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There are many situations outside of trial where lawyers find themselves in a courtroom or courtroom-like environment. Some examples include a mock trial, a pretrial hearing, an arbitration, a mediation, or an administrative hearing. Some of these situations are a lot like trial, yet I find many litigators don’t treat them like a trial. I think they should. One such example whose lesson applies broadly to almost any trial attorney is a relatively new type of administrative hearing that occurs every day at the Patent & Trademark Office. It’s called an inter partes review hearing (IPR). And if you think this article applies only to patent litigators, you’re wrong. This type of hearing has lessons for all trial attorneys. The work that patent litigators do is almost always complex. Over the past 24 years at A2L, roughly 40 percent of our work has involved patent litigation. That makes sense because the work of A2L is perfectly suited to patent litigation. We have three primary services: conducting mock trials and jury research, simplifying complex information with litigation graphics and expert storytelling, and using trial technology to quickly convey information to the factfinder. Patent litigators, after all, need to convey complicated information in a jury-friendly way. It needs to be understandable and persuasive and needs to tell a story that people will care about, a story that must be delivered in a winning manner. That’s why as far back as the 1990s, it has been patent litigators whom A2L worked with most often. In 2009, the America Invents Act (AIA) fundamentally changed the way in which patent cases are tried. The act allows for, among other things, something of a shortcut method to challenge the validity of a patent via a hearing at the Patent and Trademark office. There are judges and there is vigorous opposition from opposing counsel. But what’s missing here compared with most patent trials -- professionally prepared litigation graphics, a clear and compelling story, and an effort to highlight only the important information in the oral presentation. See 5 Tips For Inter Partes Review Hearing Presentations at the PTO. I heard a quote from Judge Learned Hand recently that underscores this last point: With the courage which only comes of justified self-confidence, he dared to rest his case upon its strongest point, and so avoided that appearance of weakness and uncertainty which comes of a clutter of arguments. Few lawyers are willing to do this; it is the mark of the most distinguished talent. If you want to see 100+ bullet point-ridden slides with trial counsel reading from them (see How Many PowerPoint Slides Should You Use in a Typical Trial? and 12 Ways to SUCCESSFULLY Combine Oral and Visual Presentations), this venue is all too often the place to find them. Considering the material and what is at stake, this is pure self-sabotage on behalf of a legal team. Patent lawyers generally do well at trial working with A2L, but for some reason, many have reverted to the behaviors of the 1980s and 1990s in this venue.  Of course, I notice this in all sorts of venues, unfortunately, and I want to raise awareness for both trial counsel and clients in all areas. The science is well settled on why litigation graphics are necessary - even in a bench trial environment. See 6 Studies That Support Litigation Graphics in Courtroom Presentations. The same is true for telling a compelling story and doing that efficiently. I have heard this sentiment from judges and practitioners alike. One veteran patent litigator, Rob Mattson of the Oblon law firm, spoke to me about IPRs, “These cases are similar to a summary judgment hearing, and the judges want to understand the technology and what is in dispute as efficiently as possible. Getting the litigation graphics right here is just as important as in trial, although there may only be 20 key slides instead of 80.” I believe that this is a broad lesson that goes well beyond the inter partes review hearing. Consider some of these articles on each of these areas and how they might apply to what you present to your fact-finder. Presenting in arbitration/mediation Presenting in international arbitration Presenting in inter partes review hearings 14 Places Your Colleagues Are Using Persuasive Graphics (That Maybe You're Not) Presenting in class certification hearings Presenting in Markman hearings Presenting at the ITC Presenting in mock trials

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Litigation Graphics in Arbitrations

In most years at A2L, we are in one or more courtroom-based trials every single day of the year. Increasingly, however, I’m seeing arbitration take the place of more and more trials. One recent article published by Law360 noted that the number of federal trials has dropped by nearly half and pointed to the increased use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as one of the reasons for that. While the lawyers who lead an ADR team are often the same lawyers who run trial teams, I have noticed that there is far less sophistication in the use of litigation graphics during an arbitration as opposed to a trial. In trial, whether a bench trial or a jury trial, most litigators find a way to use litigation graphics. They don’t always do it well and many hurt themselves by making what are obvious mistakes to experts like us -- but at least they are trying. In arbitrations, however, I see a lot of trial lawyers acting gun shy when it comes to the use of litigation graphics. In my experience, lawyers should be using litigation graphics at every single arbitration, and it doesn’t matter whether the arbitrator or the panel of arbitrators are expert on the topic.

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  by Ryan H. Flax (Former) Managing Director, Litigation Consulting and General Counsel A2L Consulting High-stakes litigation is hugely expensive these days. But what if there were a means of reducing litigation costs in a way that helps both the trial team and the client and doesn’t sacrifice the quality of legal representation? That would make in-house counsel very happy, since an important part of their job is to budget and control litigation costs. There are a number of ways to do this, such as using alternative fee arrangements, streamlining litigation teams and bringing e-discovery in house. But what about a more radical step – trying to win your case well before trial? That would indeed be a cost saver and would lead to an excellent result.

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  by Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting We at A2L are sponsoring later this month a new and exciting webinar entitled “Winning Your Case BEFORE Trial Using Persuasive Litigation Graphics.” Whether you are in-house counsel, outside counsel, or a member of a litigation support team, this 60-minute webinar will prove invaluable and will reveal secrets of persuasion that will help you win cases before trial. The key insight here is that graphics aren’t only for use at trial. They can also be used very effectively in motions and briefs presented to judges, even if jurors will never see them. If you are planning to use 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 or motion?

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by Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting

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by Ken Lopez Founder & CEO A2L Consulting 

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

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by Daniel Carey, Senior Trial Technician, A2L Consulting I'm in Chicago and halfway through a one-month arbitration. Seated across from me is opposing counsel. Steve Jobs would have been proud. In the conference room where the arbitration is being held, four out of five attorneys are using iPads, propped in both landscape and portrait, all with Bluetooth keyboards. A Bluetooth keyboard is a wireless keyboard, either similar to a normal wireless keyboard or a pocket-size device that projects a full-size keyboard through infrared technology onto any flat surface. In my last case, in Fairfax, Va., our counsel placed his iPad upon the ELMO (a device normally used to digitally project hard copy documents). The judge asked on the record, "Do you have an app for that?" There is an app for nearly everything these days. The world has changed, and so has my work as a trial technician. As you probably know, a trial technician (sometimes called trial consultant, trial tech or hot-seat operator) goes from trial to trial (or arbitration or hearing) providing litigation support services to the trial team. Specifically, I am normally responsible for: building the exhibit and document database prior to trial; cutting deposition clips and syncing them with a transcript; working with counsel to prep witnesses to work with an electronic presentation; setting up the war room and courtroom with electronics; working to finalize the documentary and demonstrative presentations; running the electronics in the courtroom so that any piece of evidence is accessible instantly; making on-the-fly demonstratives to be used with a witness on cross; running the demonstrative and documentary evidence presentation; All of these tasks ordinarily need to be done on little sleep, and in the trial technician profession, we are not allowed to show stress – ever. In fact, our jobs as trial technicians are to absorb stress. The same is true for technological change in our business. It is inevitable, and it is something that we must absorb.  The iPad is bringing rapid change just as PowerPoint once did.  It will not be long before jurors are given iPads to use throughout trial (Facebook-disabled, of course). As Peter Summerill, a Utah attorney and author of the MacLitigator blog, has written, “At trial, the iPad really shines. Trial technology should be transparent. This means that it should not appear to the jury as (1) overly flashy; or, (2) a complete headache and a distraction to the attorney. Apple has created a product which facilitates presentation of evidence without getting in the way and does so in a completely unassuming fashion.” Over the last year our technology team has pioneered ways to publish ebriefs on an iPad and to view all case documents and proposed demonstrative exhibits via an iPad app. Now I am seeing iPads spread quickly into courtrooms and arbitration rooms around the country.  It is an exciting time, and it is a great time to be a trial technician and a great time to try cases.  

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