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The Litigation Consulting Report

The Best Ways to Use Calendars in Legal Graphics

Posted by Ken Lopez on Tue, Apr 10, 2012 @ 09:28 AM

medical treatment calendar legal graphicsWe have previously discussed how valuable timelines used as legal graphics can be in the presentation of facts at trial. As we have noted, most cases involve the placing of events along some sort of time sequence, and timelines, if they are well designed, can give jurors a straightforward introduction to the facts of a case. In fact, we recently released an e-book describing best practices for the use of timelines and legal graphics at trial.

Like timelines, calendars are also an intuitive way to organize facts and events that occur in a time sequence. In fact, they are even more intuitive because everyone is familiar with them and because they help everyone organize information on a day-to-day basis. Calendars can be especially helpful at trial when there is a lot of data that must be conveyed quickly and understandably, and when that data must be understood as a time sequence. This could involve conversations, meetings, appointments, dates of official events (such as the signing of a will or a contract), and the like.

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 In What You Didn’t Learn In Law School About Trial Practice (2008), longtime Indiana trial lawyer Charles Bruess wrote: “In an employment discrimination case in which the defendant company maintained plaintiff was discharged for excessive absenteeism, an issue was what days plaintiff worked or did not work. Counsel brought large monthly calendars, placed them on an easel, and, as the witness testified as to the days worked or not worked, the dates were marked accordingly on the calendars. The calendars were marked as exhibits and were introduced into evidence.”

Below, to cite another legal graphics example, we used a calendar to illustrate key dates in the RFP process for a government contract, starting with the date on which the compressed RFP was issued by the Department of Defense.

In this series of legal graphics we show, in a partnership dispute, the dates on which the defendant was in the office and the dates on which he received calls or faxes from the plaintiff.


In an employment case, we used this ordinary calendar legal graphic to illustrate the dates on which a plaintiff took days off from work for various reasons. A simple color-coding technique made it easy for the jury to understand the sequence. 

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Next, in a medical treatment calendar legal graphic, we showed the dates of key surgeries, office visits, and hospital stays, again accompanied by a simple color-coding technique.


legal graphics medical treatment timeline

Finally, we used a calendar legal graphic to show key dates in the development of an invention that was at issue in a patent trial.

legal graphics patent invention calendar


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Tags: Trial Graphics, Litigation Graphics, Trial Presentation, Courtroom Presentations, Demonstrative Evidence, Timelines, Calendars

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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.

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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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