TypeOnline Course
DateJan 7, 2023
Student Enrolled9
Certificate70% of quiz marks
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Course Syllabus: Litigation and Expert Witness for Appraisers

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This course is part of the ISG forensic gemology education program for professional gemologists and appraisers worldwide. It is based on case history of litigation and expert witness actions in the United States and Europe. The course further utilizes the Business Law Certification program of Cornell Law School to provide a high-quality advanced education experience to jewelry appraisers. The course is an instructor supported, self-study online education covering all aspects of how jewelry appraisers can work in the insurance and litigation industry as litigation consultants and expert witnesses. The course is open to all jewelry appraisers and gemologists, with an emphasis on those seeking to enter the professional litigation consultant field of high-value jewelry claims and litigation. It has been developed as part of the Global Claims Associates, an international insurance services company specializing in high value jewelry claims, investigations, and litigation. The Global Claims Associates is a member of the National Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters.



Your instructor is Robert James FGA, GG. Mr. James is a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, Graduate Gemologist of the Gemological Institute of America, and former Certified Gemologist of the American Gem Society. He is a state licensed Property and Casualty Insurance Adjuster with 50 years of experience in jewelry related litigation and expert witness work in the United States and Europe. He has served as an expert witness and litigation consultant in U.S. State and Federal Courts, as well as the United Kingdom. He holds a Business Law Certification from Cornell Law School and is a former Senior Gemologist and Special Investigations Unit (SIU) investigator with USAA insurance.

  • Instructor Email Contact: studentinquiry@schoolofgemology.com
  • Instructor Phone Contact: (001) 210-464-1473

Course Description:

The purpose of this course is to provide professional litigation and expert witness knowledge for experienced jewelry appraisers to expand their services into the litigation and insurance claims fields. The course has been designed by insurance industry professionals with many years’ experience in insurance claims handling and litigation consulting. These include underwriters, adjusters, and litigation managers. The course is based on actual case history from recent litigations and expert witness testimony experience by the instructor and others. Through this course, students will learn how to establish and conduct themselves when providing professional jewelry appraisal assistance to the insurance and litigation industry around them.

The course is comprised of eleven lessons with 21 video lectures, 10 written assignments, with practice exams and a final exam at the end.

  1. Introduction: explaining how a jewelry appraiser can fulfill the needs of the insurance and legal industry,
  2. The First Rule of Expert Witness: covering important issues every jewelry appraiser needs to know before holding themselves out as an expert witness.
  3. Setting Up Your Office: an overview of the special office requirements of a professional expert witness.
  4. Professional Fees and Payments: an outline of establishing professional fees for services including how and when payments should be expected.
  5. Working With Attorneys: is based on the instructors many years working with attorneys in the US and Europe involving high value jewelry related litigation.
  6. Investigation Tools and Techniques: outlines the unique instruments that are often required to perform the testing and evaluation in preparing litigation reports.
  7. Structuring the Investigation Report: provides a complete outline in the legal requirements that must go into an expert witness report that is accepted in a court of law. The requirements vary from state courts to U.S. Federal courts and vary from country to country.
  8. Deposition Rules and Procedures: will provide a complete overview of how an expert witness should prepare for a deposition. We will review the legal components of a deposition, the requirements of an expert witness during the deposition, and what steps the expert witness should take after the deposition to ensure accuracy in their statements that may be used in a court of law.
  9. Trial Appearance and Procedures: will cover the trial appearance phase of being an expert witness. Covered subjects will include preparing for trial testimony, how the trial process works with an expert witness, and the proper conduct that is expected of an expert witness during the trial phase of a litigation case.
  10. Appraisal Clause and Umpire: is the legal process used to resolve legal disputes regarding insurance claims without going to court. This process involves the same basic structure as a binding arbitration or mediation, with the difference that serving as an insurance appraiser or umpire in the dispute process is guided by state statutes and regulations. This lesson will provide a full overview of that process.
  11. Marketing Your Services: is an important issue for professional jewelry appraisers wishing to enter the litigation and expert witness field. Marketing to the insurance and legal industries can be difficult, particularly when considering the requirements expected by these respective fields. Learning how to market one’s services from a successful expert witness will help the student become successful in a shorter period of time.


Certificate and Badge Awarded: Upon Successful completion of this course you will earn the Certificate for Litigation and Expert Witness.

Prerequisite Requirements:

Students enrolled in this course must have one of the following:

  • Successful completion of a recognized gemological education program from an accepted education organization that includes jewelry appraisal training, and/or
  • Have graduated or be currently enrolled in a recognized gemology education program with a completion date within the next 3 months, and/or
  • Have been active in the jewelry industry on a retail or wholesale basis for at least 5 years performing evaluations and appraisals of jewelry and gemstones.

Furthermore, students should have a good working knowledge of computers, have a professional level of writing and organizational skills, top level communication skills, and are prepared to present themselves in a professional manner as required for appearance in the legal proceedings.

Requirements and Assessment Overview

This course will operate based on the following presentations, assignments, and examinations.

  • Course materials will be presented in a combination of written notes, video presentations, and interactive participation exercises. Students will also be required to perform outside research for report writing and document preparation. Exams will be placed throughout the lessons to test student understanding of the material.
  • Grading will be based on a cumulative point system with 50% of the points coming from satisfactory completion of the assignments and projects, and 50% from the final exam.
  • Students will work at their own pace through the online format.

Required Resources

Students will be required to have a laptop, pad, or desktop computer to complete the program due to the immersive structure of the assignments. Adobe PDF Reader as well as graphics capabilities will be a requirement for the course study. No outside textbooks will be required, although suggested reading resources will be given throughout the course. The average time to complete this course is 8 weeks, depending on the student work schedule and average of 6 hours of study time per week.

 Policies of this Course

The registration period for this online course is 4 months. Students are expected to complete all course work within this time period. Students unable to complete due to a recognized life event may apply for a time extension. All time extension requests will be considered based on the progress of the student to the date of request, and other factors at the sole discretion of the instructor. Once the 4-month registration period has expired, no extension will be granted.

Qualified students may start this course anytime and study at their own pace. The ISG reserves the right to request confirmation of student credentials and work experience at any time during the registration term.

The student will be given a 3-day grace period in which to request a full refund for tuition paid. After this 3-day review period no further review is allowed, and the student agrees to not attempt any credit card chargeback or refund on their tuition.

Please read the Student Registration Contract Here: Student Registration Contract

Please contact the International School of Gemology for any questions, suggestions, or inquiries about this course.

Section 1IntroductionFree Preview

Introduction to Litigation for Appraisers


Welcome to the International School of Gemology course: Litigation and Expert Witness for Appraisers.  Before you begin this course you need to know one very important issue when becoming an expert witness and litigation consultant: You are ceasing to be just a part of the jewelry industry and becoming a part of the legal industry. Things you may have learned about jewelry appraisal from jewelry industry education organizations of all levels, go out the window here. You are no longer in the jewelry industry here; you are in the litigation industry. You will be playing by rules of law, litigation, and legal procedures.  You are entering an industry with strict adherence to laws, where every word you write will be read, scrutinized, and evaluated by a myriad of lawyers, judges, juries, and other players. Where a typographical, grammatical, procedural, or evidentiary mistake on your part can cost a client millions of dollars depending on the case. You are the expert witness. Your research, reporting, and testimony can make the difference between winning or losing major litigation cases.

This course is going to teach you how to become a part of the litigation industry and establish what can be a very lucrative revenue stream for your appraisal business no matter where you are located.

Section 2The First Rule of Expert Witness
Section 3Setting Up Your Office
Section 4Professional Fees and Payment
Section 5Working With Attorneys
Section 6Investigation Tools and Techniques
Section 7Structuring the Investigative Report
Section 8Deposition Rules and Procedures
Section 9Trial Appearance Rules and Procedures
Section 10Umpire and Appraisal Clause
Section 11Marketing Your Services
Final Quiz