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The Litigation Consulting Report

Making Good Use of Trial Director & Demonstratives in an Arbitration

Posted by Ken Lopez on Thu, Jan 5, 2012 @ 07:26 AM

trial director technology presentationTrialDirector, 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 about corporate balance sheets, long-ago emails, and other documents that can be fatally boring and lose the attention of the fact-finder.

At A2L Consulting, we have been using TrialDirector to support our presentations and to help our clients win cases for more than a decade. The combination of this software and a well-trained “hot seat operator” makes presentations interesting and sprightly. We generally pair TrialDirector with PowerPoint, other specialty software, specially constructed scale models, and the occasional printed large-format foam core trial board to put together a full trial presentation. We use TrialDirector for more than half the cases we support.

For example, in the case of Railroad Development Corporation v. Republic of Guatemala, we worked with the Railroad Development Corporation and with the international law firm of Greenberg Traurig to make an arbitration case at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, the leading international arbitration institution devoted to investor-State dispute settlement. This was a two-week arbitration.


The video here shows how closely integrated the witness’s testimony is with the document that he is describing (an excellent use of TrialDirector), as well as the use of a carefully designed PowerPoint to show the status of the Guatemalan railroad at issue and the work that was done to improve that railroad. Using Trial Director, our hot seat operator brings up documents in real time and highlights them in color to point out the key aspects that we want to emphasize.

The video also briefly shows part of the opposing side’s low-tech presentation (begins at 5:15), which is based on “sticky notes” and a PowerPoint template that is not tailored to the case at hand. Our presentation is much more likely to capture the attention of the fact finders in what otherwise might be seen as a dry-as-dust case.

The basic point is that all cases benefit from the thoughtful presentation of evidence. The more haphazard the presentation, the less credible the presenter will be. Our TrialDirector operators are specifically trained in the use of that powerful software – but the key to success for a trial technician is not just the software savvy but also the ability to work on the fly, to suggest creative ways of presenting evidence, and to work long hours for weeks at a time.

Below are some other resources about TrialDirector and Trial Technicians on our site:

Trial technicians using TrialDirector are normally responsible for the following at A2L:
  • creating a trial exhibit and document database before trial starts;
  • making deposition clips and syncing them with a transcript;
  • helping the litigation team to prepare witnesses to build their comfort with an electronic presentation;
  • setting up a war room and electronic courtroom with trial presentation technology;
  • helping to finalize the case-in-chief and demonstrative evidence presentations;
  • running the trial presentation technology in the courtroom so any document is accessible instantly;
  • creating on-the-fly demonstrative evidence to be used with a witness on cross examination;
  • running the entire trial presentation using Trial Director;

Some additional trial technology, trial graphics and trial technician articles that you may find useful include:


best demonstrative evidence trial presentation provider

Tags: Trial Technicians, Trial Consultants, Trial Presentation, Litigation Technology, Hot Seat Operators, Trial Technology, Arbitration/Mediation, PowerPoint, Trial Director, Document Call-Outs

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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.


Tony Klapper joined A2L Consulting after accumulating 20 years of litigation experience while a partner at both Reed Smith and Kirkland & Ellis. Today, he is the Managing Director of Litigation Consulting and General Counsel for A2L Consulting. Tony has significant litigation experience in products liability, toxic tort, employment, financial services, government contract, insurance, and other commercial disputes.  In those matters, he has almost always been the point person for demonstrative evidence and narrative development on his trial teams. Tony can be reached at klapper@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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