Search

Loading

Join 4,800 Subscribers and Get Notified of New Articles Every Week

Your email:

Watch Now: Using PowerPoint Litigation Graphics to Win - Webinar

using powerpoint litigation graphics

Free Litigation Webinars - Watch Now

Featured E-Book: The Patent Litigator's Guide to Trial Presentation & Trial Preparation

patent litigation ebook 3rd edition

Featured Free Download: The Complex Civil Litigation Trial Guide

a2l consultants complex civil litigation trial guide download

Free Webinar - Integrating Expert Evidence & Winning Arguments - Watch Anytime.

expert witness teach science complex subject courtroom webinar

Nationally Acclaimed - Voted #1 Jury Research Firm and #1 Demonstrative Evidence Firm in the U.S.

voted best demonstrative evidence consultants

A2L best demonstrative trial graphics consultants
best demonstrative evidence litigation graphics consultants

Download the (Free) Storytelling for Litigators E-Book

describe the image

Considering Using a Trial Technician at Your Next Trial? Download this first.

trial technicians trial technology atlanta houston new york boston virginia

Featured Free Download: Using Science to Prevail in Your Next Case or Controversy

using science to win at trial litigation jury

Featured FREE A2L E-Book: Using Litigation Graphics Persuasively

using litigation graphics trial graphics trial presentation consultants

Free Jury Consulting & Trial Consulting Guidebook for Litigators

jury consulting trial consultants guide

Timelines Appear In Most Trials - Learn how to get the most out of using trial timelines in this ebook

trial timelines graphics consultants litigators

Featured Complimentary eBook - The 100-page Antitrust Litigation Guide

antitrust ebook a2l litigation consultants

Featured Complimentary eBook - Leadership Lessons for Litigators and Litigation Support

leadership lessons litigation law firms litigation support

Featured E-Book: The Environmental Litigator's Guide to Trial Presentation & Prep

environmental litigation trial presentation trial prep ebook a2l

Authors

KenLopez resized 152

Ken Lopez founded A2L Consulting in 1995. The firm has since worked with litigators from all major law firms on more than 10,000 cases with over $2 trillion cumulatively at stake.  The A2L team is comprised of psychologists, jury consultants, trial consultants, litigation consultants, attorneys and information designers who provide jury consulting, litigation graphics and trial technology.  Ken Lopez can be reached at lopez@A2LC.com.


ryanflax blog litigation consultant 

Ryan H. Flax, Esq., Managing Director, Litigation Consulting, joined A2L Consulting on the heels of practicing Intellectual Property (IP) law as part of the Intellectual Property team at Dickstein Shapiro LLP, a national law firm based in Washington, DC.  Over the course of his career, Ryan has obtained jury verdicts totaling well over $1 billion in damages on behalf of his clients and has helped clients navigate the turbulent waters of their competitors’ patents.  Ryan can be reached at flax@a2lc.com.


dr laurie kuslansky jury consultant a2l consulting
Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D, Managing Director, Trial & Jury Consulting, has conducted over 400 mock trials in more than 1,000 litigation engagements over the past 20 years. Dr. Kuslansky's goal is to provide the highest level of personalized client service possible whether one's need involves a mock trial, witness preparation, jury selection or a mock exercise not involving a jury. Dr. Kuslansky can be reached at kuslansky@A2LC.com.

Posts by Category

Follow A2L Consulting

Member Red Well Blog
ABA Blawg 100 2013 7th annual

A2L Featured Letter of Recommendation

Follow Us on Google+

The Litigation Consulting Report

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

The Top 12 Litigation Consulting Articles from Q2

 

 

top 12 articles a2l consulting litigation consulting report q2by Ken Lopez
Founder/CEO
A2L Consulting

Long time readers of this blog know that we are big on lists. When the American Bar Association named the Litigation Consulting Report one of the top 100 legal industry blogs, even they said, "it's hard to resist the infectious numbered-list headlines that keep us reading their chatty, first-person posts answering questions we hadn't yet thought to ask."

At least once per quarter, I try to highlight recent articles that were unusually popular. It's easy to miss a great article with so much being published weekly. Today, I am highlighting the top twelve articles published last quarter.

During the second quarter of 2014, voir dire, PowerPoint litigation graphics and persuasion were very popular topics. These, plus other predictable terms related to our litigation graphics, jury consulting, in-court trial technology support and visual persuasion consulting services are, not surprisingly, among the top ways people find A2L when they search the Internet.

Recently, the top five search terms for people that found A2L's site all relate to jury selection or witness preparation in some way. Thus, it's not surprising that these consulting services are some of our most in-demand services with mock exercises lining up for end-of-2014 and 2015 trials.

Complimentary Subscription to This Blog

Enjoy the top 12 articles from the Litigation Consulting Report blog from the second quarter of 2014:
 

12. 5 Tips for Displaying Documents Well at Trial [CVN Video]

share on twittershare on LinkedIn

11. The 13 Biggest Reasons to Avoid Last-Minute Trial Preparation

share on twittershare on LinkedIn

10. The Magic of a 30:1 Presentation Preparation Ratio

share on twittershare on LinkedIn

9. Good-Looking Graphic Design ≠ Good-Working Visual Persuasion

share on twittershare on LinkedIn

8. 5 Ways to Apply Active Teaching Methods for Better Persuasion

share on twittershare on LinkedIn

7. Hurry Up and Wait - Using Silence in Depositions

share on twittershare on LinkedIn

6. What is Visual Persuasion and What Do You Need to Know About It?

share on twittershare on LinkedIn

5. 4 Tips for Stealing Thunder in the Courtroom

share on twittershare on LinkedIn

4. Walking the Line: Don't Coach Your Experts (Re: Apple v. Samsung)

share on twittershare on LinkedIn

3. 7 Ways to Avoid Making Your PowerPoint Slides Your Handout

share on twittershare on LinkedIn

2. Top 15 Litigation E-Books & Webinars from the Past 12 Months

share on twittershare on LinkedIn

1. 5 Voir Dire Questions to Avoid

share on twittershare on LinkedIn

 

litigation consulting graphics jury trial technology

About A2L Consulting

•  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

•  Personnel nationwide

•  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

•  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


Claim a FREE Subscription to this Blog - The Litigation Consulting Report - Quarterly iPad Giveaways for Subscribers


3 Articles Discussing What Jurors Really Think About You

 

 

what do jurors think about lawyersby Ken Lopez
Founder/CEO
A2L Consulting

I enjoy reading any article about juror feedback. However, finding such articles is pretty tough. Few authors have the time, budget or access to jurors to ask them what they think about the experience of trial and the lawyers involved.

As a litigation consultant, I have had the privilege of seeing many trials and mock trials over the past 20 years. In that time, I've observed certain characteristics that all mock juries possess. My colleague, Dr. Laurie Kuslansky, wrote a great article about commonalities among mock juries that is one of the best I have seen on the subject. Still, while we litigation consultants spend quite a bit of time with juries and mock juries, there is real value in hearing what others, such as judges and law professors have observed through study.

Below are three articles that offer meaningful insight into the minds of jurors. I think by reviewing these articles, any litigator will be better prepared for trial.

1. What Jurors Think About Attorneys: What if a judge collected data over a ten-year period from more than 500 jurors and compiled it in a meaningful way? Well, that is exactly what one Minnesota state court judge did, and the recently published results are fascinating.

Eighty-nine percent of this judge's jury trials were criminal. His goal in surveying his juries was to collect data about many aspects of the trial from the court building to the evidence displayed to the performance of counsel. The jurors were mostly from a rural part of the state.

You should read Judge Hoolihan's article. I found some of the interesting takeaways to be these:

  • Jurors tended to rate attorneys highest when they represented the prevailing party. From the data, I can't tell whether jurors tended to side with the attorneys that they liked best, or whether the high ratings were the result of a form of the Ben Franklin effect where jurors tended to like the people they sided with more, simply because they sided with them.
     
  • Jurors rated defense lawyers lower than plaintiff-side lawyers who were mostly prosecutors. Judge Hoolihan wonders whether this results from an anti-defense lawyer bias generated by Hollywood, but I would ask whether this is because the government generally has an advantage. I suspect it is mostly the latter.
     
  • Jurors tended to rate defense attorneys much lower when they lost a case compared to the ratings of plaintiff side attorneys when they lost.
     
  • Jurors wanted to see and hear more evidence.

  Complimentary Subscription to This Blog

2. Trial Presentation Too Slick? Here's Why You Can Stop Worrying: I wrote this article in 2011, and the real focus of the article is on a trial consultant who smartly took the time to interview a jury post-trial and record it. The results are fascinating, especially when you consider that this was a rural Arkansas jury. The jurors shared that:

  • Jurors expect the use of technology.

  • Jurors expect the use of PowerPoint.
     
  • Video depositions synced with the transcript were very helpful.
     

3. What Jurors Think About Trials [PDF]: In this book chapter from a law professor at Northwestern University Law School, the surprisingly limited scientific study of jury trials is well-summarized. Here are some interesting findings:

  • About 40 percent of all jurors initially want to get out of jury duty. When they were done with jury service though, more than 60 percent thought highly of jury service.

  •  40 percent of jurors thought jury selection lasted too long.

  • Jurors "are active information processors who bring expectations and preconceptions with them to the jury box, filling in missing blanks and using their prior knowledge about the world to draw inferences from the evidence they receive at trial."

  • 51 percent of jurors wonder why certain people mentioned at trial did not testify. 27 percent of jurors held that very lack of testimony against the side that did not call the witness.

  • 83 percent of jurors in civil trials said that an exhibit helped them reach a decision. 
     
  • 30 percent of civil trial jurors say that the verdict ultimately reached was not the majority viewpoint when deliberations started.
I find many of these statistics fascinating and helpful, and I hope you do too. If you are aware of similar articles that discuss the scientific study of jurors, I would encourage you to post them in the comments section below.

Here are more than 80 additional articles and free downloadable books on A2L Consulting's site related to how juries think and behave:

jury consulting trial consulting jury research

About A2L Consulting

•  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

•  Personnel nationwide

•  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

•  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


Claim a FREE Subscription to this Blog - The Litigation Consulting Report - Quarterly iPad Giveaways for Subscribers


The Top 14 TED Talks Talks for Lawyers and Litigators 2014

 

 


top ted talks for lawyers litigatorsby Ken Lopez

Founder/CEO
A2L Consulting

In 2012, I wrote an article called The Top 10 TED Talks for Lawyers. Back then, most readers didn't know what TED was. Now, just a couple of years later, a majority of people have heard of TED and most have usually seen at least one TED talk. Over the last several years, a number of TED offshoot events were launched that dramatically increased the footprint and influence of TED and its "ideas worth sharing." TEDx events are TED-like speaker conferences but are independently organized and usually quite local. TEDed videos are informative videos produced and posted online to teach about a particular topic of interest.

The list of TED talks I put together for lawyers and litigators in 2012 still holds up nicely, and I encourage you to browse it. In it, I included talks that focused on storytelling, neuroscience, juries and the legal system generally. For 2014, I want to share new videos on those same topics and also highlight a subject that the legal industry is passionate about: persuasion.

Even though lawyers engage in persuasion all the time, and it is at the core of the work we do, persuasion is something most are street-smart about, not book-smart. In other words, most people's knowledge of how to persuade tends to come naturally or is attained by observing how other talented persuaders behave.

I spend a great deal of time reading about the science of persuasion, studying those who do it well and practicing the craft myself. I tend to separate visual persuasion and oral persuasion, but they are, of course, fundamentally interrelated as many of these TED talks touch on. Across our service areas at A2L, persuasion is central to our jury consulting and our litigation graphics consulting practices. Thus, it is something we are consciously doing as litigation consultants and as visual persuasion consultants every day.

I hope that you enjoy my top 14 TED talks for lawyers of 2014 and can use these videos to improve your skills as a lawyer and litigator:
 

14. Influence at Work: Proven Science for Business Success: "Rarely, in isolation, does information influence or persuade us." At A2L, this sentence rings true with our core belief system and offers the primary reason our firm is hired by so many litigators. This speaker does a good job of discussing how information can overwhelm and introduces proven scientific techniques for persuasion. There are good lessons here for how to communicate with jurors.

 

13. Storytelling, Psychology and Neuroscience: A graduate student explains the connection between these three concepts in a way that would be useful for most lawyers to understand.

 

12. The Science of Stage Fright (and how to overcome it): I have seen many litigators with dozens of years of experience get nervous, sometimes distractingly so, in court. This TEDed presentation discusses the physiological effects of stage fright and how to overcome fear of public speaking.

 

11. Why We Should Trust Scientists: Frequently, litigation involves science. This talk provides a good framework for explaining why we should believe in science. It can be a useful guide for helping to explain to a jury why your expert is correct.

 

10. The Impact of Persuasion: As many TED speakers discuss, Don Norman discusses how social proof influences our behavior and other scientific concepts of persuasion. These concepts are useful to keep in mind when communicating with judges and juries.

 

9. The Aesthetics of Decision Making: The hero's journey is discussed and the real truths about how decisions are made are revealed.


8. Persuasion: Influencing the Rational Decision Maker:
A shopper strategy consultant discusses how people make decisions. Many lessons for persuasive visual communications are discussed.

 

7. Hear "Yes" More Often with the Science of Influence: This speaker discusses how to use influence and persuasion based on the latest science. Concepts such as information social influence, authority and reciprocity, are discussed.

 

6. 3 Ways the Brain Creates Meaning. Information designer Tom Wuject discusses something near and dear to me: how the brain processes visual imagery and makes meaning out of it. The applicability here for litigators is wide ranging. In particular, the techniques discussed here are excellent for case preparation in complex cases. Furthermore, he lays out some of the fundamental reasons that litigation graphics are essential in every single trial.


5. The Mystery of Storytelling: This TED Talk helps explain why most storytelling fails and offers a methodology for telling good stories. We have talked a lot about storytelling, written a book on the topic and even offer a recorded version of our popular storytelling for litigators webinar for free. This talk complements our work well by offering a structure for a good story.


4. How Your Working Memory Makes Sense of the World:
This talk focuses on the something we discuss frequently on our blog, namely, working memory. If you understand how working memory operates, you can better understand how to persuade an audience. In a nutshell, people have a very limited working memory. Thus, what we present at trial must be incredibly simplified and properly structured.

 

3. Leadership Storytelling: "Most stories do not work." Stories must be true, must be positive, must be simple and must contrast the before and after to be effective. Consider this when putting together your next opening or closing.

 

2. The Power of Story: PR agent Greg Power discusses why storytelling works.


1. How to Avoid Death by PowerPoint:
At A2L, we frequently write about how best to use PowerPoint, and how we work with litigators, CEOs and advocates to find the best ways to persuade using this tool. This speaker does a good job of summarizing many of our beliefs about what works best when persuading with PowerPoint. I don't agree on every point (e.g. the use of dark backgrounds), but we agree on almost every point. If you'd like to learn more about our recommendations for how to use PowerPoint, read our articles on the topic, download a free book we have written about it or watch our popular webinar about persuading with PowerPoint.

 

I hope that you have found this list helpful. If there are other good TED talks for lawyers, litigators or anyone seeking to persuade an audience, please post a link to them in the comments below.

Here are some related A2L Consulting articles about persuasion and the topics discussed in this article:

litigation consulting graphics jury trial technology

About A2L Consulting

•  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

•  Personnel nationwide

•  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

•  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


Claim a FREE Subscription to this Blog - The Litigation Consulting Report - Quarterly iPad Giveaways for Subscribers


The 13 Biggest Reasons to Avoid Last-Minute Trial Preparation

 

 

trial preparation litigation consultantsby Ken Lopez
Founder/CEO
A2L Consulting

When someone first works in the litigation consulting industry, the last-minute nature of trial preparation very often shocks them. In my experience, about half of all trial teams spend months or years preparing and testing themes, rhetorical strategies, and different approaches to their visual trial presentation. The other half of trial teams jam all trial preparation into the last month or two before trial.

No one approach is right for everyone, and I have certainly seen both approaches work well. After all if you are forced to prepare at the last minute, you're forced to simplify a case, and that's a good strategy for bench and jury trials. On the other hand, the ability to test and refine elements of the case is now a real science, and any case can benefit from a mock trial, the recommendations of litigation experts and other sophisticated testing.

While both strategies can work, when possible, I think slow and steady trial preparation wins the race more often. Still, we do great work in the last month before trial all the time, and sometimes there is just no other option. For those times when you have a choice, below are 12 reasons why last minute trial preparation might just set you back far enough to warrant starting now.

1. Last-minute costs more. I fear that some litigators believe that fewer hours available means lower cost for trial preparation. The opposite is usually true. Last-minute means your litigation consulting consultants have to use available staff rather than the ideal staff for a project. Often this leads to the use of more expensive staff and higher costs. Further, last minute trial preparation normally means using many more people to achieve the same result within a safe margin of error.

2. Building a good story takes time. We've written quite a bit about storytelling in the courtroom, we've published a book about storytelling in litigation, and we even have a webinar you can watch any time devoted to courtroom storytelling. The connection between storytelling and persuasion is a close one as scientific studies are increasingly proving. Unfortunately, like a fine wine, crafting a persuasive story is not something that should be rushed.

3. Maximizing persuasion in your litigation graphics takes time. Anyone can make a PowerPoint presentation quickly using a template and a few bullet points. However, as I wrote recently, Good-Looking Graphic Design ≠ Good-Working Visual Persuasion. If it's done well, it will be hard to do, require expertise and it will take time. I've written before about how the litigation graphics you don't use contribute enormously to your presentation, and an indicator of a good presentation is how full your trash can of unused litigation graphics is. To get to the point where you can reject some and keep others requires time for the creative process. See also, 16 PowerPoint Litigation Graphics You Won't Believe Are PowerPoint.

4. Getting your trial technology configured takes time. Rush or ignore your technology set up and months of preparation can be for naught. There's no winning back your credibility after a technology flub, a courtroom delay or an outright technological failure.

5. Mock trials really work. Mock trials are not about predicting precisely what will happen at trial as many lesser jury consultants might suggest. Rather, mock trials are useful for understanding how a judge or jury will react to the case, learning how an expert will perform, learning from practice what really works in your approach, learning your ideal juror profile, understanding your opposition's case and for helping to find those levers that will give you an edge at trial. See 7 Reasons In-House Counsel Should Want a Mock TrialWhy Do I Need A Mock Trial If There Is No Real Voir Dire?, 6 Good Reasons to Conduct a Mock Trial and 11 Problems with Mock Trials and How to Avoid Them. We have done a mock trial two-weeks before trial, but it is not an ideal approach. It is normally best to complete your final mock months before trial to give time for analysis and adjustment.

6. You wouldn't play a World Cup game without practicing (Congratulations to the U.S. team for advancing to the final 16 today!), why would you go to trial without some serious practice? See The Magic of a 30:1 Presentation Preparation RatioThe Very Best Use of Coaches in Trial Preparation3 Ways to Force Yourself to Practice Your Trial Presentation, and Practice, Say Jury Consultants, is Why Movie Lawyers Perform So Well.

7. Failing to understand the courtroom layout is a problem. Every court is different. Some will not accommodate an electronic presentation. Some do not easily accommodate a printed trial board. Some judges won't allow either. If you don't know these things in advance, you're setting yourself up for trouble and this all takes time to sort out.

8. There's every chance you'll win or lose in opening, so it's critical to get it right. See 6 Reasons The Opening Statement is The Most Important Part of a Case. Taking time to prepare your opening using modern approaches for drafting an opening statement requires ample lead time. See 7 Ways to Draft a Better Opening Statement and How to Structure Your Next Speech, Opening Statement or Presentation.

9. Too much gut. When trial preparation time is limited, a litigation team has to rely too heavily on its gut instincts and not enough on a scientific analysis of what will work. The good news is that successful litigators have the best people-focused gut instincts I've ever seen. However, great instincts coupled with great analysis, science, an outside perspective and modern trial expertise are always better.

10. You'll never be as confident as when you're well-prepared. Many in the litigation industry are great actors when it comes to feigning belief, indignation, and passion. It's part of the job. However, people can read subtle clues. If you're truly prepared and you know you are, confidence will come through. There's just no substitute for it, and it's not something that can be downloaded Matrix-style.

12. Settlement is less likely. As my colleague Dr. Laurie Kuslansky wrote in Don't Be the 2% - 6 Ways to Encourage Settlement with Trial Prep, there are so many ways to prepare for a case that simultaneously encourage settlement. When you prep a witness and test them and when you run a mock trial and understand strengths and weaknesses of a case, you are necessarily in a strong position to consider settlement. These steps take time.

13. Fewer Choices: When a student skips college, there's no reason they can't be as or more successful than a college graduate, but their options for success are more limited. The same is true with trial preparation. A trial team who waits until the last minute to prepare has fewer choices for how to prepare. I always prefer more choices, and I think most litigators and clients feel similarly.
 

complex civil litigation ebook free

Other A2L Consulting articles relating to trial preparation, litigation graphics and mock trial work:

 

About A2L Consulting

•  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

•  Personnel nationwide

•  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

•  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


Claim a FREE Subscription to this Blog - The Litigation Consulting Report - Quarterly iPad Giveaways for Subscribers


Mid-2014 Economic Outlook for the Litigation Industry

 

 

legal industry economics litigation consultingby Ken Lopez
Founder/CEO
A2L Consulting

Over the past couple of Decembers I've written articles offering an economic forecast for the coming year with a focus on litigation. These writings serve both to spread useful information to the legal industry and to help me to plan A2L's budget for the coming year. I thought a mid-year update might be valuable in these challenging economic times.

One might reasonably ask, if the focus is litigation, why would one look at the economy as a whole? First, there is no reliable litigation spending index that I am aware of, and second, my observation is that big-ticket civil litigation largely tracks the economy. When the economy is growing, litigation spending goes up. When the economy is shrinking or there is economic uncertainty (e.g. terrorist threats, massive changes to entitlement programs, election years etc.), cases settle and litigation spending shrinks.

While there are plenty of exceptions, many of A2L clients are large law firms with large corporations as customers. Large corporations are especially reactive to economic shifts. Indeed, for the most part, they are the economy, with Fortune 500 revenues now roughly equal to 78% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (important note: not all of these revenues count toward U.S. GDP, such as overseas sales, so the actual percentage of GDP is much lower).

For the past 10 years, I've been watching one composite leading indicator from ECRI that does an excellent job of predicting the economy 6-9 months in the future. Last December, I observed that the U.S. economy was generally in a downtrend and that 2014 would look a lot like 2013 for litigation. That's largely held true unfortunately, and the economic news out today showing a massive Q1 contraction (revised way downward) is simply shocking. Perhaps though, there is a bit to be optimistic about.

Looking first at the bad news, in the first quarter (last quarter), we all saw the economy shrink by a historic 2.9%. To put that into perspective, look at the chart below to see the last few points in time we saw a contraction at or worse than today's level.

gdp contraction chart q1

That's right. The first quarter of 2014 is similar to points in 2009, 1991, 1983 and 1981. Yikes. That's pretty bad. To make matters worse, both the Federal Reserve and the Congressional Budget Office are forecasting painfully lackluster growth in the 2% range for the foreseeable future.

The only bright spots I am seeing are a meaningful uptick in the leading indicators and anecdotal evidence that our litigation practice is busy and looks to be setting up for an even busier 2015. We already have quite a number of mock trials being scheduled in 2014 for 2015 trials. Looking at the charts below, you can begin to see the difference between December's outlook and today's outlook. To quickly understand the charts, know that the green line represents a forecast about 8 months in the future from the date below any point. The blue line represents what actually happened at a given point in time in the economy. Even more simply, up is good, down is bad.

Last December 2013:

litigation market forecast 2014 ecri

Now (June 2014)

June 2014 economic outlook

The takeaway from the leading indicators here is this: In December of 2013, a downturn was forecast to continue (green line, upper chart). That downturn is reflected in the blue line in the lower chart stretching from October 2013 to March 2014. A modest uptick is forecast (green line, lower chart) that appears to run from roughly May 2014 through at least the end of the year. Let's hope that picks up steam.

For litigation, I would say things look slightly better than a year ago and much better than they did six months ago. The Q2 GDP number will be one to watch after it is revised a couple of times. I'm sure it will come out positive initially (they always seem to lately). The question will be whether it is revised to be negative later this year. If so, we would have two consecutive quarters of negative growth - an official recession. If that happens, you can bet Fortune 500s will cut back. They'll likely cut back on litigation modestly based on the Q1 number and wait for good news. If Q2 comes in negative, litigation spending cuts will likely get even deeper.

Articles related to the economics of the litigation market, law firm sales, pricing and more on A2L Consulting's site:

litigation consulting graphics jury trial technology

About A2L Consulting

•  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

•  Personnel nationwide

•  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

•  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


Claim a FREE Subscription to this Blog - The Litigation Consulting Report - Quarterly iPad Giveaways for Subscribers


The BIG List of All 337 Litigation Consulting Report Articles

 

 

litigation consulting report big listby Ken Lopez
Founder/CEO
A2L Consulting

Since 2011, we have published 337 articles on the Litigation Consulting Report blog. Our blog has been named one of the industry's best by the American Bar Association and now, five or ten people subscribe every day for free.

The amount of valuable content available at no charge is overwhelming. You can read articles organized by topic using the tags that appear in the lower right column of this blog. You can download e-books that organize articles into useful subject areas, and you can search A2L's entire 1200-page site by using the search field at the top of the right column.

Still, it's a lot of content to get your arms around. With this in mind, today I am listing all 337 articles below organized into five topic areas:

  • Litigation Graphics: includes articles about PowerPoint use at trial, animation, how one should use litigation graphics consultants, practice area specific graphics and more.
  • Jury & Trial Consulting: includes those articles that relate to the role of a jury or trial consultant, how to structure mock exercises and those articles that discuss how best to communicate with a judge or jury.
  • Trial Technology: includes articles about the best traits of a trial technician, how best to deploy technology in the courtroom, how to avoid technology problems and more.
  • E-Books & Webinars: provides a list of many of our e-books and webinars released over the past three years.
  • General: covers topics like economic conditions, witness preparation, tips for trial, storytelling, making presentations outside the courtroom and those articles that cut across multiple subject areas.
In each category, articles are listed newest first. I encourage you to browse for information that might be helpful to you, and I always welcome questions that you may have (lopez@A2LC.com). Social sharing and email article buttons are available on every article.

Litigation Graphics

Jury & Trial Consulting

Trial Technology and Trial Technicians

E-Books & Webinars

General

litigation consulting graphics jury trial technology

 

 

About A2L Consulting

•  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

•  Personnel nationwide

•  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

•  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


Claim a FREE Subscription to this Blog - The Litigation Consulting Report - Quarterly iPad Giveaways for Subscribers


5 Valuable (and Free) Complex or Science-Focused Litigation Resources

 

by Ken Lopez
Founder/CEO
A2L Consulting

Over the past 15 years, A2L Consulting has partnered with Innovative Science Solutions (ISS) on everything from tobacco litigation to hydraulic fracturing to alleged health effects of cell phones. Along the way, we have learned, often by overcoming enormous challenges, how to make science your ally.

Here are 5 completely free litigation resources based on that combined experience that I'd like to share with you:

floating-david-schwartz-issNew! This Wednesday!  Register: The Five Keys to Effective Scientific Information Management -  If you’re an attorney or someone who works with attorneys dealing with complex science-based litigation, you don’t want to miss this. All you have to do to register is click here for the 10am presentation or here for the 3pm presentation. If you have any questions you can contact Dr. David Schwartz directly at schwartz@innovativescience.net.

using-science-to-win-at-trial-200Read: Using Science to Prevail in Your Next Case or Controversy -  This book explores the unique relationship between science and the law. By looking at how your experts testify, how causation is established and how to explain science in an understandable way to jurors, this ebook breaks new ground for litigators.


experts-meld-evidence-with-argumentsNew!  Whitepaper: How Can Litigators Meld Expert Evidence with Winning Arguments - In this document, we have summarized many of the points we made in a webinar of the same name about how to identify, vet and prepare experts and how to develop winning demonstrative exhibits for expert testimony.

Watch: How Can Litigators Meld Expert Evidence with Winning Arguments - In this one-hour and fifteen minute webinar, Dr. David Schwartz shares how sophisticated litigation teams use both testifying and consulting experts to stay on message. Litigator turned litigation consultant Ryan Flax shares what he's learned about explaining complicated subject matter while trying complex cases for a dozen years. Ted Dunkelberger describes how to pick the best experts and how to make sure they are ready for trial. Watch now.

Read: What is the Value of Litigation Consulting? - We released it last month, and it has been one of our most popular litigation e-books to date already viewed by thousands of people. In it, we break down advice for litigators and ROI for clients into separate sections for litigation graphics, jury consulting and trial technology support. Download now.


Other articles and resources on A2L Consulting's site related to handing complex civil litigation, science-focused litigation and expert witnesses.

complex civil litigation ebook free

About A2L Consulting

•  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

•  Personnel nationwide

•  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

•  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


Claim a FREE Subscription to this Blog - The Litigation Consulting Report - Quarterly iPad Giveaways for Subscribers


9 Ways Prepping for Trial is Like Being a Dad of Triplets

 

 

triplet dad trial prepby Ken Lopez
Founder/CEO
A2L Consulting

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.

As a dad of triplets, I have a unique perspective on fatherhood.

Sure, there are many dads with many more kids, but until you've had to learn how to feed three infants simultaneously, how to keep track of three similar-looking people in a crowd, or how to negotiate a quick settlement in a heated dispute over who will wear that special dress over the coming week, you just have not lived the life of a triplet dad.

As I head into Father's Day weekend, I'm thinking about all of the questions I regularly get asked by friends and strangers alike. Are they triplets? Are they all yours? How do you do it?

The 'how do you do it' question in particular reminds me of the work we do as lawyers or as litigation consultants engaging in trial preparation. So, it is with a blend of tongue firmly planted in cheek and with some real-life lessons that I share the 9 ways that trial preparation and trial itself are similar to being a triplet dad.

  1. Storytelling is essential: Just as my six-year-old girls are mesmerized by my nightly reading of Harry Potter, your jury will best be persuaded if you incorporate storytelling into your trial presentation. Here's a free book we've written about storytelling and here is a free webinar on litigation storytelling you can watch anytime.
     
  2. Outsource to experts: Similar to the way my wife and I relied on a triplet baby nurse to help our premature infants get a healthy start in life and to learn to sleep through the night, it is best to rely on outside trial experts who go to trial dozens or even hundreds of times per year for jury consulting, litigation graphics, persuasion consulting and trial technology consulting.

  3. If it's working, don't change it: One thing I learned early on in fatherhood was that if three kids are happy, don't change anything. I often see many parents interrupt a perfectly content child to get them to do something else, and I don't get that unless you disapprove of what they are doing. The same is true for trial preparation. If you are consistently successful using a particular approach, why change it? If you think times are changing and you need to adapt, then do so before you get a bad result. Claiming a free subscription to this litigation blog is a good way to stay one step ahead.

  4. Don't lose your cool: Whether you are parenting or whether you are working with your trial team on the eve of trial, you just can't lose your cool with so much at stake. Here are some good resources that can help: 10 Signs the Pressure is Getting to You and What to Do About It and When a Good Trial Team Goes Bad: The Psychology of Team Anxiety.

  5. Prepare for the unexpected: Just as one must prepare for the unexpected on a family outing, your trial preparation is only good to the degree that you've tested it's weak points. This is why we advocate for highly-structured mock trials. There is no better preparation tool available for a serious litigator. Here are five great resources related to mock trials:
     
    1. 6 Good Reasons to Conduct a Mock Trial
    2. 7 Reasons In-House Counsel Should Want a Mock Trial
    3. 12 Astute Tips for Meaningful Mock Trials
    4. 11 Problems with Mock Trials and How to Avoid Them
    5. 10 Things Every Mock Jury Ever Has Said
       
  6. Scheduled events make for smooth sailing: Sometimes I think both trial preparation and parenting are conducted on too much of an ad hoc basis. My wife works in real estate which can take up large chunks of some weekends. As she does when I am working, I plan activities in the outdoors or at any one of thousands of interesting places to go in the DC-area. The kids have fun, they usually learn something, and I have fun. Contrast this with an ad hoc approach of waking up and waiting until the last minute to decide what to do. It rarely generates good results. The same is true for trial. Perfect planning prevents poor performance. Use our one-year from trial calendar to plan your mock trial schedule and other trial preparation to take an organized approach to trial prep.
     
  7. Use compelling and persuasive visuals: Whether kids, a jury, your colleagues or the general public, learning how to teach and persuade with visuals is critical since more than two-thirds of the people prefer to learn this way. Here are five great resources related to litigation graphics:
     
    1. 16 PowerPoint Litigation Graphics You Won't Believe Are PowerPoint
    2. [Download New E-Book] Using Litigation Graphics to Persuade
    3. Persuasive Graphics: How Pictures Are Increasingly Influencing You
    4. Good-Looking Graphic Design ≠ Good-Working Visual Persuasion
    5. 16 Litigation Graphics Lessons for Mid-Sized Law Firms
       
  8. Don't be afraid to go outside: The picture above is of my kids when my wife and I were headed out for date night recently. The kids are sad to see us go, but as any parent knows, spending time as a couple is critical for parental happiness. For those preparing for trial, the lesson here is to remember to get outside of your daily routine and daily circles when preparing for trial. Talk to litigation consultants, talk to your colleagues and talk to your family about the case. It's amazing how commonsense insights can go overlooked when one is too in their own head.
     
  9. Celebrate success and remember time flies: In the context of trial, my favorite trial teams are those that schedule a thank you lunch, take our people out for drinks or even give us post-trial mementos to remember the great work we did together. The litigators who lead these teams are the best in the business. They know that recognition and a kind gesture creates loyalty for life. In the parenting context, I'll highlight something one of my friends did recently. Seeing his daughter growing up fast, he wrote her a song. Then, in an effort to connect more deeply with her, they flew to Nashville, they rented a studio, they hired a band and they recorded the song. They did something similar for a video. For all the dads out there, but especially those with daughters, the video below is heartwarming and a good reminder to cherish the time you have, celebrate the people around you and make the everyday moments count.

I hope this article provided some useful reminders. Happy Father's Day.

 

About A2L Consulting

•  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

•  Personnel nationwide

•  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

•  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


Claim a FREE Subscription to this Blog - The Litigation Consulting Report - Quarterly iPad Giveaways for Subscribers


5 Tips for Displaying Documents Well at Trial [CVN Video]

 

 

document highlight callout trial technology technicianby Ken Lopez
Founder/CEO
A2L Consulting

Have you noticed how hard it is for lawyers at medium and large law firms to improve the way they try cases?

First, with so much pressure to bill hours, who has the time to watch a trial live and learn from it. Second, it's not like law school prepared any of us to try a case all that well. Third, there are other demands on a litigator's time such as the push to market and sell to new clients. Fourth, very few clients would be willing to pay a litigator to watch a trial even if it was similar to a client's case, involved opposing experts, was being tried by the same judge, or even if it involved the same opposing counsel.

Add to these points the fact that most litigators may only make it to trial once every couple of years, and you have to ask: How is a litigator supposed to learn to be a litigator?

CLEs? In-house training? Neither are all that effective. One might hope to watch trials on TV, but Court TV essentially ceased useful operations, and the trials that are televised are not normally being tried by America's best trial counsel.

So, in the spirit of improving the way cases are tried, I'm thrilled to make an announcement that I hope will offer one new method for litigators, whether green or veteran, to improve the way they try cases.

In partnership with the Courtroom View Network (CVN), starting today, A2L Consulting will begin publishing a series of articles that will use video collected by CVN, the premier provider of video in the courts, to help teach lessons and offer tips using real trials.

Today's video allows us to examine how best to use document callouts and how best to work with your trial technician. In the Wisconsin lead paint product liability case of Thomas v. Mallett, plaintiff's trial counsel uses highlighted documents to make a point during closing arguments (2-minute clip below).

Counsel is wise to rely on images of old documents to describe the appropriate standard for warning plaintiff about the dangers of lead-based paints. The age of the documents gives them more weight and suggests that the long list of defendants had ample notice.

Counsel is also smart to rely on another person to run the electronic evidence display for him. It's not clear whether the person is an experienced trial technician or part of counsel's staff.

Counsel is also smart to use highlighting on the documents as part of the trial presentation. It's not clear whether these highlights were made in Trial Director or were simply handled in PowerPoint. I suspect the latter.

There are a handful of areas where counsel could have improved how they displayed these documents. Here are five ways any trial attorney can improve the way they display documents at trial.

  1. Live Callouts and Highlights: In contrast to the video above, when possible, A2L's trial technicians prefer to create highlights and callouts live as shown in this video linked here focused on the use of Trial Director in trial and arbitrations. While this technique requires a skilled and experienced trial technician, the live highlighting gives the experience more authenticity, and I believe it draws jurors into the experience better than a canned highlight.

  2. Practice. Clearly a bit more practice with the trial technician would have led to a smoother trial presentation in the Thomas v. Mallett case. There is some unnecessary back and forth on the slides. Slides are shown out of order, and I'm not a big fan of counsel saying "next slide" unless they are way off script. I prefer a polished approach that is typical of high-end trial techs and litigators. See 11 Traits of Great Courtroom Trial Technicians and 8 Trial Technician-Related Tips for Midsized Law Firms.

  3. Don't Show Your Back. I don't think it is a good idea to turn your back on any audience to look at a slide and that certainly includes a jury. If A2L were handling the technology set up in the courtroom, we would have positioned a display so that counsel always knew which slide was being shown on screen without turning around.

  4. More Refinement. I would have considered a more polished look for the document callouts. There are many ways to handle a document callout at trial, and I think the approach used in Thomas v. Mallet case looks a bit cheap. Jurors today expect a high-tech approach not a small-town lawyer approach.

  5. Legibility. Some of the callouts have the text retyped and some do not. Unless it is advantageous to make text illegible, I generally prefer to see a retyped callout or one that is created live as described in #1 above. Furthermore, a pet peeve of mine is when someone creates a highlight by simply drawing a transparent yellow box in PowerPoint over the text being highlighted thus making it gray and harder to read. It's more work, but a professional litigation graphics firm like ours would separate the text from the background and layer it OVER the yellow box. This way you get clear dark text PLUS the highlight effect.

After a five-week trial, the jury found for the defendants in this case. Video from this trial and countless others can be purchased at CVN.

Articles related to using trial technicians, using document callouts and highlights and using trial technology that appear on A2L Consulting's site appear below:

trial technician trial technology courtroom technology consultants new york texas florida california boston virginia

About A2L Consulting

•  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

•  Personnel nationwide

•  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

•  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


Claim a FREE Subscription to this Blog - The Litigation Consulting Report - Quarterly iPad Giveaways for Subscribers


Good-Looking Graphic Design ≠ Good-Working Visual Persuasion

 

 

goldfish visual persuasionby Ken Lopez
Founder/CEO
A2L Consulting

All of a sudden, presenters are waking up to an unfamiliar world. Audiences are demanding more than pretty pictures from their presenters. Now, instead of thinking a presentation is good because it foregos bullet points and instead uses stock photos like the ubiquitous jumping goldfish, audiences are demanding higher quality visuals and more efficiently delivered content. 

Let's consider the progression of modern presentations, and I'll offer a view into the near future:

  • 1990s - Where it used to be sufficient to talk, visual aids are demanded.
  • 2000s - Where it used to be sufficient to use visual aids, electronic PowerPoint presentations are demanded.
  • early 2010s - Where it used to be sufficient to use text-heavy PowerPoint slides, less text and more pictures are demanded.
  • (the near future) late 2010s - Where it used to be sufficient to use more pictures, visual persuasion is demanded.

No longer are audiences satisfied by the mere conveyance of information, no matter how attractively it is presented. They are demanding more from presenters in two key areas.

First, audiences are demanding high-quality, not just pretty, visuals. We just can't use a few stock images downloaded from Getty or ShutterStock and hope to be persuasive or received well. Using such imagery increasingly feels cheap. One or two stock photos in a presentation works, but one on every other slide is the visual equivalent of using many long block quotes from other authors in an article you "wrote" with an occasional original sentence mixed in. Sure, you've assembled the content, but you're really just repurposing the work of others who are outside of your organization. Instead, create your own visuals. Don't be afraid to take a photo yourself that tells a story. These will land better, allow you use storytelling and be more memorable.

Second, visual efficiency is more important than ever. That does not necessarily mean fewer slides. Rather, it means using clean design that allow the audience to understand your point very quickly, and it means using a charts, images and data to tell stories clearly and quickly. Remember, reading text that is also on screen is a recipe for utter failure. The best idea is to always combine the oral and visual message rather than duplicate the message.

The goal of most presentations is to demand action, whether a sales pitch, a closing argument, a report to a client or an internal presentation. Simply, the goal is to persuade.

How one organizes a presentation can have enormous impact on how it persuades. How well one uses storytelling will affect your outcome. However, how pretty the presentation is will usually not move the needle as much as using science-based persuasion techniques. This is why simply hiring a talented graphic designer to "spruce up" your presentation will make you look more professional, but that work will most likely not affect your overall persuasiveness.

Fundamentally, the lack of connection between pretty graphics and persuasive graphics explains the need for coupling science with design when persuasion is the goal.

Other A2L Consulting articles related to visual persuasion, developing persuasive graphics and the distinction between good graphic design and good persuasive design work:

 

how to persuade visually arguments persuasive graphics

About A2L Consulting

•  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

•  Personnel nationwide

•  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

•  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


Claim a FREE Subscription to this Blog - The Litigation Consulting Report - Quarterly iPad Giveaways for Subscribers


All Posts