Sales team member and Pittsburgh native Chelsea McMullen grew up knowing she wanted to work in the legal industry. At the same time, she was always fascinated by the hustle and bustle of New York City and knew she would make her way out here one day. Early in her career, Chelsea spent some time working for nonprofits, but grew hungry for a new challenge that would marry her sales background, passion for the law, and her dream of moving to NYC.
When she found the Expert Institute almost 2 years ago, Chelsea was instantly drawn to the company’s startup feel and interdisciplinary approach. She moved to NYC to join the Sales team as a Business Development Associate and never looked back. Now Chelsea’s rocking it on the newly-formed Market Response team, fostering long-term relationships with Expert Institute’s attorney clients and helping them get exactly the right expert witnesses to support their firms’ needs.
We caught up with Chelsea to hear about her experience on the powerhouse Expert Institute Sales team.
What’s your role on the sales team?
I’m part of the Market Response team at Expert Institute, so I handle requests for expert witnesses that are submitted via our website or through inbound calls. Attorneys will request that we find them specific experts to either testify or consult on a case they’re working on. For example, an attorney could come to me saying they need a cardiologist to perform an independent medical examination (IME) of their client and write an expert report.
I get on the line with those attorneys, discuss our process, and walk them through the expected turnaround time and fee structure. I then loop in someone from either our in-house medical staff or the multidisciplinary research team to conduct a formal intake. The researchers and I collaborate to gather case details from the attorney so we can launch a custom search for the ideal expert for that particular case.
What’s the highlight of being on the Market Response team?
It’s really great to watch the relationships with our attorney clients grow from the attorneys not knowing our company at all to using us as an extension of their firm on a 36-month contract. Our clients rely so heavily on us and they love our service, and I get to see how much of an impact Expert Institute has on their case outcomes. I also love that I get to talk to attorneys all over the US and Canada. I’m not limited to any geographic areas on the Market Response team, so I see such a range of cases and expert requests that come in.
Are there any cases that were unusual or exciting for you to work on?
Last year, I had a homicide case that involved a dispute as to the trajectory of the bullet. We found the attorney an accident reconstructionist, a pathologist, and a ballistics expert to investigate the crime scene evidence and write reports. It was definitely one of the most interesting and memorable cases that I’ve worked on here because there were so many facets to the case. And what made it even better was that the attorney himself was jazzed about the case. He was looking to retire soon after, so this was essentially his last shebang. It was a great feeling to rally the Expert Institute team together and help our client end his career on a high note with stellar expert witnesses.
Are there any wins you’re particularly proud of?
Last year, I had a number of clients on 6-month trials who I was preparing to convert to partnership contracts. At the time, the Sales team was transitioning into 24- and 36-month contracts and we began implementing refined language into our terms. With helpful guidance from some of the more senior members of the Sales team, I was able to get these trial firms to sign onto 36-month partnership deals. It was really awesome to see that come to fruition.
What kind of guidance have you received from the senior members of the team?
They’ve really helped me increase the eloquence of my pitches. The senior executives are not only knowledgeable about our business, but they’ve perfected their vernacular. When you’re working with attorneys and legal professionals, a lot of them are really successful and expect the best. So it’s critical to maintain confidence and anticipate their needs. Working with such seasoned teammates and consulting their guidance when I need it have really given me the opportunity to grow as a sales professional. I’ve gotten much better at staying three steps ahead of myself at all times and the team encourages me to stay focused on my goals.
What’s the dynamic like on the Expert Institute Sales team?
The team is actually what attracted me most to the job. Everyone’s really friendly and gets along with each other. At the same time, we’re all united by our end goal of making sure these cases go seamlessly. Doing our jobs successfully requires working together to find these attorneys the right experts for their cases. It’s a great office dynamic to have.
The Sales team also does lots of fun activities together. We’ve gone to dinner at Benihana, which is a great hibachi place. The last time we all got together, we went bowling. We’re a unique team here in that everyone likes to spend time with each other outside of work hours. There aren’t many other firms where coworkers have such a strong bond.
How would you describe the growth of the sales team since you started?
Expansive! When I started, the team was just a handful of members and it was just all hands on deck. If the phone rang, whoever got it got it. Everybody was just trying to bring in as much business as they could.
Now we have policies and procedures to turn to, which is nice because there’s a lot of structure. We have different teams now as well. My role on the Market Response team is completely different from that of someone on the Growth or Enterprise teams. I think the sales team is going to continue to expand in really positive ways.
Any favorite memories with the Expert Institute team?
One of my favorite memories is from a random Friday evening. I had plans to meet some non-work friends for dinner that night. Before heading out, I passed by the office kitchen. Of course I started chit-chatting with people from the Marketing and Research teams. It didn’t take long before a whole group of us had gathered in the kitchen to catch up and have a few beers. Before I knew it, I looked down at my watch and 3 hours had gone by. Needless to say, I told my friends I wasn’t going to make it to dinner.
That night made me realize how much I really enjoy the company of my coworkers. I spend many hours a week here but even on Fridays, I’d rather be here hanging out with my coworkers than anyone else.
What would you say to encourage someone to apply to the Expert Institute Sales Team?
Expert Institute is not only is this a great place to start or grow your sales career, but it’s also a place where you can do rewarding work. We handle a lot of medical malpractice and personal injury cases involving individuals that have experienced devastating circumstances. Our work with their attorneys finds them the best expert witnesses to advocate on their behalf in court. Finding the proper expert can make the difference between an injured party receiving the compensation they deserve or not.
It’s empowering to know that this isn’t just another job — you’re actually changing people’s lives.