by Ken Lopez Founder & CEO A2L Consulting
This article is coauthored by A2L Consulting’s CEO, Kenneth J. Lopez, J.D., a trial graphics and trial consulting expert and David H. Schwartz, Ph.D. of Innovative Science Solutions. Dr. Schwartz has extensive experience designing programs that critically review the scientific foundation for product development and major mass tort litigation. For 20 years, he has worked with the legal community evaluating product safety and defending products such as welding rods, cellular telephones, breast implants, wound care products, dietary supplements, general healthcare products, chemical exposures (e.g., hydraulic fracturing components), and a host of pharmaceutical agents (including antidepressants, dermatologics, anti-malarials, anxiolytics, antipsychotics, and diet drugs).
In our work as trial graphics specialists, many cases require us to prepare a demonstrative exhibit that simplifies a complex process. This could be a scientific or technical matter such as how environmental remediation is conducted, how surgical mesh is used, or how data backups are migrated, or it could be a business or governmental matter such as how a form of bond obligation is created and sold or how a government contract is bid and awarded.
Because maps are used by jurors constantly in their daily life and because they are so frequently used to represent common locations and processes, they are one of the most frequently used and most effective types of demonstrative evidence. Whenever something can be conveyed geographically, through the use of space, it is worth considering the use of a map. Even though maps don’t always represent the highest and newest technology, their importance cannot be underestimated. In the words of Ray Moses of the Center for Criminal Justice Advocacy, which was formed in Texas as a grass-roots training resource to help new lawyers in becoming competent criminal trial practitioners: “Visuals (graphics) such as time lines, charts, illustrations, maps, etc. are sufficiently important to communicating your message that you owe it to your client and yourself to learn how to incorporate visuals into your presentation.”
by Ken Lopez The courtroom is a forum where issue advocacy is enhanced by persuasive litigation graphics. However, other settings exist where attorneys, consultants, politicians, lobbyists and advocacy organizations must persuade skeptical audiences. This article focuses on the creation of advocacy graphics for a particular issue: hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking. Advocacy or lobbying graphics are especially valuable as the material may be used to educate a potential jury pool, to persuade and inform government officials and to support settlement negotiations. These advocacy presentations may be distributed via PowerPoint, YouTube or even delivered in person from an iPad®.
In trial presentation graphics, a great deal can depend on the quantity of data that is presented to the jury and on the way in which it is presented. For example, it has become conventional wisdom that humans generate pollution in the form of carbon dioxide, that carbon dioxide and other pollutants cause a greenhouse effect on the planet, and that this effect noticeably raises global temperatures and/or causes climate change. Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, cemented this belief in the minds of the public and future jurors, largely through the use of effective visual presentations. The U.S. Government chart below captures the conventional wisdom well. As large quantities of carbon dioxide entered the atmosphere with rapid industrialization in the past 100 years or so, global temperatures went up, it shows.