The Litigation Consulting Report

17 Topics We Would Absolutely Love to Speak to Your Group About

Posted by Ken Lopez on Mon, Apr 7, 2014 @ 02:30 PM

 

a2l litigation support speaking cleby Ken Lopez
Founder/CEO
A2L Consulting

My colleagues and I at A2L work hard to be thought leaders in the litigation consulting and visual persuasion industries. So, it is fortunate that we are invited to speak at quite a large number of events every year. Not only do we speak at the legal conferences you'd probably guess we do, but we also have the opportunity to speak at CLE's, litigation lunches, partner retreats, online webinars and even non-legal industry conferences.

In the past several years, I have participated in many such events in the legal industry. However, some of the most interesting events for me have been speaking at Salesforce.com's Dreamforce conference about professional services firms using salesforce, HubSpot's Inbound marketing conference about how to get started with content marketing, and one event I'm looking forward to in particular is a commencement address for the graduate campus of the University of Mary Washington next month.

My colleagues and I enjoy speaking, because we love what we do. Speakers at A2L Consulting include business experts, marketing experts, jury consulting experts, witness prep experts, visual persuasion experts, experts at communicating about science to lay audience, experts in PowerPoint usage and much more.

Using a combination of traditional travel and modern videoconferencing, we speak at events around the world. For the vast majority of events that we participate in, we do so at absolutely no charge. In general, law firms, government agencies and corporations will cover out-of-pocket costs for CLE registration and travel where applicable. I think these events are a win-win for everyone involved.

Below are 17 topics we would absolutely love to talk with your group about: 

1. Using PowerPoint Litigation Graphics to Win at Trial: We have a CLE already approved in a number of states related to this topic. We also recently conducted a webinar version that is similar to the CLE. Watch the webinar PowerPoint litigation graphics webinar anytime here.

2. Building Persuasive Visuals: For many years, we have been creating persuasive visuals outside of the courtroom environment. These visual persuasion devices are being used in lobbying presentations, to help motivate executives to take action, to influence the general public and much more. To learn more about building persuasive visual presentations, download our e-book, How to Build Persuasive and Engaging Presentations.

3. Storytelling for Litigators: There is good science that supports the use of stories when persuading an audience. It's something that great litigators know intuitively, and it is something that any litigator can learn. We recently conducted a free online webinar called Using Storytelling as a Persuasion Tool that can be watched free anytime.

4. How to Make and Use Powerful Trial Timelines: We have released a free e-book called The Litigation Guide to Trial Timelines, and this is a topic no courtroom-focused professional can avoid. Timelines are used at almost every trial, and making a good one is quite hard.

5. Patent Litigation Graphics: Patent litigator Ryan Flax amazes new and veteran patent litigators by showing what works in patent litigation demonstrative evidence. He is a visual persuasion expert and contributed to more than $1 billion in jury verdicts while practicing. He recently conducted a free online webinar called Patent Litigation Visual Persuasion Techniques that can be watched here anytime.

6. Communicating Scientific Concepts to a Lay Audience: We work with leading scientific consultants frequently. In a soon-to-be-announced free webinar, we'll discuss how to pick the best experts and how to communicate scientific concepts to judges, juries and the general public. In the meantime, we have a great e-book called Using Science to Prevail in Your Next Case or Controversy.

7. Antitrust Litigation Graphics: As we recently wrote about in the just released Antitrust Litigation Guide to Trial Prep and Trial Presentation book, antitrust is a very challenging area for juries. The challenge of explaining economics, charts, graphs and equations is frequently underestimated by antitrust litigators - even in bench trials.

8. Environmental Litigation Graphics: We consult on a lot of environmental litigation at A2L. There are common challenges from case to case that mostly have to do with helping experts in their testimony. We cover these topics and more in a related e-book The Environmental Litigation Trial Presentation & Trial Prep E-Book.

9. Labor & Employment Litigation Graphics and Trial Consulting: Some of our team will be speaking to a government agency about this topic this week, and they are looking forward to it.

10. Construction Litigation Graphics: It's been a few years since we presented at the Construction SuperConference, but our work in construction delay and defect cases has continued unabated. Here are some related construction litigation blog articles.

11. How to Use Jury Consulting in a Valuable Way: Jury consulting is a misnomer for describing what we do. Our work frequently includes mock bench trials, mock appeal hearings, and witness preparation in addition to the traditional jury selection and mock trial services. Learning about how best to use trial consultants is a very valuable topic for litigators. We discuss many of these topics in our free Trial Consulting Handbook for Litigators.

12. Life in the New Normal Legal Economy: We have written articles about alternative fee arrangements that we use, suggestions for in-house counsel on setting up preferred litigation support vendor programs, penned a series of articles targeted at emerging midsize litigation law firms, and have released a book about the New Normal Legal economy. It's a topic we clearly enjoy speaking about even when sometimes it makes us all a bit uncomfortable.

13. Why Are So Many Opening Statements Ineffective: They don't have to be long to be strong, you should never say "I'll talk about that later," and what has to be accomplished in the first 5 minutes or you'll likely lose your case are all topics we are passionate and knowledgeable about.

14. How to Really Assess and Prepare a Witness: We write about witnesses often, both lay and expert. Getting either prepared is something our people have done for decades. We have thousands of accumulated hours preparing witnesses and a correspondingly long list of tips and secrets to share. I think this article and this one do a good job describing our feelings about witness prep and witness testimony.

15. How Important it is to Look at Non-Verbal Behavior in the Era of the Video Deposition: I am still stunned by watching the performances in these depositions, particularly the Justin Beiber depo. Learn how to manage your client from our experts. Sometimes it is easier, better and cheaper for an outsider to prepare the witness, and we'd love to discuss what we have learned from those experiences.

16. Why Lawyer-Generated Graphics Don't Work: We don't want artists to practice law any more than we want lawyers preparing graphics. There are dozens of reasons for this, and we are happy to share them. Here's a blog post to get the ball rolling on lawyer-prepared graphics though.

17. E-Briefing and Brief Writing in the Era of the iPad: Did you know that the way people read a page of text has changed in the last ten years? If you are still writing briefs the same way you did fifteen years ago, you're missing some easy opportunities to persuade quickly. Take a look at this discussion about ipads and hyperlinked e-briefs.

If you would like to discuss a member of A2L's team speaking at your next event or have any other questions, please contact A2L's Director of Operations, Alex Brown at brown@A2LC.com or 800.337.7697 x121. We try to say yes to everything that we can given our hectic schedules. Whether it is a litigation lunch via video conference, an in-person CLE or whether it is a conference speaking opportunity, we would love to hear from you.

 

Tags: e-Briefs, Litigation Graphics, Jury Consulting, Patent Litigation, Environmental Litigation, Storytelling, PowerPoint, Opening, Alternative Fee Arrangements, CLE, Antitrust Litigation

14 Places Your Colleagues Are Using Persuasive Graphics (That Maybe You're Not)

Posted by Ken Lopez on Thu, Oct 11, 2012 @ 08:15 AM


persuasive graphics trial litigation graphicsby Ken Lopez
Founder & CEO
A2L Consulting 

People often focus on the use of trial graphics in, well, trials. And there’s no doubt that that’s where persuasive graphics, presentations, and exhibits are most often used. But you might be surprised to see how many other places are appropriate for the use of litigation style graphics. Here are 14 good examples. 

  1. In motions: A juror will never see them but a judge will. For more on this topic, read our article on using litigation and trial graphics in motions.

  2. In briefs: Generally, trial graphics are used for perfectly normal reasons in briefs. Occasionally, an attorney will use them for the sake of humor or just to prove a point. See this comical courtroom brief.



  3. In depositions: One of our clients recently asked us to prepare litigation graphics for depositions with an eye toward using those same graphics at trial.

  4. In mock trials: These can be an excellent investment of money and time in a case that is large enough and significant enough to justify the use of litigation graphics during the mock. See our article on using litigation graphics during a mock trial.
     
  5. In pre-trial hearings: We all know graphics are used in Markman hearings, but they are also frequently used in summary judgment hearings and in hearings on motions to dismiss. Again, the jury will not see the exhibits but a judge will.

  6. In arbitration and alternative dispute resolution: This use of trial graphics is overlooked more than others. Many arbitrations follow rules of evidence and resemble trials, and litigation graphics are quite appropriate in them and in ADR generally.

  7. In class certification hearings: Graphic demonstrations can be used in many aspect of class actions, and the issue of “predominance” is one in which they are especially useful.

  8. In advocacy and lobbying presentations: Hydraulic fracturing is a controversial issue, and the graphic that we prepared shows how fracking works and may dispel some unwarranted myths and fears about fracking. It's received 60,000 views as of this writing demonstrating how one might use PowerPoint and video to get a message out.

  9. In presentation graphics: Most of us prepare and deliver presentations as part of our work. This article on presentation graphics showing how the President prepares and delivers an effective visual presentation using persuasive graphics is a good guide for any of us.

  10. In e-briefs: This technique is being used more and more frequently by trial lawyers, and e-briefs are now including litigation graphics, sometimes animated graphics too.

  11. In e-discovery disputes: Sometimes, a courtroom presentation consultant will demonstrate what documents were missing and why sanctions were warranted. Sometime the graphics illustrate, to the contrary, that the documents were completely or largely produced or that the matter in dispute is not large enough to require sanctions. E-discovery hearings are utilizing persuasive graphics more and more.

  12. In settlement discussions: We have seen trial graphics prepared for settlement many times in the last two decades. Recently, however, the sophistication demanded of those graphics has been on the rise. Sometimes, even high-end 3-D animations are prepared. The trick, of course, is to balance the persuasive benefit of the graphics with the risk that settlement talks fail, and you tip your hand leading up to trial.

  13. In pre-indictment meetings: As government budgets have increased over the last four years, so too have pre-indictment meetings with prosecutors. We have prepared countless 'clopening' style presentations for these meetings hoping to help our client avoid indictment altogether. Well-thought-through persuasive graphics may help avoid a negative life or company changing event.

  14. In technology tutorials: No longer are technology tutorials used only in patent cases to help educate the judge. Litigators are requesting to submit them in other cases where educating the judge is beneficial to both sides. This could include complex financial cases, large antitrust matters with a complex product at issue and many other types of cases.

Tags: e-Briefs, Patent Tutorial, Markman Hearings, Arbitration/Mediation, Presentation Graphics, Advocacy Graphics, Judges, Claim Construction, Depositions, White Collar, Class Action

Comic Brief for Your Comic Relief: Teaching with Graphics

Posted by Ryan Flax on Fri, Sep 7, 2012 @ 02:08 PM


graphics brief litigation apple a2l consultantsRyan H. Flax
Managing Director, Litigation Consulting
A2L Consulting 

As the title suggests, this post will offer a moment of levity on this Friday afternoon.  On Tuesday (September 4, 2012), an attorney filed an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in United States v. Apple, Inc. et al.  The authoring attorney is Bob Kohn, and he filed the brief on his own behalf.  The case relates to a proposed Department of Justice settlement with book publishers over accusations of e-book price fixing and attorney Kohn’s position is that the DOJ’s premise for settlement is based on faulty legal interpretations.  Kohn wants public disclosure of the DOJ investigation that led to the charges against the publishers.

Comic Brief for Comic Relief - US v. Apple Antitrust Filing Opens Eyes

As reported by the ABA Journal, Bob Kohn explained (to Bloomberg and the New York Times) that he chose this unusual format for the brief after U.S. District Judge Denise Cote limited the filing to just five pages.  The opening and closing points of Kohn’s brief make clear his frustration with the court’s 5-page limit.  Kohn explained “I thought of the idea of using pictures which, as we know, paint a thousand words.”

Whether Kohn’s arguments are right or wrong and the nuances of antitrust law at issue are less interesting to me than this graphical format of his brief.  Mr. Kohn himself points out the common colloquialism a picture is worth a thousand words – he actually used fewer than 800 words in his entire brief, but I think he got his point across pretty well.  I think you’ll agree that he got more than 800 words worth of argument across in this document.

It’s been suggested (and it seems quite clear) that Kohn’s comic strip brief is intended to reach beyond the judge’s desk to the court of pubic opinion.  The graphic format is something easily understandable to anyone who reads it – lawyers and their neighbors and their friends and families, alike.  Kohn’s brief underscores a point that is central to our work here at A2L – real people (e.g., jurors and judges) prefer to learn with the assistance of graphics and that fact makes a presentation that extensively includes graphics far more persuasive.

Kohn’s brief was not effective at changing the Court’s mind in approving the DOJ settlement, but it is certainly an attention grabber and was effective at teaching the basics of the case and Kohn’s position.  I couldn’t care less about the issues of the subject case, but, nevertheless, read the entire brief (comic), was interested in how it would end, and did get Kohn’s points.  I’d say that makes a pretty good case for the brief's beyond-unconventional style and the importance of graphics in being persuasive, generally.

Let me know what you think.  Add a comment below.

 

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. 

Tags: e-Briefs, Trial Graphics, Litigation Graphics, Articles, Presentation Graphics, Antitrust Litigation

CLE Instruction from A2L's Litigation Consultants

Posted by Ken Lopez on Fri, Aug 3, 2012 @ 11:40 AM


cle a2l litigation consultants webinarForty-five states may have mandatory continuing legal education (CLE) requirements for attorneys – but all litigators and litigation support staff, wherever they are located, have a duty to stay informed and maintain their skills. Whether you are a first chair litigator or a litigation paralegal, given the pace of change in trial technology and trial strategy, it can be a challenge just to keep up with the latest trends.

One of the benefits that we enjoy as litigation consultants is that we are in trial more or less every day of the year. In contrast, even a major litigation law firm will find itself in trial perhaps a dozen times a year, and that is across the entire firm. These days, an attorney can make partner at a litigation law firm without ever participating in a jury trial.

Given the amount of trial experience that we have and our exposure to a variety of litigators, corporate counsel and litigation support staff, our litigation consultants are among the first to learn new styles and new techniques in the courtroom.

With this in mind, A2L Consulting has offered free CLE courses both live and in person over the last 17 years. Our litigation consultants take great pleasure in the work they do, and they are happy to teach others what works and what doesn’t work in today’s courtroom.

We have state bar accredited CLE programs already available in a number of states.  If one does not exist for your state, we are normally able to obtain approval in a short amount of time. 

We are happy to provide these CLE seminars free of charge and will teach them either in person, online or via a combination of the two techniques.  The topics of our programs include:

If there is a need to cover another topic, whether graphics or trial technology related or not, please let us know.

We have presented our CLE programs at top law firms throughout the country. Over the last several years, these have included such firms as Williams & Connolly; Greenberg Traurig;  Williams Mullen; Dickstein Shapiro; Wilmer Hale; McGuire Woods; Arent Fox; Holland & Knight; Becker Poliakoff; White & Case; Seyfarth Shaw; Baker Botts; Finnegan Henderson; Foley & Lardner; Bean, Kinney & Korman; Stein Sperling; and Middleton Reutlinger.

We have also presented programs for the U.S. Department of Justice and for the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).





Tags: e-Briefs, Trial Presentation, Litigation Consulting, Demonstrative Evidence, Trial Technology, Articles, Opening, Trial Director, Timelines, CLE

Hyperlinking Briefs: Be More Persuasive Using The iPad

Posted by Ryan Flax on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 @ 06:02 AM


Ryan H. Flax
, Managing Director, Litigation Consulting

I recently participated in a CLE presentation to the chief appellate counsels of the Attorney General offices of each state in the U.S. (and a few U.S. territories) and got a big surprise.


Hyperlinking Briefs ipad ebriefs 1
I was there to discuss the virtues of hyperlinking briefs (aka e-briefing), a subject well covered by other A2L blog posts, but specifically focusing on designing for the iPad (and other tablets).  My co-panelist preceding me in presenting actually called several judges on the phone live to ask them what technology they used when reading briefs.  To my astonishment, every one of them uses an iPad to read briefs!

 


I knew it was common, but I had no idea it was THAT common.  What a segue to my talk – I couldn’t have planned it better!  Suddenly, without me having to even try, every lawyer in the room was convinced of the importance of what I was about to say.
 

Hyperlinking Briefs e briefs ipad 2

My main points were that hyperlinked briefs/e-briefs (some even call them ibriefs) are a super persuasion tool and are a “simple” step beyond the typically court-required electronic filing for briefs and that it’s possible to design an e-brief to be specifically compatible with iPad (and other tablets) use.  Doing so provides a streamlined and convenient way for you to present your arguments to the court and also allows your writing style to shine through because the reader need not put your brief down to peruse the evidence and law you’ve cited.

It’s also possible to style your writing and brief presentation to be designed with an electronic-media-reading audience in mind. Attorney Robert B. Dubose commented on this subject [PDF], "The most important lesson . . . is that screen readers usually do not read thoroughly. . .  [A]lmost none of the readers read all of the words on the screen. When words are located toward the end of a paragraph, further down the page, or further to the right, they are less likely to be read."
 

list of courts prefer ebrief ipad hyperlinking hyperlinked

Beyond being a terrific convenience for the court, having hyperlinked e-briefs prepared is a major convenience for you as a litigator.  Imagine you’re in trial or a hearing and the subject matter of your hyperlinked brief becomes a contentious situation, e.g., you’ve filed a motion to preclude the opposing expert from straying from his report and he’s doing just that on the stand.  Now you can object and approach the bench with your iPad loaded with your motion that is hyperlinked to the expert’s report, which is also hyperlinked to its own exhibits.  Your objection will stand a far better chance of being sustained, and quickly, if you can show the judge exactly what the expert did and did not say in his report (instantly).

The bottom line is: because the courts’ usage of tablets is so common, if you’re not filing iPad-focused hyperlinked briefs, you’re leaving a persuasive tool in the shed.  You can find a sample of such an e-brief here http://www.a2lc.com/download-sample-ebrief/

Materials Related to Hyperlinking Briefs on A2L Consulting's Site:

How to hyperlink a brief?

How can I learn more about A2L's ebriefing services?

Who produced one of the first iPad compatible hyperlinked briefs?

What is new with ebriefs?

 


 

 

 

 

Tags: e-Briefs, Courtroom Presentations, Litigation Technology, Trial Technology, iPad, Judges

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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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