rehabilitation with advanced knowledge of specific disabilities, established treatment care resources and a consistent objective approach toward the practical and functional elements involved in providing the treatment of catastrophic injuries and diseases. 

Communication and negotiation skills are essential (so true) while working with patients, families, caregivers and treatment teams. Keep on pursuing my website, which is mainly a relationship building, and read my blog writings. Please consider how Life Care Planning Services will help you help your clients.

Contact me ~ Amy Botkin, MS, CRC, CLCP ~ today at 515-282-7753 to discuss your case.

I am here to help you help your clients!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

I’m A Lot Like A Mole….Fortunately to Help on a Legal Case!

Okay, so I do something I’m not so sure many other people chose to do….and it’s clearly an inherited trait.  Dad did it too. Okay, it’s…it’s…I’ll just come out and tell you. I use bar soap and I use the soap until it is totally gone. And I mean totally!  I don’t waste soap.

Like dad, I also save and reuse paper napkins if possible (but prefer cloth!) and keep paper towels (ditto) the same way he did, until they’ve been totally used up!

Waste Not, Want Not (My dad said that too…) Proverb: if you use a commodity or resource carefully and without extravagance, you will never be in need. Another way to say this is if one is not wasteful then one will not be needy.

Dad would also say things like “It’s your nickel”….back when the home phone range like in the 70’s…with the cost increase to “It’s your dime” in the early 80s! …really both made no sense at the time. But the point is my dad was cost conscious (boy am I too) and my dad was not wasteful (ditto!)…and I greatly appreciate inheriting certain traits from him. I miss you so much dad! But I know you are a part of me that I will have forever. 

Here’s a picture recently uncovered….my dad Dick and his baby Amy….no idea where we are and why I’m wearing silly glasses! 

I am also very cognizant of what I throw away. I don’t want to be wasteful and I don’t want to worsen any landfill with unrecyclable garbage (read: plastic packaging). I know plastic has many very practical and very useful purposes. But when it is used once and thrown away…that bothers me. Especially when I’m at a conference in a “green/sustainable building” and they serve all food items on disposal products.

I recycle everything possible (and feasible considering time and other factors) and started composting (thank you to my sister Julie who gave me her used Earth Machine to me!) I think the smell of good natural composition of kitchen and yard waste is incredible and to think of how it was made by helpful microbes, worms and other organisms!

When mixed with your soil, compost will revitalize it, make it healthier and more productive, and increase moisture retention! Can’t go wrong there!? So, I used compost this year spreading it out in my yard and garden. I don’t use any chemicals and pick weeds by hand! Plus I’m into the No Mow method of lawn maintenance.

Viola beautiful lawn and it smells so fresh! However, and much to my chagrin……we got moles. They must really like their meals found in our front and back yard. So the good can seem not so good when now my lawn is disfigured with raised soft ridges and scattered holes. So, this is all natural and meant to be, right?

A mole is really interesting looking, lives underground and is nearly blind. There’s been a couple deaths ~ a baby and an adult ~ with corpses delivered by most likely my cat Alaska in the driveway and later buried by my animal loving husband Randy….yes I make him dig a hole and bury. 

I read that although a mole can detect light it does not hunt using its eyes. Instead, it relies on smell (hence the interesting snout!) and on touching wriggling prey (hence those crazy nails) using sensory hairs on its face. So a mole is good for underground life.  A mole is also (based on my research : ) ) territorial, strong, a hard working solitude industrious digger (natural engineer).

So to safely say, I’m a lot like a mole. Yes I need to get new prescription glasses, there’s nothing wrong with my sense of smell, my nails are natural, and I have a somewhat fuzzy face according to my husband. There may be other similarities, but I’ll let you make them on your own!

I’ve talked to people who have attempted to wage all-out war on moles without success. What I’m realizing is that molehills are signs that the soil is in good shape. And I can celebrate that fact! But there is lingering doubt and some anguish over the mighty, mysterious and resilient mole. And I’ve concluded a mole deserves respect, and as often as I can offer it, tolerance.

The bottom line is that with me, I see value and purpose in everything that surrounds me.

So, with this post, I ask you if you need help in helping your client through the difficult maze of their claim, please let me help. I won’t come to court looking like a mole, but will show up like an industrious mole:  ready to dig in and get to the bottom of the deal.

Thanks for reading my post. Give me a call! 515-282-7753  vocresources@gmail.com to discuss your case. I love to help out using my forensic rehabilitation services!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Get Level During the Divorce Process…With an Earning Capacity Evaluation!

Are you an attorney who works with divorcing couples? Have you utilized vocational expertise to help level out the uncharted territory for your client  Whether employed, unemployed or underemployed, an earning capacity offers valuable information regarding marital assets. 

My company, Vocational Resources Plus LLC offers vocational consulting services, in particular an earning capacity evaluation will benefit parties in a divorce in many ways. 

Let’s Get Level

If you need a clear, objective picture of a divorcing husband’s or a divorcing wife’s earning potential, and not just what he or she is currently earning during the divorce process, but how their vocational background could unfold with options and corresponding wage information, let me help! As a vocational expert, I know what skills are in demand in today’s employment market, and what income these skills can command in various careers.

Career picI report on the evidence and am always prepared to back it up through expert testimony!

An evaluation provides recommendations on the person’s functional capacity, personality, work skills and abilities, transferable skills, work values, aptitudes, interests, motivators,  work readiness and ideas for employment. Any recommendation or opinion is backed up with supportive data that highlights the individual’s vocational presence.

Based on individual circumstances of employability, hireability and placeability (3 of my favorite ability descriptors!), other factors are assessed, for example, job seeking skills and job search records.

Most importantly, during a divorce your client’s personal story deserves to be heard, especially when we’re talking about talents that include job skills and the career the person gravitates towards.  Results of all assessments and analyses are explained accordingly in a clearly written report.

Postit marriageI can help tell your client’s vocational story realistically and persuasively.

In one case I’m aware of, the divorcing woman declined to hire her own expert (umm: me) and found herself at a serious disadvantage. The “opposing” vocational expert sure did a number on what he declared she would earn in today’s workforce even though she hadn’t worked anywhere in 10 years!

There were inaccuracies and factual errors in this expert’s report on a specific career (it was teacher) that made me wonder if he (the opposing expert) had actually ever talked to a teacher about their job in real life! (Ahh, try being married to a teacher like me!) The opposing expert did not make sense! You simply don’t start out (with an outdated bachelor degree, no license, no certification(s), and no recent teaching experience) at $50k!! Not reality!

Even following divorce, my services can help an “ex” find appropriate work. With the results of interest and aptitude tests, along with professional guidance, the value of hiring a vocational consultant is enhanced should the cost of placement services be included in the alimony proceedings.Earnings $

Knowing your earnings ability will directly impact the resolution of the economic aspects of your divorce.

Please contact me to discuss how I can help level the playing field so the divorce process moves in a fair and equitable manner. It makes sense to have a person’s earning capacity known early in the proceedings.

Do it before a different report says otherwise! Having valid and reliable information on earnings directly impacts the resolution of the economic aspects of any divorce.

Call me ~ Amy ~ at 515-282-7753. If I don’t answer, please leave a message!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Got Questions? Ask the Vocational Expert!

My work is helpful during litigation following an injury or condition that leads to disability.  In any type of litigation, if the disability or limitation is significant, more than likely there will be questions about work and future earnings. In fact, a multitude of questions will arise as the case develops. As a well-trained and open minded vocational expert, I love to answer (and come up with) questions!

Do you have questions regarding a person’s future in the workforce?

Answers

 I’d love to find your answers!

Solid and detailed answers will describe employment related issues relevant in workers’ compensation, wrongful death, medical malpractice cases, personal injury, family law and many other areas of civil litigation.

It is important to quantify the loss, but how about going further to qualify it and define the best course of action to remedy it? Let’s characterize what is really going on by providing the facts, then finding help in the best places and describing everything in detail! Keep in mind, I pay particular attention to rehabilitation, health and safety!

Questions involve a multi-layer approach & so do Answers!

PuzzlesQs

What, Who, How? Where, Why, When?

Start with concrete observations (What):

Continue on to the specific people involved (Who):

Move to understanding (How):

Describe the locality and environmental issues (Where):

Step out on a limb of interpretation (Why):

Specify timelines and approaches that make sense  (When):

QsI know, I know, as an attorney you don’t like to ask questions that you don’t have the answer to! But you need the facts backed up by an expert, like me!

Qs
Fire Away!

These are randomly generated great questions! Remember, your answer will be multi-layered!

What occupation(s) is this person qualified to do?

Is this person employable? Where?

What is the outlook for certain occupations over the next 5 years? 10 years? etc.

What are transferable skills and how are they applied?

What are this person’s key transferable skills? How in demand are they?

How many jobs has this person held? Is that “normal”?

What did the person’s job involve? (Is there a need for job description and/or job analysis?)

What was the real reason for termination? Why did it happen?

Why has the worker not found employment?

Is the job search reasonable and effective? How can you be sure?

Is the quality of the job search material (eg: resume and cover letter) effective? How?

Are there specific criteria when targeting key occupations? If so, what are they?

How long does a job search take in a particular field? Why?

Why is motivation a factor in a job seeker’s vocational goal?

QsIs this person motivated to find work? How is that so?

How is a person’s employability assessed?

Are there places this person could work? How does one connect to that type of work?

Has this person sustained any career damage? How?

Are job seeking skills critical to the job search? Why?

What barriers influence this person’s hireability? employability? placeability? *Key Placement Factors*

What factors influence compensation and/or earnings?

What vocational services are available to assist with return to employment?

Why is this person underemployed? Will retraining for a different occupation help? How?

What are Soft Skills? (See Soft Skills Matrix) Does this person have many?

What motivates this person to work? (See Motivational Assessments)

What is the wage range for a particular occupation (or field/grouping of jobs?)

What are the statistics reporting in on this particular job?

What resources are useful for a job seeker?

Is the work physical demanding? How so?

Are there ergonomic issues in regards to this work? What are they?

What assistive technology or work tools would allow the work to be performed differently?

Qs

What markets employ this vocation? Is it viable?

What is the effect on smoking and pain? Or to overall injury recovery? Why?

Is age discrimination occurring? Why is this?

Is this person’s mobility in the workforce good or not good? Why?

What accommodations are available for work? How are they accessed?

What are the job requirements or essential functions of this work?

Does the work environment affect productivity? How?

What does this person’s future employment outlook look like?

Has this person sustained any career damage? How?

What is this person’s earning capacity? How is that calculated?

Qs

Just one more question…

Why not call me ~ Amy ~ at 515-282-7753 for help? 

FREEFree 15 minute consultation offering!

If I could help you help your clients, please let me know!

If you have questions on a case that have anything to do with work and serious disability, you need solid and detailed information to base your decisions!

Additionally, life care planning that encompasses forensic vocational rehabilitation consulting is a unique concept. It offers you, the judge and jury with information guaranteed to help your litigated case move along. 

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Balance Your Case With Your Client’s Real Story

(Original post May 2016)

In her teen days my sister Janice (the Floridian) was quite adept at gymnastics, particularly on the balance beam where she made great use of her balancing skills. When Janice moved on to college, dad cut up the balance beam for a new use as exit steps from a sliding glass door to the back patio!

Balance BeamDad constructed a balance beam and re-purposed it as well!

Balancing is involved in many areas of day-to-day living and is critical to an abundant life. People balance tires, bank accounts, relationships, priorities and work….you get the idea. Finding balance is an ongoing lifetime project. I’ve heard the comment that it’s good to fall / fail because it means you were trying. If you think about your success, you will be successful. If you think about your falls or your failures, you’ll learn to improve.

My dad’s balance had not been good lately, although he was working on improving it. He moved continuously during each day, but a stroke and a fall down steps lead to no return to life on earth. Dad died a week after he turned 83 in the morning on 5/5/16. I’ve blogged about Death as Part of Living, and can now fully realize one has to die from many things in order to move through life and live fully….and there’s always a story to tell.

Highway BalanceRichard R. Prochnow

4/26/33 – 5/5/16

As my dad aged, he never stopped working hard and to his best ability. There was a balance in how he lived his life, and I’ll never stop learning from him! I can calm my mind and simply hear his voice when he called on the phone….“Hi Amy, this is your dad.” [Like I didn’t know!] Then he’d talk about what was happening! And it was real, interesting and well-balanced for the soul.

In whatever situation you’re in, keep on practicing finding balance, and you’ll find a way to not fall; or a way to increase your sense of balance at its core. You may lose direction, or momentarily become blinded, but you’ll find your way again. Trust yourself. Just like my dad did driving thousands if not millions of miles on the road traveling to participate in the world around him.

On a lighter side (yes, I cried but I want you to think about your own life with no tears involved), as part of my personal story, I remember an incident a long time ago while I was working as a banquet server for a hotel…walking into the room full of diners with a large tray of full drinking glasses (tea/water)….well, never mind. Let’s say there was an imbalance that could’ve been disastrous!

Spilled WaterI learned to readjust the next tray and focus on my goal…..just to get the glasses on the table safely without spilling!

We balance our bodies in many, many ways. Balancing skills make use of poses and states of mind to focus attention on work, yoga, aerobics, tabata, healing touch, hiking, golfing, bike riding…being with the person you love. You get the drift, physical activity that involves any number of exercise moves or mental positions.

Yes, simply thinking with a sense of balance is very, very good and helps avoid failure (and falling). Jurists use a balancing test to weigh the importance of multiple factors in a legal case. If you want to highlight these factors, I am more than ready to help you bring a balanced case to court.

Because my work is my life calling and I continuously learn and practice balancing, I will help you help your client. Call me at 515-282-7753 to educate me on your case. A vocational evaluation or a life care plan may provide just the balance you were looking to tell your client’s real story.

P.S. At times I am asked to simply evaluate a specific aspect of a case. Or my opinion on what someone else has already reported. Even how I feel about various aspects of a person’s capacity to succeed….. Don’t hesitate to call me : )

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

“Somebody Call for An Expert?” I’ll Answer That Call!

I’ve written about my fondness for Eeyore and want you to know I’m a bit attached to Gopher as well, especially when he comes to the rescue! You’ve heard the story when Pooh eats too much honey (honey is often on Pooh’s mind) at Rabbit’s place, gets rotund, and subsequently stuck in Rabbit’s front door. Rabbit is not happy and help is needed. Gopher recommends using dynamite, and he’s an expert with that subject, but Pooh isn’t so hot on the idea. If dynamite was needed, Gopher was ready for the rescue! I’ll answer just like Gopher but am willing to work on a team for better results!

Gopher

He pops out exclaiming “Somebody call for an expert?” 

After thinking it through, Pooh, with assistance from his friendly team, realizes how to get unstuck. Christopher Robin recommends he patiently wait until he gets thin….and it works, however, he still needs a good jolt to move through. The team is successful and Pooh ends up on a happy place…filled with honey!

Honey! Yummy! 

You know this Pooh story and I hope you appreciate it! I too use my expertise to help out in complex cases.  I hope you realize that a good expert has more than expertise.

I strive to educate others in a clear manner and explain a complex  subject to a lay audience in simple terms.  It’s important for me to stand up under questioning (here’s a post on intimidation), commit to my opinion, and stay within my area of expertise. Thankfully, my background and training in Community Health Education helps!  And you know what else, a good expert like me cares.

When I made an executive decision to study forensic rehabilitation counseling at George Washington University on April 15, 2013, I initially felt a bit overwhelmed but focused on following through with the decision, complete the course, and graduate which I did on August 15, 2014 . The program taught me more about courtroom testimony and issues as they relate to personal injury, medical malpractice, life care planning, marital dissolution, product liability, and catastrophic injury cases.

The GWU forensic rehab graduate certificate takes about a year and half to complete and is similar to when I committed myself….ha ha, and completed the Life Care Planning certificate program in 2011 through the University of Florida.

My goal for completing another educational program is to gain valuable insight on how to function more effectively, efficiently and confidently within the legal system. Although most of the coursework is online, visiting Washington DC is always awesome!  

When labeled “a firecracker” by a classmate during our 15th class reunion, I had to look up what that meant!

Yes, I realize I can be a bit firecracker-like, mostly because I’m a bold individual and will do what I have to do to accomplish my goals. There’s plenty of satisfying work to accomplish and life constantly moves forward at a really swift pace so it’s important to not slow down. I work hard for my customers, for myself and for my family.

I believe it’s always beneficial for lawyers and experts to spend time getting to know each other. Yep, attorneys think differently than counselors. So, please let’s spend a little quality time together before we meet in a courtroom! It will truly prove beneficial. You’ll find I’m a genuine person who truly cares about serving as an expert in the field and am willing to offer my voice to help you help your client.  Give me, Amy Botkin, a call at 515-282-7753. Thank you for reading!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Emotional Intelligence and Expert Testimony…Stay in the Ship!

I want to touch a bit on emotional intelligence. Basically, emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions in yourself and sense the emotional needs in others. I’ve been studying this interpersonal skill and certainly am not an emotional master, but I constantly challenge myself to control any “miffed” (annoying) emotions that are connected to stressful situations.

Miffed?  Mad? Upset? Irritated?  Jittery?  Soft?  Antsy?  Optimistic?  All the Above?!?!

For example, when I’ve been on the witness stand in court (serving as a vocational expert), I have experienced verbal assaults on my work, my credentials, or even my vocation, by the opposing attorney. This of course is stressful! However, because I know myself well and have thee highest regard for what I do for a living, I am able to calmly turn mean and rude statements into mush (metaphorically in my mind where it matters!) You’d be surprised how effective a concerned look and a calm statement or simple facial expression saying, “I hope you realize how that sounded” can be.

 

Mush you say??? Yuck. Get Out of Here. No Way Would I Ever Eat That.

Seriously though, emotions can turn into enemies if they get in your way during certain times in your life (like on the witness stand!). I like to think of emotions as waves. A storm has rushed in, the winds are fierce, and the lake is churning up white caps. THESE ARE THE EMOTIONS – the things that get us disturbed, all riled up and self-absorbed.  We liked the calm…

Emotional waves get in your way!

Now think, the storm will blow over and the lake will calm down. During the slowdown of the storm, the waves are just big, and in fact can be quite beautiful. THESE ARE YOUR THOUGHTS – and now you connect with the outside world….and to other people easily.

Calm those waves down!

Now think of a peaceful lake.  Become aware of your own feelings and realize, hey ~ this is what makes me special, my stuff really is helpful and I am good at stilling the waves. Calm yourself down right when the lake’s current does too. Now there is no distinction between yourself and the environment. You become a part of it. Everything clicks. The world is safe….and you are alive! (yet potentially still on that witness stand!)

“I know that I know that I know!”

Understanding the effects of wind, waves and currents is not an easy subject to master. Waves (humans who may be intent on verbal attacks) behave differently under a large variety of different conditions.

So to be familiar with all, or at least rough water conditions, a professional seaman (or how about an expert witness such as myself?!), uses knowledge and skills to confidently control the ship through to the calm following the storm.  That’s what it takes to be a good expert witness.

In another blog, I’m continuing on with another element of emotional intelligence ~ EI ~ stay in the ship!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Dam! Need Help on a Case? I’ll Search Until I Find It!

Some days do you feel weird because part of your daily routine has changed? It happens quite regularly with me. Yes both, feeling weird and not having a typical day!

Image result for images feeling weird

Time that follows after finishing work on an in-depth legal case can feel unusual. How about the time after you’ve completed a project or a presentation that you had spent hours on or when you complete a long-term educational goal…and the homework is done! You know what I’m referring to. You feel different!  And kinda weird, which is okay. In fact it’s great.

After I’ve served as an expert, I can relax and think upon the experience and what I learned about myself and my role in the process. I consider  how I did good and how I could do better. My work opens up experiences where I continuously learn about work!

My everyday work as an “expert” requires me to research and study the subject matter at hand. So, I make my own homework all the time….and seem to like it! Am I or am I not an unusual person? I absolutely love to study and analyze information! And like my brother Steven always did, I like to come up with theories and see if I can prove or disprove them to myself. Some of Steve’s theories however, defied gravity, like his skateboard stunts, and water skiing….I still don’t know how he could fly!

Steve

The meaning is:  Crown, wreath

I looked up “Steven and dare devil” and found out that on August 18th 1985, a Rhode Island bartender named  Steven Trotter made the trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel wrapped in inner tubes. Mr. Trotter was fined a total of $5,503. Then, he did it again!  On June 18th, 1995, Steven returned to the Falls and made it another success. This time he and a female partner (a caterer) made the big drop together. That is all fine and good for them, but what about the rescuers? Somebody had to help get them out of “hot” water. Oh my! My brother Steven would’ve loved it! I remember as children visiting Niagara Falls (height of 167 feet!!) many moons ago with the family. I would love to visit again.

But instead I only need to travel to the pedestrian bridge over the Des Moines River. I love to stop on the south side of the Women of Achievement Bridge and gaze down at the beautiful falls from the Center Street dam…the dam height is 15 feet! I love the dam in Iowa Falls too which has a height of 26 feet! Or course the Saylorville dam is fun to visit too, especially when it’s flowing full force and you get splashed! Dams are gorgeous yet dangerous! Dam! 

Bud

Here’s to you bro! I always have a sip or two on July 17th (Budweiser is not my brand of beer) at a favorite local cemetery and let Randy drink the rest!

I think about people who are daredevils and what their personality and temperament are like. Okay, someone similar to my brother! Someone who takes risks, not silly or reckless dares, but a good slightly risky risk. Are you a person who accepts dares….or risks? Think about your job and your role at work. Think about how I can help you. Law involves uncertainties and risks that cannot be quantified. Some cases may be “risky” because of their sheer complexity or because the subject matter cannot be reasonably measured.

I recognize that when I’m called upon to help on a legal case everyone has a role in the process. From me you will receive a report that is clear, truthful and comprehensive. Here’s a little story about me:

I once searched for a solid week for a pearl that fell out off a ring from my finger as I was leaving my apartment. The pearl fell through the deck slats and landed somewhere in a huge mess of leaves, etc. below. I had to go to work, but upon coming home I looked for the pearl. I looked every time I left the apartment until there ya go! Image result for pearl blackI found it!  I am one persistent person when it comes to finding something I absolutely know is there! 

Image result for pearl black and white ring cartoonAn incredible ring!

If there is part of your job that is somewhat risky, convince your brain that you are not scared of said dare or risk, and how proud you will be of your accomplishment. Consider all outcomes, and don’t forget others who are or could become involved. Then gather the courage and just do it! Don’t stop until you are done. Feel the exhilaration! This is similar to serving as an expert witness!

Skydiver

 Be safe, especially if you have a dangerous job (or hobby)

What will I study next? How to sky dive?  I would love to! And I’ve thought about it……. Hummm, maybe in Brooklyn! Actually I want to get into art. Not that I’m good at drawing or painting. I just want to study and learn new techniques. Not that risky huh! Stay tuned!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.