by Geomatrix Productions in Legal Video
No one wants to be outmatched when it comes to their evidence presentation, but a little planning is needed to most effectively use the powerful digital tools now available.
Multimedia technology has precipitated a revolution in the way evidence is conveyed to the courtroom. Video, high definition imagery, and diagrammatic graphics allow us to paint a clearer picture of a legal conflict than ever before, for both juries and judges. Running a successful electronic trial is a challenge that your predecessors did not have to face. But with proper coordination between litigator and technician, success is assured.
Establishing contact early is essential. Schedule an hour-long planning session with your trial tech; this way, you will be able to share media files, digitize hardcopy, and plan for the creation of any timelines, diagrams, or highlighted documents that the presentation will require.
“They’re used to being on their iPads and and computers and many times we feel if we’re presenting the evidence on paper, in sort of an old fashioned way, people aren’t paying attention in the same way.” – Patrick Kennedy, RisCassi & Davis
Getting started is relatively simple, but as you begin to plan your trial, there are a few potential sticking points to be aware of:
When dealing with digital images and documents, always try to secure a copy of the original file. Scanning printed or copied documents can result in a significant degradation of quality. Although a degraded image might look fine at normal magnification, it will become pixelated or blurred if it is enlarged. This can become an issue at trial, when specific details of an image need to be scrutinized closely.
Digitize any exhibits you plan to display in court, and provide them to the technician. This will make it easy to display, highlight, and magnify the files at any time during the trial. Be sure that they are scanned at a resolution of 300 dpi or higher, to avoid the potential magnification issues discussed above.
“You’re putting them up visually in front of them, highlighting the words in the documents, pulling them up while the witness is on the stand… it’s just so much more effective.” – John Kennedy, Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge
If possible, get your exhibits marked for trial before providing them to the technician. If the digital file names are consistent with hardcopy labels, the trial tech will be able to respond quickly if it becomes necessary to deviate from the planned sequence of slides and videos. Bates stamps are a good alternative if pre-marking is not possible.
If your evidence includes video depositions, it is best to pursue a judge’s ruling on any potentially objectionable testimony in advance of the trial, to give the technician time to implement edits. If it is not possible to get an early ruling, be sure to request synchronization of the video and transcript well in advance of the playback date in order to minimize delays during in-court editing.
“I don’t want the attention to be on me. I want the attention to be on the evidence. And that’s what the juries want too.” – Bill Ronalter, Shipman & Goodwin
After you have provided the necessary materials and planned your digital presentation, it’s time to resume your usual pre-trial routine. Remember, the purpose of employing a trial tech is to take the task of running the visual side of the presentation off your plate, so that you are free to focus on the content of your argument. In addition, even if you manage to maintain your concentration, amateurish posters and technical delays can detract from the jury’s comprehension of your case. To minimize uncertainty and keep your head clear during arguments, it is highly advisable to delegate the operation of all multimedia technology to a dedicated professional.
Make sure you have the visual-evidence firepower to win your case. Download our white-paper “Litigation in the Software Age” which presents everything you need to know about successful litigation in the digital-age. From preparations and video depositions to equipment recommendations and securing permissions, this guide is a must-read for all litigators.Download “Litigation in the Digital Age” Now
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