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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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12 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Trial Graphics Consultant

 


trial graphics consultantsThe choice of a trial graphics firm is one of the most important decisions that a trial lawyer can make. Since experts widely agree that about two-thirds of jurors and many judges prefer to learn visually, it can literally make the difference between winning and losing your case. However, many lawyers still use the wrong approach to the selection of a trial graphics consultant.

For example, they may choose a provider based on familiarity (“I know someone who does graphics . . .”), price (“the client has a tight budget . . . “), or proximity (“they’re right around the corner  . . . “).

There are better ways to choose a consultant. Think of hiring a trial graphics provider as similar to the hiring of an expert witness. If you are hiring an expert witness, you are delegating a portion of the case to someone who has specialized knowledge and experience that you may not.

You would hire an electrical engineering expert witness to discuss the workings of a patented device. Similarly, you should hire a trial graphics provider, who is an expert in the field of information design, to create effective trial graphics for your case.

20-trial-tech-must-knows


Here are 12 questions that you should ask any trial graphics provider that you are considering. The answers to these questions will, in all probability, lead you to the right decision.

  1. What kind of experience does the trial graphics consultant have in providing trial graphics consulting for cases like yours? (i.e. Can you show me examples? Cite case names? Provide litigator references?)
     
  2. Since the attorneys will be working with the provider on a daily or hourly basis, how easy will the trial graphics provider’s employees be to work with? (i.e. How do you feel about working weekends? How do I get in touch with you after hours?  Does the provider's team have their mobile phone number on their business card?)
     
  3. How responsive will the trial graphics provider be to unexpected developments in the case that may require quick turn-around time? (i.e. How have they rapidly scaled a project team? Can you provide specific examples?)
     
  4. Is the trial graphics provider ready to work long hours at night or on weekends to help the attorneys? (i.e. Tell me of three instances where you have had to do this? Who can I call to verify these events?)
     
  5. How familiar are the trial graphics provider’s employees with the concepts behind your case and with the basics of courtroom procedure and evidence? (i.e. Some firms are run by lawyers and Ph.Ds while others are run by high school grads or computer scientists. Choose the right provider for your case.)
     
  6. Is the trial graphics provider able to suggest creative visual approaches to your case rather than merely accepting your initial thoughts and putting those into practice? (i.e. Will the provider be a true partner in your trial effort or merely an “order-taker”? Can you provide references who can speak to this?)
     
  7. Who will lead the project on the trial graphics consultant's team?  (i.e. Will I have more than one point of contact to deal with? How many projects has the project lead managed previously?  How will the provider update our team on critical path requirements, key deadlines and issues that could put timing in jeopardy?)
     
  8. Will the trial graphics provider be honest enough to be able to step back and provide an outside perspective on your case and its strengths and weaknesses? (i.e. What is the provider's value-add? How might the provider identify potential additional case themes? Are attorneys involved in the creative process throughout the project lifecycle?)
     
  9. Is the trial graphics provider able to discuss the cost of a project from the outset as well as the factors that may increase or decrease that cost as time goes on? (i.e. Will the firm consider a fixed price arrangement? If not, why not? Remember, [if] they provide these services all the time, they should be experienced enough to accurately estimate average costs).
     
  10. Will the trial graphics consultant keep you up to date on changes in the scope of the project that may affect the budget? (i.e. Can they talk comfortably about money? Do they know how to keep you out of hot-water with your client?)
     
  11. How long has the firm provided trial graphics services? (i.e. Are they an overseas e-discovery provider masquerading as a trial graphics consulting firm? Will your client's confidential information be sent to India?)
     
  12. Are the references the trial graphics consultant provides - like you? (i.e. If the case involves billions of dollars of toxic torts, is the trial graphics consultant providing references to high-profile but low-dollar disputes or vice versa?) 
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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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10 Web Videos Our Jury Consultants Say All Litigators Must See

 


jury consultants jury consultingby 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 our firm.

However, I also believe that litigators can learn a lot about trying cases, just as our jury consultants do, by watching other litigators. Unfortunately for most lawyers, especially those at large law firms, having the opportunity to watch other litigators try cases is actually quite rare.

Even a large law firm has relatively few cases that actually go to trial, and client demands do not allow litigators the ability to watch a case live from beginning to end simply for the professional development opportunity. Since few courtrooms record trials on video, how is a litigator to keep improving their skill set?

For most litigators looking to add to their experience, CLE programs like those at NITA, pro bono trial opportunities and mock trials run by jury consultants have historically helped fill the training void. However, one place where many of us go to learn and improve skills outside the courtroom, a place where we might expect to learn more about litigation - YouTube, actually has very few courtroom videos. As it is in many ways, the legal industry is peculiar when it comes to cameras in the courtroom - they're banned in federal courts.

Whereas one could easily go online and learn how to build a back yard pond, do the latest laparoscopic surgical technique, become a better salesperson or refinish a valuable antique; learning great litigation skills still largely requires live attendance at trial.

Fortunately, however, the times are beginning to change. Some great CLE programs, oral arguments, trial tactics and litigator training videos are making it onto the internet. Pointing the way toward the future are companies like the Courtroom View Network, who are selling complete trials on DVD - what better way could there be to research the style and techniques of opposing counsel?

In the absence of that future ideal state where videos of great examples are plentiful and at arm's reach, or the click of a link, here are 10 must-see videos for litigators. Our litigation consultants and jury consultants have hand-picked these videos, as each offers helpful techniques for the modern litigation team.


1.  Looking Your Best in a Video Deposition: Have you ever wondered how your client can come off looking better in a video deposition? As our jury consultants will attest - it turns out that the way you sit in your chair can change how credible you appear.


 

2.  Will Trial Technology Make You Look Too Slick?  We covered this topic in a previous article and thought this powerful post-trial jury interview deserved a second look. This rural Arkansas jury is not shy about sharing their feelings toward trial technology and litigation graphics. Thankfully, the jury consultants in this case captured their opinions.

 

 3. What Percentage of Jurors Decide a Case After Opening?  According to this litigator, the number is shocking.  It's consistent with the experience of our jury consultants too. You'll never look at opening the same way again.

 

4. David Boies Talks About U.S. v. Microsoft: More than 10 years have passed since this famous antitrust case. In that time, the legend that is David Boies has only grown.

 

5. F. Lee Bailey on Cross Examination: Known for a quick mind and blistering cross, these F. Lee Bailey clips offer cross exam lessons for any litigator. 

  

6. Ted Olson and David Boies Deliver Oral Argument: One of our jury consultants said this was like De Niro and Pacino appearing in the same movie. Famed litigators Ted Olson and David Boies argue Prop 8 before the court in Perry v. Schwarzenegger.

 

7. What Should a Litigator to Do With Their Hands: Here is a short reminder of how and when to gesture while speaking to a jury. Our jury consultants like this video because the instructor follows his own suggestions well and the tips are straightforward.

 

8. What Jurors Want to See: This video from a NITA (National Institute of Trial Advocacy) instructor is very much in alignment with the teachings of our jury consultants and our litigation graphics consultants.

 

9. A TED Talk on Data Visualization: We believe this speaker honors our profession with his message and approach. He reminds us that how we show data and what data we show will have a significant impact.

 

10. What Litigators Can Learn About PowerPoint from a Comedian: Don McMillan's take on what NOT to do with PowerPoint has long been a favorite of our firm. Although delivered in a comedic wrapper, these PowerPoint suggestions are especially applicable for litigators making courtroom presentations.


One day, hopefully soon, cameras will be allowed in all U.S. courts. Then, we litigation consultants, jury consultants and litigators will truly experience something special. Just imagine how much one could learn from a top 10 video list of the most effective opening statements of the last year. The practice of law would be better for it.



learn-more-download-a-free-e-book-now  


jury consultants demonstrative evidence

 

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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Demonstrative Evidence: Simplifying Technical Cases or Patent Cases

 


One of the most important jobs of the trial lawyer and of the litigation consultant is to make highly complex and technical issues understandable to the average juror who does not have a scientific, engineering or technical background. In technology cases, especially patent cases, using demonstrative evidence is normally a good tactic. Here's why.

The trial lawyer has spent months or probably years delving into every aspect of the case, and by the time it gets to trial, even the most arcane subjects can appear simple to him or her. Of course, that doesn’t mean they are easily understood by the general population of which the men and women in the jury box are a representative sample.

Think of the challenge as needing to explain a complicated subject to a kid or to your grandparent; it takes creativity (and visual presentations - e.g. demonstrative evidence) to make the concept digestible to all audiences.

download-patent-ebook

Similarly the trial lawyer, assisted by a litigation consulting firm such as ours, needs to simplify the subject matter without losing its essence and without seeming to talk down to the jury. The way to do that is to present the scientific or technical material in a way that is at the same time dramatic and fully accurate.

The jurors should be given the ideas behind the evidence in a broad sense at first and then introduced to the details. High-level demonstrative evidence illustrating the big-picture concepts used in opening will best set the stage for the detailed evidence shown in the case in chief.

In this age of constant content delivery on smart phones, tablets, computers and television - the information presented also has to retain the jurors' attention and interest. The information needs to be both informative and visually stimulating; enough so, that the content is learned and retained for deliberation.

We often use these demonstrative evidence techniques in patent litigation trials. While the technical evidence in these cases is not as dramatic as in television shows like “CSI,” it can often be shown to the jury in a way that appeals to their common sense or their sense of justice.

For example, below we created demonstrative evidence to show how liquid crystal displays (LCD’s), commonly used in televisions, computer monitors, and many other applications, are designed to function. The various layers, including glass layers, liquid crystal, film, and others come together in a brief presentation to create an LCD.



In this demonstrative evidence, below, we showed how a transistor works. We use analogy to indicate that a transistor is like a light switch. When it is turned on, electricity flows, and when it is turned off, electricity does not flow.



Here, below, we explained a metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) to a jury. We used a frequent analogy, comparing the flow of electrons to the flow of water through pipes. This type of transistor is able to divert the flow of electrons, just like a pipe valve diverts water into the ground. However, occasionally the diverted water can cause problems such as leaky basements; similarly, the jury can understand that diverted electrons can also cause problems.



In all of these cases, the jurors need to understand the technology before they can rule on the factual issues before them. Did a particular company’s new version of an LCD infringe on a previous type of LCD? Was a specific transistor identical for all purposes with an earlier transistor? A fully informed jury will come to the right decision.

High-quality demonstrative evidence is a powerful weapon in the arsonal of the modern litigator. Please see other demonstrative evidence resources on our site below:


  best demonstrative evidence provider

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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Courtroom Graphics in Labor and Employment Cases

 


Labor law is a highly diverse and complex area. It can involve everything from claims for overtime pay to computer fraud and abuse act cases (CFAA) involving swindling employees to trials involving the allegedly illegal firing of an employee to complicated pension benefits issues. As labor and employment cases get more complex, the use of computer graphics during trial is also on the rise.

A recent description of an academic program in labor and employment studies notes that “the field of labor and employment law has never been more dynamic and challenging than it is at the beginning of the 21st century. Over the past forty years, sweeping changes in the interplay between the American work place and the law have affected the everyday lives of nearly all members of society.”

Labor cases often go to trial these days, and especially in cases that involve large numbers of employees, lawyers on both sides of a labor law case will often find courtroom graphics extremely useful to show trends, patterns, events that took place over a long period of time, or the real-life impact of a company’s policy or practice.

For example, overtime cases involving hundreds or thousands of employees are finding their way to court. These usually involve summarizing lots of wage and hour data on just a few courtroom graphics. This is what happened in this PowerPoint set of scenarios (below) involving a company’s employees and the hours that they worked over a period of years.



In an unusual labor law case involving federal government lawyers as employees, we helped a law firm establish a class of U.S. Department of Justice employees who were unlawfully denied pay for millions of hours of overtime pay. A judge in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims found that the highest officials of DOJ knew that the employees were working overtime and maintained two sets of books – one to include the overtime and one to exclude it. This was the first-ever class action web site that facilitated online opting in, and we designed the website.



In another series of courtroom graphics (below), we showed graphically how a seemingly complex special-employer fund worked, with employers and employees making contributions and funds being withdrawn throughout the year. We used financial metaphors that any juror would understand, such as checkbooks and piggy banks, to illustrate the concepts. We used a funnel to show the number of employees who started out eligible for the retirement benefits and then the number who remained eligible after other qualifying criteria were used.

courtroom graphics employment

courtroom graphics labor

courtroom graphic labor 
Similar to securities cases, labor and employment litigation has lagged other types of litigation (e.g. patent litigation and antitrust litigation) in the adoption of courtroom graphics. Now that labor cases are no longer a simple battle of he said, she said and computer forensics are routinely revealing playing a larger role, it is essential to use courtroom graphics to help a jury understand and appreciate your client's position. 

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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Banking Litigation Courtroom Presentations

 

We have have created courtroom presentations in banking cases almost since our very beginning nearly 17 years ago. From savings and loan litigation in the 1990s to IPO litigation stemming from the 2001 dotcom meltdown to ongoing banking fraud and bankruptcy litigation connected with the 2008 financial crisis, we have helped jurors understand complicated financial concepts that are at the heart of most banking litigation.

We have discussed earlier this year how a good trial consultant can make complex financial concepts comprehensible to jurors by using courtroom presentations that relate to a juror’s basic understanding of life and personal experience. See our discussions of collateralized debt obligations and of securities litigation.

The same can apply to courtroom presentations for seemingly complex banking litigation. Since nearly all jurors have bank accounts and have used ATM’s, they have a basic sense of what banks do. So it often is not a long stretch for them to have an intuitive notion that banks are involved in complex ATM networks, that they sell profitable investment products to clients, or that they manage and move large sums of money. What is more difficult is explaining the details of how these things work.

In a straightforward courtroom presentation graphic below, we showed that the total revenue of a bank far exceeded the gross national product of Guatemala. We used a supermarket scale and money bags – a basic concept that any juror can follow – to make an indelible impression on the jurors.



In another very straightforward courtroom presentation graphic, we showed people sitting around a conference table as a partner in a major accounting firm told them about a highly questionable tax shelter that the firm was marketing. The “shady characters” are shown in shadow to emphasize the dubious nature of what they are doing.

banking fraud skelly

In another courtroom presentation illustration for the same case, we portrayed this complicated financial transaction with an illustrated flow chart with seven steps, beginning with “Taxpayer realized Capital Gain” and ending with “Taxpayer Reports Loss to IRS.” Even if a juror does not fully understand the transaction on the same level as those who devised it, he or she certainly understands that somehow a “Capital Gain” was transformed into a “Loss” for the IRS. The juror has paid taxes and has never been able to convert a gain into a loss, we can be assured.

what is a flip irs

We also graphically portrayed how a worldwide ATM network functions. At the bottom of the courtroom presentation chart are the individual bank customers, who are faced with the possibility of paying a “foreign fee” and a “surcharge.”

foreign atm fee graphic courtroom presentation

Finally, for litigation involving the BCCI bank scandal of the 1980s, we created a similar chart that showed the flow of money from various entities in that case to BCCI.  This case represented our first billion dollar win.  We've had hundreds since.

BCCI banking fraud courtroom presentations


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 Ways Litigation Consultants Add Pizzazz to a Tedious Case

 

Very often, trial lawyers face what feels like an impossible dilemma. The case that they want to present is extremely complex, intensely tedious or worse yet, both.

However their audience, the very people who need to understand the facts of the case and render a verdict in the client’s favor, are jurors – everyday people with full-time jobs and often without any relevant technical background.  Enter the litigation consultants.

Whether a case involves a patent dispute over electronic circuits, or an environmental issue involving leaking storage tanks, or an antitrust prosecution where complicated business strategies are being tested, it’s pretty certain that the jurors who are the ultimate decision-makers will have little or no previous knowledge of the topic. Let's hope they can muster an interest - most jurors can - for a reasonable period of time. With this pretext in mind, the good news is that there are proven strategies employed by litigation consultants to solve these very problems, and these same strategies can be used by trial counsel in any case.

So, how does one prevent jurors from being bored and tuning out the trial presentation? After all, a great case on the law and the facts is useless if the jurors aren’t listening.

The answer is: Use any one (or a combination) of these 5 proven trial presentation techniques used by litigation consultants to provide entertainment value while you, as trial counsel, educate and persuade.


  1. Create a Compelling Visual Experience:  When people watch the news, they now typically receive it in 30-second sound bites, YouTube presentations, and color photographs, diagrams, and graphics.  Like it or not, the days of families gathering to watch Walter Cronkite each weekday evening are gone.

    Decades ago, many daily newspapers, prodded by the success of USA Today, started putting data about everything from baseball averages to political poll standings to vaccination rates into color-coded charts and graphs. The Internet, where most people receive the majority of their news today, only magnifies that trend.

    Good litigation consultants use the same visual communication methods to help trial counsel create a compelling experience for the jury -- one that communicates with them on a variety of different levels. So, instead of using PowerPoint exhibits only, also use printed trial boards in combination to mix the mediums and enhance the viewer’s experience. Instead of showing documentary evidence only, consider including some appropriate animation. Rather than showing your presentation entirely on a screen, show some photos on an iPad as well.

    Create a complete experience using information design tactics that touches all senses and all three learning styles. It’s all about the total trial presentation – not just the answers that the witnesses give on the stand and the summations to the jury.

     
  2. Create a Memorable Experience:  Lawyers need to provide the jurors with a memorable experience if they expect the jurors to pay attention. Trial lawyers can mimic the memory techniques used by experienced litigation consultants. Even with a “boring” or “technical” subject, if you use the right tools, jurors will remember.

    Consider the use of scale models or physical models in the courtroom to make a case more memorable for a juror, especially those with a kinesthetic learning style. Remember also that color coding and the use of alliteration can further imprint the memory of the listeners and keep their attention, so do not discount these simple devices to help jurors track information and key facts.

    Also consider using an image that sticks with a jury. In the example below, in order to convey the notion that an expert gives different business valuations to different audiences, we use a memorable image of the two-sided man.  Obviously the goal here is to undermine credibility of the opposition’s expert.

    litigation consultants 

  3. Use Interesting Analogies:  A good analogy can be delivered orally or by video, diagrams, animations, three-dimensional models, or anything that will keep jurors’ interest.  A lawyer can use this strategy regardless of how large or small the client’s pocketbook is.

    For example, if the case is about software and whether the modifications constituted an invention, use a familiar analogy to tell that story instead of continuing to show line after line of code. Putting an abstract concept into everyday terms can help eliminate confusion and can sometimes create the added value of a more emotional connection to the facts.

    litigation consulting 

  4. Animation in Some Form Works: A top-rated litigation consulting and animation company knows how to build exhibits (whether the budget is severely limited or not) that convey information graphically and in a manner that piques the viewer’s interest.  Keep in mind that animation can be as simple as movement of information on a screen, ghosting (dulling) images or text to spotlight specific content at the pace desired by the presenter, or highlighting a key statement from a document.  Animation takes many forms and can allow the litigator to take control of even the most mundane information and present it in a far more interesting way.

    Litigation consulting companies, from their years of practical experience in managing trial exhibits, know what will work and what will not. A well-prepared animation will always capture a jury's attention. Some forms of animation can be produced in-house, and others require the help of litigation consultants. Learn about 4 courtroom animation styles in this article.
     
  5. Tell Great Stories:  The job of any trial lawyer is to advocate for his or her client’s interests as zealously as possible within ethical limits. Today, that responsibility includes making sure that the jurors remain awake, interested, and entertained. Litigation consultants use information design techniques in litigation to help tell great stories.

    For example, if the case turns on the credibility of a key witness. Tell a memorable and emotional story about them. In a corporate fraud and bankruptcy case, we successfully undermined the credibility of the plaintiff by pointing out his mixed motives in the case and his pattern of "wearing many hats" to suit that which benefited him most financially.

    litigation consultants 

Consider any or all of these top 5 winning litigation consulting techniques whenever you prepare to present and you can be certain that your presentations will be the better for it.

    Other related A2L Consulting Resources by our Litigation 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


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    Product Liability Demonstratives - Defects and Failure to Warn

     


    Demonstratives can frequently be used very effectively in product liability litigation, in which the issue is whether a product was manufactured negligently, causing harm – or in some cases, whether a product that was manufactured and used properly still caused harm to a consumer that leads to liability on the part of the manufacturer or seller.

    The demonstrative below shows that in order to get the same alcohol consumption as six regular beers, a consumer would have to drink 15 light beers – which, taken together, have more calories than the six regular beers. This "compensation" effect is an issue in some product liability cases.

    demonstratives product liability demonstrative evidence 

    As a popular website notes “People tend to drink more light beers than regular beers. It is because the consumer will have the need or urge to drink more light beer because drinking a single bottle of such won’t give the same effect as drinking a bottle of regular beer . . . because the alcohol may have been reduced significantly, the drinker tends to take in more light beer just to achieve that certain ‘drunk’ effect.” 

    The demonstratives below introduce the subject of “pack years” to the jury. In tobacco litigation, the number of “pack years” is relevant to the diseases caused by tobacco. A pack year is the number of cigarettes smoked annually by a person who smokes a pack a day, every day. If someone smokes two packs a day, he or she consumes a “pack year” in just six months.

    By using a size comparison to the Golden Gate Bridge, the demonstrative shows how many cigarettes are included in 30 pack years or 50 pack years and how large a volume those cigarettes would occupy. 

    A person who has smoked two packs of cigarettes per day for 10 years is considered to have a 20 pack-year smoking history. While the risk of lung cancer is increased with even a 10 pack-year smoking history, those with 30 pack-year histories or more are considered to have the greatest risk for the development of lung cancer.

    The demonstrative below was introduced in litigation concerning MTBE, a gasoline fuel additive that is often noted as a pollutant of ground water. It shows how small a percentage of ground water samples were actually shown to be polluted by MTBE at a level that is considered possibly dangerous to humans. The number of harmful readings appears as one tiny dot, or three tiny dots, in a large green field of safe levels of this chemical. This demonstrative graphic effectively summarizes the testimony of an expert.

    MTBE contamination demonstratives 

    The demonstrative exhibit below shows that neglecting to use a booster seat is an unsafe practice – just as riding a bicycle without a helmet and other protective devices is also unsafe.

    booster seat demonstratives

    The demonstrative below arranges preferred scientific tests in descending order of accuracy. We used a vertical printed trial board format to emphasize the preeminence of epidemiological testing in this case. While plaintiffs attempted to make the case that laboratory and animal testing were sufficient, the epidemiological science favored our defense position.

    demonstratives epidemiology science
    When complexity must be simplified and laypersons are called upon to decide whether a product has caused harm, demonstratives are a must.  Simple is best.  Fewer is more. However, getting to simple and arriving at fewer almost always requires lots of hard work and creativity which takes time. Often the demonstratives presented at trial are just the tip of the iceberg compared to what was prepared. This reflects effective litigation consulting.

     

    download-free-e-bookleton-leading-litiga

    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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    Trending: Mock Trial Testing of Litigation Graphics AND Arguments

     


    Many litigators have developed the excellent practice, while preparing to try a major case, ofmock trial running all or some their case before a mock jury and then debriefing the jury to see what worked and what didn’t, and to fine-tune their trial presentation accordingly.  A mock trial is an excellent investment of money and time when the matter is large and significant enough to permit it.  Not only can you test mock jurors’ reactions to alternative arguments and themes but also their reactions to the trial graphics you are considering for trial.

    As we found in a now well-known three-year study about the differences in the way litigators and jurors naturally communicate, more than two-thirds of jurors prefer to learn visually, and only a very small percentage prefer to learn by only listening. Until recently however, most mock trials tested only arguments, themes and sometimes some rudimentary demonstrative graphics.  Increasingly however, we are setting up mock trials, testing alternative arguments and themes, AND we are creating sophisticated trial-ready litigation graphics for BOTH sides of the case.  For the right case, this approach offers a more accurate predication of how the entire trial presentation will be received. It is a mock trial best-practice.

    A major purpose of using visual displays is to prompt an emotional response from jurors. Your mock jurors can tell you what emotions they felt at the mock trial.  They can tell you whether the graphics aided them in their understanding or decision process.  You always want jurors to respond in a positive way to your arguments: if they did not, this is the time to change the strategy.  Perhaps the graphics in such a case need to be more fact-based than emotion-invoking.

    Daniel Cooper, Esq., President of LitStrat Inc., says, “Given the powerful visual messaging that many of my clients develop for their consumers through a process of design, testing, revision and redesign, it is often surprising that they or their lawyers do not utilize the same process for the design and development of effective visual messages in the trial setting.”

    In some cases, this mock trial preparation technique can even help you gauge the strength of the case based on the mock jurors’ responses to the graphics and to decide whether to proceed to trial or not.  And you can test the strength of the opponent’s graphics as well, to see if they are credible in a jury’s eyes.  If you are using the graphics simply to instruct the jury, the mock trial will help you know whether they understood the key concepts as you hoped they would.

    When asked about testing graphics at a mock trial, Rick Fuentes of R&D Strategic Solutions commented, “Hopefully you can learn if the visual did the job it was supposed to do -- if the jurors understood the most important aspects, remembered the more important details later and used them in their decision.  You want to know if the jurors were able to tie the important aspects together and get the message you are trying to convey.“

    A mock trial setting will also give you the ability to test your arguments with and without graphics to determine what graphics and animations, if any, are needed. In addition, a mock trial can help you decide what type of graphics to use. Were foam core trial boards enough?  Did animated graphics work better than still graphics, or vice versa?  Is 3-D animation needed?

    Sometimes, the question is simply whether a detailed graphic presentation is needed or whether it is a bit much for the client and for the circumstances. Although most jurors expect some sort of technology in a presentation, sometimes less is more, and you may want to keep the technology more low-key.  Occasionally, there’s the danger of seeming too slick, too large and corporate, against an opponent who can present a “David and Goliath” scenario.

    Don’t forget that one of the purposes of using a mock jury (or mock judge or arbitrator) is to test how well your graphic exhibits, and those of your opponents' will play.

    interested-in-a-free-cle-at-your-firma2             

    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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    4 Tips for Using Trial Graphics in Motions and Briefs

     

    Most people, when they think of trial graphics, focus on exhibits to be used at trial. But graphics can also be used in motions and briefs presented to judges, even if jurors will never see them. After all, if you are using graphics to make your argument or tell your story at trial, why not use them at an earlier stage to make your argument convincingly in your brief?

    In addition, a lawyer who introduces graphics early in a proceeding can lay the groundwork for later use at trial or in another aspect of the case. This can also give the lawyer a sense of how receptive the judge is to the use of trial graphics in the case.

    Here are some tips for using graphics in your brief:

    1. First, keep it simple. The judge is, after all, reading a document, and the images need to be easily incorporated into the document. Motion pictures and similar animations obviously won’t work well -- unless of course you are submitting an e-brief.
       
    2. Second, consider the amount of space you have to work with. The image needs to fit into the space appropriately.
       
    3. Third, using color is OK; just because a trial graphic is embedded in a court document doesn’t mean it has to be in black and white.
       
    4. Fourth, using trial graphics to simplify a complex aspect of the case is one of the best possible uses.
    Trial graphics can effectively be used to illuminate motions in a number of areas of law, including bankruptcy, patent litigation, and litigation involving highly technical areas of scientific research.

    In the first example below, the issue regarding the patent was the curvature of the rails in the equipment. As a portion of the case itself involved graphics in the form of the geometric curve, the curvature was hard to explain verbally but was much easier to delineate in a sketch.
    graphics in motionsSecond, in a bankruptcy matter, a law firm needed to explain the Continuous Linked Settlement (CLS) system that was carried out by CLS Bank to provide settlement services. The CLS settlement process is very difficult to explain, so we developed a series of graphics for use in a brief that explained the settlement and clearing process.
    graphics in briefs
    Finally, in a pro bono assignment that we undertook involving the interpretation of a prohibition on the use of federal funds for stem-cell research, a key issue emerged regarding the definition of the term “research” in an amendment passed by Congress.

    Through a series of graphics that were incorporated in a memorandum in opposition to a motion for summary judgment, we illustrated our client’s position that the term “research” can be conceptualized in many different ways and that the opposing brief, in selecting just one of those interpretations, was interpreting the term arbitrarily.

    In Figure 1, for example, we showed that stem-cell research can be defined as separate from the derivation of embryonic stem cells and is not identical with the derivation process. In Figure 2, we showed that the opposing brief was trying to group stem-cell research and the derivation process together, a conclusion that was not justified by the statute. And in Figure 3, we showed that it is even possible to interpret the term “research” to encompass an entire area of inquiry, thus preventing federal funding of a whole type of research in a way that Congress could not have intended.
    trial graphics filing

    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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    Printed Trial Boards Making a Comeback? It's Courtroom Deja Vu!

     


    Electronic presentation tools such as PowerPoint and Trial Director have changed the wayprinted foam core trial boards in which lawyers and trial consultants present evidence to juries. These programs and others like them are so flexible and helpful in presenting numerical data, timelines, biological processes, the workings of machinery, and other information that in many ways they have displaced the old-fashioned methods such as printing words and graphics on foam core trial boards.

    However, I believe that the printed and mounted foam core trial board is making a comeback and should return to the arsenal of trial presentation tools used by litigators – if it ever left at all.

    After all, the purpose of any trial exhibit is the communication of information. The precise medium of communication is secondary. Any trial exhibit is designed to represent information that is relevant to the case in a way that fosters a believable and lasting impression with the judge or jury.   

    While most of our exhibits are electronic these days, we are still, in the appropriate cases, presenting exhibits on foam core where the situation calls for it.

    When A2L was founded 16 years ago, we would go to court with hundreds of 40 inch by 60 inch trial boards for a single trial. Every document call-out, every photo and every other type of exhibit was printed. Rare was the use of electronic evidence. That changed gradually over the years, and now jurors, in every kind of complex case, in every region of the country, have come to expect to see fairly sophisticated electronic evidence in the courtroom.

    using litigation graphics courtroom to persuade trial graphics a2l consulting

    Now, it is the trial board which is rare. Like a miniature poodle in a group of dogs of ordinary size, or a handwritten, signed letter in a sea of emails, a trial board stands out.

    To a jury, a board is not something they are used to seeing. So when they see it, they pay attention to this special thing that has been crafted for them.

    Foam core is a type of material that is ideally suited for trial boards. It consists of an inner layer of polystyrene with outer facing of white clay-coated paper. Trial exhibits are printed on a large format printer and mounted onto the foam core board. Optionally, they can be laminated to give the board a more finished look and additional strength.  Printed trial boards can be easily displayed for viewing by judges and juries and will stand up to repeated handling, yet they are not overly expensive.

    We now advise our clients to use foam core boards to draw attention to the key messages in their case. To us, documentary evidence is like the words of a sentence, demonstrative evidence is like the commas and trial boards are like the exclamation points.

    To see more examples of our trial graphics click here.

    To download free litigation consulting and trial consulting materials click here.

     

    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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