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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.

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Presentation Graphics: Why The President Is Better Than You

 


president obama whitehouse presentation powerpoint laptopby Ken Lopez

Have you ever seen the President of the United States give a PowerPoint presentation? Probably not. But he's actually quite good at it, as you will see below.

For at least the past two years, President Obama's team has created PowerPoint-style presentation graphics that support his speeches and policies. The work they are doing is excellent and is relevant to trial attorneys and lobbyists alike.

Below is a White House-created "enhanced" version of the 2012 State of the Union address. It was broadcast at the same time as the State of the Union address but only on the Web (an asset in wooing younger voters, who increasingly use only the Internet for news and media). It places the live feed of the president's speech next to a series of trial-like presentation slides.  

In many ways, a State of the Union address is similar to an opening or closing statement. Accordingly, for the trial attorney, there are many lessons to take from this speech/presentation combination. These include:

  1. Watch how the President uses emotion-evoking photographs to tell a story. In a mock trial setting, photographs are normally received very well by the jurors, but many litigators erroneously leave them out of their opening statements.
  2. Look at the obvious high quality style of the President's presentation. The fonts used are not standard Arial or Times New Roman; colors are well chosen; and the presentation seems worthy of the office of president. Such style in presentation is not reserved for the Commander-in-Chief but is available to anyone who wants it.
  3. Notice that each slide is simple enough to understand in a moment or two. A common trial mistake is to try to put too much into a single slide. I urge you to adhere to the philosophy that one slide = one sentence of meaning (with no conjunctions).
  4. Notice also that the President is using an immersive (i.e. continuous) graphical presentation.  A recent study showed this to be the most effective form of presentation (particularly for persuasion), and I encourage you to adopt this technique.
  5. Note that the President used roughly 91 slides for a 65-minute speech or about one slide every 42 seconds. That's consistent with the latest research, but part of the reason the President's presentation was so successful is that he did not need to specifically speak to any of the slides.  The graphics spoke for themselves, which is how such graphics should be designed.
  6. Finally, there are no bullet points! Good graphics don't have them.

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The 2011 enhanced State of the Union slides below are similar to those from 2012 above. However, the differences between the slide decks are interesting. The 2012 speech slides are more refined in style. There are fewer photos, and there were 23 more slides used in about the same time. 

The White House has continued its push for information graphics beyond the State of the Union as well. Perhaps more so than the State of the Union, the White House's use of widely distributed information graphics (or infographics) for issue advocacy points the way for lobbying efforts generally. The administration often uses captivating postcard-style information graphics that speak to a single issue. These are often widely distributed on social networks.

The Obama-Biden campaign's most successful use of an infographic was the one that recently made the rounds about job growth.  Here it is in an interactive format.

This image above has been shared millions of times on Facebook and Twitter. It is similar to a timeline that A2L might use in a trial format, and it is similar to the work we do in issue advocacy outside the courtroom.  It has been well designed to be shared easily, and I have seen it countless times on my friends’ Facebook pages.  

The presentation graphic below was released just this week. It does a fine job of responding to criticisms of the administration's spending. However, if a presidential contest were litigation, this chart would not likely survive an objection. See if you can spot the issue.
obama spending chart

The 1.4 percent figure is absolutely correct - but only if you use 2009 as the year to compare with 2010, 2011 and 2012. It's a smart technique to use when advocating.  In fact, spending in 2009 rose by about 18 percent relative to 2008.  Raw data sourced from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (.PDF) is below.  

Total Federal Outlays in Trillions of Dollars

2007 - 2.729
2008 - 2.983
2009 - 3.518
2010 - 3.456
2011 - 3.598 

I have friends in all parts of the political spectrum, but I have yet to see a Romney campaign infographic on Facebook. As the campaign goes on, this may, of course, change. Perhaps the Romney campaign should consider using an infographic similar to that below. This graphic effectively hits back at the Obama-Biden jobs infographic while calling into question the credibility of future campaign promises.

 a2l advocacy graphics obama unkept jobs promises

Sharable infographics are the new sound bites. Advocates distribute them to their followers who then share the graphic with millions of people within a few days. Followers use these tools in online conversations similar to the way one might say flip-flopper, draft-dodger, war hero, patriot, or socialist in face-to-face conversations. They are a form of shorthand that can be quickly digested.

As is often the case in the courtroom or in issue advocacy, the best presentation graphics distributed in the most effective ways will likely help one side prevail in this presidential contest.


Please use the social media sharing buttons at the beginning of this article to like or share, and please consider leaving a comment below (your email is not shared).

 

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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


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Trial Graphics Dilemma: Why Can't I Make My Own Slides? (Says Lawyer)

 


In a previous article I told you about five surprises I found in moving from my previous position as an IP litigator to my current position as a litigation consultant.  After a few more weeks on the job and a bit more day-to-day experience as Managing Director, Litigation Consulting for A2L, I find that there is another big surprise: the amount of thought, time and work that goes into each and every trial graphic.

As an attorney, and particularly one well versed in technology generally and litigation technology specifically, even I had no idea what really went into the development of top notch trial graphics.  Like other litigators, I had plenty of experience in making presentations and creating PowerPoint slides to help make my points.  But, I’ve discovered that there is a huge difference between what an attorney can create at his desk at a law firm and what can be built by a team of litigation consultants and trial graphics artists working with that attorney.


Compare this PowerPoint trial graphic (above) produced by our litigation consulting team at A2L with another trial graphic (below) that I’m sure you’ll agree is similar to what you’d produce at your desk at a law firm (this subject matter is near to my heart as a patent attorney).literal patent litigation infringement

The law firm example slide is clear and straightforward and conveys all the information you need – that to infringe a patent claim literally (not considering the doctrine of equivalents), every limitation of that claim must be in the accused product (or process).  This slide could easily be used in any presentation, for example, in a client pitch meeting or in an explanatory presentation by an associate to a partner.

Now compare it with the litigation consultant-created trial graphics example at the top. The litigation consultants' work conveys all the same information provided in the basic text-based slide (i.e., if the accused product is missing even one element of the claim, there’s no literal infringement), but it provides it as a visually “catchy” analogy for the jurors -- one they’ll never forget).  It is persuasive, not just informative.  And it does all this without adding complexity. These additional aspects of the consultants' slide are what makes it a key to winning at trial.

It may surprise you to learn that it’s not so easy to take these additional steps in developing a persuasive presentation.  To make this “magic” happen, a team of litigation consultants (preferably made up of attorneys, as is our team at A2L) and experienced trial graphics artists devise the best way to present key evidence or themes graphically and textually to make points with a jury.  Visual input, such as that presented in the bowling slide above, tends to have impact and stick with jurors and helps them make difficult decisions on contentious points, even when they might otherwise tune out pure verbal/textual argument.

This extra step constitutes some of the value added by a litigation consulting firm.  The very trial graphics slide you see above (the bowling one, of course) contributed to a major recent win in a patent infringement case for an A2L Consulting client in Power Integrations, Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductors International, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 08-309-LPS (as reported here).

Ryan Flax is the Managing Director of Litigation Consulting at A2L Consulting. He joined A2L after practicing as a patent litigator who contributed to more than $1 billion in successful outcomes.  

 

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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


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Download the NLJ's Best of 2012 Guide Here - Complimentary Copy

 


Best demonstrative evidence firm NLJ trial graphicsI want our readers to be among the first to hear some good news and download a free copy of a useful guidebook.  A2L Consulting was voted a Best Demonstrative Evidence Provider by the readers of the National Law Journal.  We are very proud.

It's the second time in less than a year we have been honored with a similar distinction. At the end of 2011, the readers of LegalTimes also voted and named A2L the Best Demonstrative Evidence provider.

I believe that this guide just published by the National Law Journal is a valuable one to keep. We all know one thing about litigation: you only get one shot to get it right, and thus it is critical to hire the right support team.  The NLJ's best of guide is a good guidebook for anyone looking to hire a litigation support firm or other legal services firm.  Frankly, it's a credible reader-driven survey that's been missing for a long time.

I think the NLJ's work is especially reliable and useful since over 450 companies were nominated and votes were only tallied for known members of the legal industry.

Below is a link to download the guidebook.  I hope you'll take a moment to leave a comment below or ask a question.  Thank you for your support of A2L Consulting and The Litigation Consulting Report. 

download-the-nljs-best-of-2012-guide  

 
Additional Resources on the A2L Consulting Site:

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


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21 Secrets for Using Litigation Consultants on a Tight Budget

 


litigation consultants tight budget low priceIn Part 1 of this article, we discussed how to use litigation consultants to win a case when there are no budget constraints. Here in Part 2, we tackle the opposite end of the budget spectrum: how to best use litigation consultants when budget is severely constrained.

The good news is that in any case that has more than $1 million at stake or is a possible example of pattern litigation, there is a litigation consulting strategy that can fit the budget and deliver high value, regardless of budget. While every case has different needs, and there is a big difference between bench and jury trials, here is a prescription for utilizing litigation consultants in a tight budget.

The primary cost difference between a small litigation budget and a large litigation budget will be the amount of time spent on testing and varying strategic approaches to the case.  In a tight budget scenario, rather than relying on feedback from mock jurors and judges to help guide which themes to emphasize and the best ways to explain elements of the case, you will likely have to rely heavily on gut instinct. Of course, that is not always a bad thing.

complimentary-timeline-e-bookuse-25-samp

Looking at the three primary types of services that litigation consultants provide -- trial consulting, litigation graphics and courtroom technology support -- our general recommendation would be to spend your money where you most need to. In the majority of cases, the money is best spent on litigation graphics. A small budget generally rules out meaningful trial or jury consulting.  Further, you can ask your litigation graphics firm to create your graphics primarily in PowerPoint to avoid the need for specialty trial presentation software or personnel.  Here's our specific recipe of do's and don'ts on a limited budget:

  • Don't conduct any formal mock trial work whether online, in person or otherwise
  • Don't use courtroom technology support or hot-seat operators
  • Do use the court's technology when possible
  • Do split technology costs with opposing counsel when possible
  • Do use your own laptop in court with a rented projector and screen if necessary
  • Do bring a 2nd (backup) laptop with a copy of your presentation(s)
  • Do work with highly experienced litigation graphics experts and ask their advice
  • Do expect the highly experienced litigation graphics experts to provide added value by virtue of their extensive litigation graphics previous experiences
  • Do provide a refined list of trial graphics you are hoping to use
  • Do prioritize the trial graphics that are most important
  • Don’t be afraid to hand draw a rough version of any image that you want if you feel so inclined 
  • Do give your graphics firm the latitude to add new graphics that they may come up with, as much as 25 percent more of them (as long as costs were discussed up front)
  • Do insist on a fixed price for the work
  • Do ask your client to consider an alternative fee arrangement with the graphics firm (i.e. contingencies, success fees)
  • Do work with a firm that is highly recommended
  • Do work with a firm that will provide ideas not just pretty pictures
  • Do insist that everything be created in PowerPoint
  • Do insist that all text subject to potential changes is in modifiable form versus pictures of text that requires the litigation graphic provider’s intervention for editing
  • Do update your system to the latest version of PowerPoint
  • Do provide high quality / high resolution documents whenever possible for the litigation artists to use
  • Do prepare an outline for the litigation graphics firm to work from

By following this advice, you will almost certainly get the best results for a relatively small dollar investment.

 

best national trial graphics demonstrative evidence consultants

 

 

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


Victory at Any Cost! Using Litigation Consultants to Dominate

 


litigation consultants bet the companyThese days, only a very few cases can be said to have an unlimited litigation budget, but some still do. As the amount at stake in toxic tort, technology patent and product liability cases soars into the billions of dollars, we do hear from clients that they must win at all costs. Indeed, at A2L Consulting, it is common for us to work on multi-billion dollar disputes. Thus far in 2012, we have already consulted on cases with over $30 billion at stake.

In this two-part series, we share the menu of options available to a law firm and its client in situations at the opposite ends of the litigation consulting budget spectrum. What is possible when budget is not an issue, and what is possible when budget is severely constrained?

By far the biggest difference between unlimited budget cases and limited budget cases is the amount of time that can be devoted to the discussion and testing of alternative strategies.

There are three key areas of trial and pre-trial work: trial consulting, litigation graphics and courtroom technology support. A high-budget case can involve several trial consultants, a dozen or more artists, hundreds of demonstrative exhibits, several mock trials, months of work and an overall onsite litigation consulting and trial technology team with between four and 12 people.

patent-litigation-e-bookdownload-the-fr


TRIAL CONSULTING

In trial consulting, the goal is to try to reach a successful result in a trial by testing and refining various components of the case to see what works and what does not.  The core of this work is usually the mock trial.  Most mock trial exercises involve either one or more retired judges or 30 to 40 mock jurors. In an unlimited budget case, we might perform the following services:

  • Early case and theme assessment with production of a wall-sized litigation mind map
  • Assistance in the development of mock openings and the preparation of mock trial graphics for both sides of the case
  • An actual mock trial with “jurors” from the trial venue representative of the jury pool who will hear the evidence and come up with a “verdict”; this can be repeated several times
  • A mock voir dire, showing attorneys how to pick the best jury
  • A juror questionnaire (if approved by the judge) to test attitudes in the potential jury pool
  • Work with expert witnesses to help them with their presentation and evaluate it with video and develop “jury friendly” graphics for complex concepts supporting these expert witness’ testimony (while experts often bring their own visuals, these are not typically suited to a trial environment where lay people are expected to learn from what is presented)
  • Background research on selected jury pool to determine potential influences and any ongoing or prior influential commentary occurring through social media
  • A shadow jury or shadow judge during the trial itself, providing nightly feedback to help adjust the presentation and guide the development of the case

 

LITIGATION GRAPHICS

For litigation graphics, in an unlimited budget case, we would obtain ideas for graphic presentations not only from the trial team and from our own resources but also from the feedback of mock jurors or judges. This can take months. Graphics should ideally be tested in front of a mock jury, and when they are, very likely new ideas for graphics will be generated.  When winning at all costs is a requirement, the litigation graphics approach should allows for the greatest volume of test graphics:

  • With time and budget allowance, litigation graphics can be created by the hundreds and refined down to the most effective possible – a no holds barred approach to creativity leveraging the significant trial experiences of our litigation consultants and litigation graphic artists
  • Development of sophisticated printed trial boards– with layered / interactive additions that potentially can be taken into the deliberation room and in the hands of the jury. 
  • Create physical models that can be handled and manipulated by the jurors

 

COURTROOM TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT

For courtroom technology support, in a major case it is common to have two or more hot-seat operators working on our team. Before trial, these operators and others will:

  • Set up a secure war room for effective operation while on site for trial
  • Assure effective equipment set up and configuration (often involving a pretrial site survey well in advance of trial)
  • Help witnesses work through their direct testimony
  • Build the trial database so that one of a million documents, video clips and accompanying transcripts can be displayed on a moment's notice
  • Cut 30-second deposition clips from days long video depositions
  • Develop new exhibits for cross and closing statements

Obviously, a level of service like this costs six if not seven figures, and only a few firms in the world are capable of it. It is not appropriate for every case, but when it is appropriate, even these seemingly high levels of expense can be very cost-effective in forestalling a verdict in the nine or even ten figures.

 

Additional Related A2L Consulting Resources:

litigation consultants bet the company

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


Explaining Patent Claim Language in Patent Litigation

 


Quick, tell me what this patent claim language means:

explaining claim construction language patent litigation

Unless you’re a patent geek like me, you probably haven’t the foggiest idea how to interpret this language.  But if you are an attorney in a patent infringement litigation, your job is not only to explain to a judge and jury what claim language means, but do so in a convincing and persuasive manner. If the fact finder remains as perplexed after your presentation as you were on first reading of these words, you are unlikely to win your case.

a2l-download-patent-ebook

 

iphone slide to unlock patent drawingWould it help you understand this claim language – from U.S. Patent 7,657,849 – if I showed you one of the drawings from the patent?  I suspect it will, so here’s one to the right.

So what have you learned now?  Now you know what the claim probably means by “a touch-sensitive display” because this figure says right on it that you’re looking at a “Touch screen.”  Still, what does the claim language cover, specifically?  What sort of product might infringe this claim?  Here’s a big hint:  This patent is owned by Apple Inc.  I’m sure you’ve guessed it now – this patent is written to cover this product below.

apple iphone slide to unlock patentSeeing the iPhone, as in the image to the left, makes most of the claim language pretty clear.  This is the now-famous Apple “slide-to-unlock” patent that covers the way users unlock the screen on an iPhone or iPad to use the device.  Hasn’t the language become so much clearer now that you have the graphical information I’ve provided by showing you an iPhone? 

People, including judges and jurors, are usually combination learners, and visual information is an important component of teaching and being persuasive.  Now that you’ve seen the iPhone, it’s probably pretty clear to you what the claim term “display an unlock image” means.  Also, it’s probably equally clear what the claim means by “transition the device to a user-interface unlock state if the detected contact corresponds to moving the unlock image along a predefined displayed path” – it means that the device senses that you’ve slid your finger along the arrow I added to the iPhone picture.  Pretty clear now, isn’t it?

Now, what other products might infringe this Apple patent?  What other products might use this type of unlocking feature?  What about this one?

 

android slide to unlock patentWow, HTC's new phone looks pretty similar, doesn’t it?  Are you convinced?  Maybe not completely yet, but you cannot deny that the similarities in this comparison are compelling.  This is a simple example of why trial graphics are so important, particularly in patent litigation when explaining claim language.

 

Additional Patent Litigation Resources on A2L Consulting's site:

 

Free E-Book: The Patent Litigation Trial Presentation Toolkit

Ryan Flax: 5 Surprises Transitioning from Patent Litigator to Litigation Consultant

20+ Articles About Patent Litigation from A2L

Free Subscription to the A2L Blog

Making Patent Drawings Come Alive!

Perfect Patent Tutorials for Your Judge

Creating a Presentation for an ITC 337 Hearing




Ryan Flax is the Managing Director of Litigation Consulting at A2L Consulting. He joined A2L after practicing as a patent litigator who contributed to more than $1 billion in successful outcomes.  

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


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3 Ways to Handle a Presentation-Challenged Expert Witness

 


trial graphics for expert witnessesAt A2L, we have the privilege of working with experts in many diverse and highly technical fields, such as software patents, polymer patents, semiconductor patents, medical device design, environmental remediation, construction, financial disclosure, economic damages, transportation safety, corporate management and many more.

When we work with these highly educated and often brilliant specialists – people whose testimony can often make the difference between victory and defeat for our clients – our task is, quite simply, to help them be as effective as possible. We achieve this primarily by helping the attorneys painstakingly prepare them for their deposition testimony before trial and for their direct testimony during trial, including the development of visual presentations that track their testimony. Experts must not only be well prepared for their own set testimony, but even more so for every possible attack by cross-examination, which is really where the case can be won or lost.

In general, experts fall into two camps when it comes to their ability to use visual aids to support and even explain their testimony. Some welcome the help from trial graphics consultants so that their highly technical presentation will be better understood by a jury of laymen (and even the judge, who may not be technically savvy), but some are already quite certain that they will be well understood by judges and juries and don't think “charts” are going to help.

This article provides tips for how a litigator can deal with the latter, more difficult, type. 

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Twenty years ago, many trial lawyers believed that trial graphics were unnecessary to help them be persuasive to juries and judges. But now we have studies showing the overwhelming benefit of using visual tools in the courtroom, and especially because the pace at which people (remember, judges and juries are people) expect to receive information is ever increasing, these old-school views are no longer valid.

So how does one convince an expert witness who is a specialist on his or her subject matter and often testifies about it in court that he or she should accept some help at being understood?

I suggest three possible strategies.

  1. Appeal to the expert’s ego. Tell the expert that most jurors and many judges are just not as smart as the expert, so they need the visual tools to help them understand it.  A useful quote may inspire a willingness to accept the need to communicate more effectively.  Machiavelli said, “Before all else, be armed.” But, be armed with the right tool and the understanding that the typical juror may not have a college degree and is most used to learning by watching television.
     
  2. Video-test the expert. If the expert has shown any interest in improving the quality of his or her testimony, there is no better way to begin than using repeat video tests.  This can be done with or without a live mock jury or an online evaluation service.  In the world of performing, there is a cliché that is equally useful for the courtroom: A bad dress rehearsal means a great performance.
     
  3. Give up. Why try to force someone into a situation that he or she is not ready for? The expert, whom you need to look as confident as possible, will simply register discomfort on the stand. And in expert testimony, persuasion is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know. The reality is that, if the suggestions above have failed, this is probably the wrong expert, and next time, you should shop around.  As a litigator, you should no more have to explain the need for thoughtfully developed visual aids to an expert any more than a client should have to explain this to you.  After all, one cannot after all expect to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s tools.
     
best demonstrative evidence trial graphics dc

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


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5 Top Litigation Consulting Report Articles from Q1

 


A2L Litigation Consulting Report top 5 articles q1 2012After a year of providing expert commentary on trials, litigation graphics, jury research, courtroom hot seat best practices and similar topics, I think it’s time to take stock.

In the past year, the A2L Consulting blog, The Litigation Consulting Report, has gone from zero subscribers to nearly one thousand. There have been more than two thousand downloads from our popular litigation e-book series. We have given away four iPads, a prize we give each quarter to one randomly chosen subscriber. And more than anything else, I am very excited that there have been more than 20,000 visits to our litigation-focused blog, making it one of the most popular litigation blogs.

Below are snippets of the most read articles in our blog for the first quarter of 2012 and the most read articles from the past year. 

litigation-supportdownload-the-litigat


Top 5 Articles from The Litigation Consulting Report - First Quarter 2012
 

Friday, Mar 16, 2012 Ken Lopez
The task of a trial lawyer is to convince a judge or jury to believe in the truth of a client’s case.  However, in many complex trials, the underlying facts are not as easily understood by the fact-finder as they would be in, say, a murder case or a traffic accident. A case, especially the type of litigation that we are involved in, often turns on complex issues of science , ...Read More

Monday, Feb 27, 2012 Ken Lopez
In the courtroom, the attorney who has the best chance of winning a case is generally the one who is the best storyteller. The trial lawyer who makes the audience care, who is believable, who most clearly explains the case, who develops compelling narrative and who communicates the facts in the most memorable way builds trust and credibility. If you follow some basic storytelling and speech...Read More

Thursday, Jan 5, 2012 Ken Lopez
TrialDirector, a trial presentation software package produced by InData, is an indispensable aid to the presentation of electronic and other evidence at trial. There is a reason why this product has claimed the majority of the market share for trial presentation software for more than 10 years: It can actually make it interesting for a jury or other fact-finder to listen to a witness testify...Read More

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 Ken Lopez
At first it sounds like something out of science fiction, but 3D printing has arrived – and it can be very helpful to the litigator and litigation consultant . In 3D printing, which was invented in 2003, the user either electronically sculpts or scans nearly any object into the printer, using a computer-assisted design (CAD) program to tinker with the color and shape of the...Read More

Friday, Mar 23, 2012 Ken Lopez
When a litigator engages a  trial graphics consultant , he or she will most likely be getting more than anticipated - an expert in information design. Information design , a field that is less than 50 years old, has been defined as a process that is “concerned with transforming data into information, making the complex easier to understand and to use. It is a rapidly...Read More


Top 5 Articles from The Litigation Consulting Report - Past Year

Monday, Feb 21, 2011 Ken Lopez
The term information design is less than fifty years old.  The use of specialty trial graphics in the courtroom started less than thirty years ago.  Only very recently have the terms been used in the same sentence. That is, only recently have individual practitioners of both arts emerged. Wikipedia describes information design as "the skill and practice of preparing information so...Read More

Wednesday, Sep 7, 2011 Ken Lopez
Although trial consultants prepare dozens of different types of exhibits that help judges and jurors understand a case, timelines are one of the oldest and most reliable. After all, most cases involve some sort of time sequence, and the order and timing of events can be crucial. Timelines give jurors an intuitive understanding of a case – if they are done well. While it seems simple...Read More

Friday, Aug 12, 2011 Ken Lopez
No trial presentation exhibit specialist can perform any better than his or her tools. Although the judge and jury aren’t usually aware of what software the trial consultant is using, the choice of presentation software is essential to the success of the consultant, and ultimately to the success of the case. Over the last decade, presenting demonstrative evidence has usually meant...Read More

Monday, Feb 7, 2011 Ken Lopez
Below is an article authored by a Senior Litigation Graphics Consultant at A2L Consulting.  It is set for publication in PLI's Trial by Jury book.  I think it does a great job of introducing the challenge of balancing color choice and culture in trial graphics . ******** Color Choice, Culture and Demonstrative Evidenc e -Theresa D’Amico Villanueva, Esq. About the...Read More

Tuesday, Nov 15, 2011 Ken Lopez
As litigation consultants, jury consultants, trial technology consultants and litigation graphics consultants, we have the opportunity to share our decades of experience in over 10,000 cases, working with litigators from all major law firms, with our litigation clients every day. Clearly, this is a valuable service, and I believe great litigators become better litigators for having worked with...Read More

Of course, not everyone interacts with our firm via our blog. Some like to follow us on A2L's YouTube channel, where one video about Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) has more than 13,000 views. Some follow us on A2L's Facebook page and many follow us on A2L's Twitter feed. Our newest web presence is on Pinterest, a site that lends itself well to the visual side of our business.

We encourage you to subscribe to this blog by following this link.

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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


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5 Surprises in Going from IP Litigator to Litigation Consultant

 

Ryan Flax ip litigation graphics consultantby Ryan H. Flax, Esq.
Managing Director, Litigation Consulting
A2L Consulting

Ryan Flax joins 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.  He has leveraged his significant experience in cases related to a wide array of technologies, including medical devices and systems, semiconductors, biotechnology, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, software, and more.  Most recently, Ryan was part of the Dickstein Shapiro team that brought 2011’s largest patent verdict totaling (so far) close to $600 million, which is also the 6th largest patent verdict in history (Bruce Saffran, MD, Ph.D. v. Johnson & Johnson et al.).  It was during this experience that Ryan realized the excellent fit between his considerable expertise and skill sets as a patent law specialist, and his penchant for designing highly effective trial presentation materials through his collaboration with A2L Consulting.  Ryan made the move to A2L Consulting to become A2L’s Managing Director, Litigation Consulting.  Ryan earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Wake Forest University and his Juris Doctor degree from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.  Between his undergraduate studies and law school, Ryan was a Laboratory Scientist conducting DNA research at the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

As a seasoned litigator and IP law specialist, over the last decade I saw the discipline of trial presentation evolve into a sophisticated art form of balanced science and persuasion.  It is no longer good enough to take the complex and make it simple, but, to be effective, litigators must do this in a way that skillfully and persuasively communicates the facts and themes of the case.  Litigation graphics, especially those presented in opening statements (and at claim construction in patent matters), can literally turn the tide for or against your case.

I have had the opportunity to practice this “art” in my role as a litigator and collaborate with some great litigation graphics specialists and it is my great pleasure to announce my latest collaboration.  I have moved from a position as a practicing litigator at a prominent national law firm with a vibrant IP practice to an exciting new role as the Managing Director, Litigation Consulting at A2L Consulting.

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Although my new position and my old one have many things in common, they are quite different in a number of ways:  one of the most interesting distinctions stems from the fact that, as a trial lawyer, I was keenly aware that relevant and determinative facts often emerge from literally millions of pages of documents.  It’s all too easy to get lost in the details as you try to sort out your case and find the best pieces of evidence for each point that can and must be proved at trial.  And this propensity for detail can be compounded when one is obliged to respond to an opposing counsel's case.

In such situations it can easily become difficult to see the forest for the trees as you begin looking at each individual proverbial tree under a magnifying glass to identify its species and recognize its characteristics.  There are almost always a lot of details to get lost in, yet it must never be forgotten that jury cases are ultimately about the forest.  Eventually, a trial lawyer needs to step back and regain perspective.  This is where a litigation consulting firm becomes essential.

The litigation consulting firm is unlikely to get bogged down in details and can maintain the perspective needed to develop a winning trial strategy.  The earlier a law firm engages a litigation consultant, the better.  One crucial role that a litigation consultant can play is to develop (and help develop) a working story for the client’s position early in the case.  This will necessarily be a flexible story that can be adapted to the facts as they are revealed in discovery, to the way the case progresses procedurally before the court, and in response to the opposing party’s positions.  Because A2L expertly utilizes seasoned attorneys as litigation consultants that support multiple trials every month (and hundreds over the years), our ability to add significant value to your litigation team cannot be overstated.

With all this in mind, as I make my transition from law firm litigator to litigation consultant, I have encountered a few surprises.  Here are my top 5, in no particular order:

  1. Attorneys have a surprisingly wide variety of styles in developing and litigating their cases.  Some prep early.  Some prep late.  Some 1st chair litigators do not get involved in a case until a couple of weeks before trial, while others tend to micromanage from the start.  Some take advice from dozens of collaborators.  Others work alone.  And, when it comes to trial graphics, some litigation teams like to sit down and collaborate with their consultant team to develop the graphics while others prefer the electronic (email) “tennis-style” back-and-forth volley of graphics and edits from consultants to litigators.
     
  2. Many trial lawyers delay a longer time than I would have expected in developing a coherent theme and story of their case.  At my former law firm, I had the privilege of working with some of the best in the business.  Most of the trials I have seen had themes and stories worked out many months (or literally years) in advance of trial.  However, I also see effective trial attorneys now doing this work on the eve of trial.
     
  3. Even I, an experienced and veteran litigator, can be swayed (surprisingly easily) to either of the opposing positions of a case depending on how well they are presented.  I have been so used to living in and believing one side of a case for so long, I am amazed by the power of a good presentation to convince me that an argument is correct.
     
  4. Few things are more valuable than brainstorming the key issues, but it is surprising how long this can take even for the simplest of issues.  If you’ve ever wondered what a litigation consulting firm looks like behind the scenes, think of the popular A&E show Madmen.  Smart and experienced people combine experience and intellect to develop the best approach to presenting a case or an argument within a case.  The brainstorming goes on for hours and is repeated over days, weeks, and months (if available) and produces amazing results.
     
  5. I wish I had utilized litigation consulting firms to their full potential when I was litigating cases.  As an insider, I now see the value of getting the outside perspective of people who spend all of their time either working in court or preparing others for it.

Armed with my “aha moments” and lessons learned in my first few days here at A2L Consulting, I am looking forward to achieving great things in my new position and to helping A2L Consulting’s clients do likewise in the courtroom.

I invite you to contact me, download A2L’s complimentary Patent Litigation Trial Presentation Toolkit and subscribe to this blog, to which I will be contributing frequently.

Ryan Flax is the Managing Director of Litigation Consulting at A2L Consulting. He joined A2L after practicing as a patent litigator who contributed to more than $1 billion in successful outcomes. 


patent litigator ryan flax joins a2l consulting 

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


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In Trial Presentation - A Camel is a Horse Designed by Committee

 


trial presentation camel horse committeeThere is an old expression that a camel is a horse designed by committee.

The expression means that when many individuals design something as a group, every imaginable feature will go into the finished product – and it will end up with many important features. But the product will have lost its beauty – and sometimes will have lost some of its usefulness as a complete entity.

Working with trial teams to create a trial presentation can sometimes feel a bit like designing a horse and ending up with a camel. Many people provide lots of input on a particular presentation and sometimes, it ends up that too many features have been added to a single trial presentation. Unless a strong leader seizes control and dictates the final content, the project can go in any number of directions at once, and it may fail to be as outstanding a product as it can be.

download-free-e-bookleton-leading-litiga

An easy business comparison is Apple. There, great design is at the core of the company's success and has made it the most valuable company in the world.  Since the 1990s, the man behind this great design is London-born designer Jonathan Ive. Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design, has been responsible since 1996 for leading a design team widely regarded as one of the world’s best. Ive has been said to have “the obsessive desire to create products that are meaningful to people.”

Ive is ultimately responsible for the design of the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.  It was he who brought the great designs to Steve Jobs for his consideration. Jobs would pick among Ive’s proposed designs. Fortunately for us, Jobs was right most of the time.  What we never see from Apple, however, are all the rejected designs.

At A2L, we see ourselves as the Jonathan Ive of a trial team, constantly bringing great trial presentation ideas and prototypes forward with the hope that the first chair litigator will see something that he or she likes.  In my experience, the stronger the leader, the more likely it is that a good trial presentation design approach will be selected and the camel-like result avoided.

Our recommended approach when lots of individuals need to provide input on a project is simple. Everyone has a voice, but only one person has a vote.

trial presentation consultant 

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


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