Course Syllabus: Litigation and Expert Witness for Appraisers


This course is part of the ISG forensic gemology education program for professional gemologists and appraisers around the world. 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 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:
  • 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, 11 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.


Course Number:ISG109
Program:  Registered Gemologist Appraiser or Individual Course (below, or) for those in the RGA for Professionals program or who hold a recognized Gemology Diploma.
Lessons: 11
Video Lectures: 21

Certificate of Completion: Yes

Individual Course: $995.00

Go to Individual Course Registration Page