Technological Innovation Calls for Collaboration
More and more civil trial attorneys are using technology to enhance their presentation in the courthouse. Many attorneys call the day before their presentation with designations for a video or a bundle of documents to be presented on an ELMO; and, of course, the presentation goes off without a hitch. However, having zero problems while presenting does not mean the presentation was the best that it could have been. To get the full use of all the recent technological advancements in the field, collaboration is needed.
Trial technicians have evolved past simple A/V support guys who can play videos and show documents. They are now able to assist in emphasizing points, visually flag concerns, and compare documents, images, and exhibits in an abundance of ways that you may not know about until they are brought on as a member of your trial team.
In my last trial, I was brought in to simply perform redactions on an old video and was invited into the war room to work while the attorneys discussed the rest of their trial plan. They expressed severe concerns about an overly complex jury instruction form and wanted to walk the jury through the form and direct how to appropriately fill it out. After a two-week trial and a multipage document with dozens of checkboxes and nearly as many blanks to be filled in, the jury was sure to be lost. Instead of describing a document to the open air, I showed them my case presentation software. I showed the duo how during closing we could present the document, zoom in section by section, literally check boxes, and write suggested values into blanks for the jury to fill in if they agreed with certain points.
Deliberation was over faster than anyone anticipated; and as expected, the jury followed the example and filled out their verdict form to almost exactly match what was presented to them. The team has already brought me on board for their next trial two months away; and we are discussing presentation options, tactics, and enhancements on how to best increase the visual appeal of their case. We’re feeling pretty confident about this next one and are positive we will win the jury over and have their attention throughout the trial. This is something they would be unsure of if they didn’t bring in a trial technician to discuss best presentation practices for trial.