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7 Times When Litigation Graphics Hurt You

We don't have a Hippocratic oath (i.e. do no harm) in the legal field, but when it comes to using litigation graphics at trial, maybe we should. You see there are some times when using litigation graphics does real damage to your overall persuasiveness. It is incorrect to assume that when using visual aids such as demonstrative evidence, scale models, trial boards, computer animation, or the ever-present PowerPoint presentation you are always doing good and helping your audience. Here are seven times when you would be better off changing your approach or not using litigation graphics at all: You are reading from your slides:  If you populate your trial presentation with bullet point filled slides and you read them, you are reducing the amount of information your audience will remember and understand. This is due to the redundancy effect or split-attention effect. See Should You Read Documents Out Loud at Trial? You are going to get caught cheating:  Creating a chart that is persuasive is great. Creating one that is misleading can cost you your credibility. As one of our customers rightly says in the video below, "Finding ways to illustrate ideas but also to visually display the evidence in a way that's understandable to the jury is critical in order to earn their trust -- which is the most important asset you have." See 5 Demonstrative Evidence Tricks and Cheats to Watch Out For. You are not using storytelling in combination with your litigation graphics:  All too often trial counsel moves chronologically through a case without considering whether there was a better approach to storytelling. I think timelines can lock us into this approach. Sometimes chronological is best but sometimes using more sophisticated storytelling techniques to persuade work best. In any case, if you fail to tell a story, a jury will make one up to fill the void. Therefore, be sure to combine your visuals with storytelling to win your case. See Storytelling at Trial - Will Your Story Be Used? and Don't Be Just Another Timeline Trial Lawyer and 12 Ways to SUCCESSFULLY Combine Oral and Visual Presentations

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Should You Read Documents Out Loud at Trial?

by Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting I’ve seen a great many lawyers read documents aloud at trials, and, not coincidentally, I’ve seen lawyers lose cases in part because they did so. Both experience and the science of persuasion tell us that reading documents to a jury is a persuasion killer. But of course there are times when you absolutely need to read a document out loud. This article will help you find the best ways to do so when it is necessary. There are at least five good reasons why reading documents out loud is harmful. I will go through them, then offer three guidelines for reading passages of text to a jury or judge when it is necessary. After all, it’s hard to imagine trying a contract case without reading the key provisions of the contract. The split-attention effect/redundancy effect is easy to recognize, and we've all experienced it. In summary, if you are presented with a written document and it is read to you at the same time, your brain will have a hard time sorting out whether to read or to listen. What you might not know is that you actually end up far worse off reading written materials while seeing an image of those materials than you would have if you had just done one or the other -- read the materials or listened to the words. See The Redundancy Effect, PowerPoint and Legal Graphics.

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by Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting Nearly 200,000 visits were made to A2L Consulting's Litigation Consulting Report Blog in 2015. With every page view, our readers express their opinion of the value of each article. Those that are the most valuable get the most page views. Today, I'm happy to share the very best articles of 2015 as chosen by our readers' reading habits. This year, we posted 90 new articles, and that brings our total blog library to nearly 500 articles. If you are involved in litigation or have to persuade a skeptical audience of anything, these articles are an incredibly valuable resource that are available at absolutely no charge. As we approach our five-year anniversary of this blog, I am very proud of our accomplishments. I'm excited to report that we now have 7,800 subscribers, some articles have been viewed more than 30,000 times, and the ABA named ours one of the top blogs in the legal industry. Not bad for our first five years. In 2015, these 15 articles below stood out as the very top articles of 2015. Articles focused on PowerPoint, litigation graphics, persuasion, and voir dire continue to dominate our readers' interest. Each of these articles can be easily tweeted or shared on Linkedin using the buttons below the article title. All are free to enjoy. I wish you the very best 2016, and here is a link to claim a free subscription so that you get notified when these articles are published. 15. How to Make PowerPoint Trial Timelines Feel More Like a Long Document 14. A Surprising New Reason to Repeat Yourself at Trial 13. Lawyer Delivers Excellent PowerPoint Presentation 12. With So Few Trials, Where Do You Find Trial Experience Now? 11. 5 Ways to Maximize Persuasion During Opening Statements - Part 1 10. How to Apply Cialdini's 6 Principles of Persuasion in the Courtroom 9. 9 Things In-House Counsel Say About Outside Litigation Counsel 8. Repelling the Reptile Trial Strategy - Pt 4 - 7 Reasons the Tactic Still Works 7. 10 Ways to Lose Voir Dire 6. Repelling the Reptile Strategy - Part 3 - Understanding the Bad Science 5. How Much Text on a PowerPoint Slide is Too Much? 4. Repelling the Reptile Trial Strategy - Part 5 - 12 Ways to Kill the Reptile 3. Repelling the Reptile Trial Strategy - Pt 2 - 10 Ways to Spot the Reptile 2. Repelling the Reptile Trial Strategy as Defense Counsel - Part 1 1. Why the Color of a Dress Matters to Litigators and Litigation Graphics

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  by Ryan H. Flax, Esq. (Former) Managing Director, Litigation Consulting A2L Consulting We have discussed four important tips for maximizing persuasion during your opening statement (See parts 1, 2, and 3). The last tip is the use of demonstrative evidence in connection with the statement. You need to be aware that most people, other than lawyers, are visual preference learners. Most lawyers, in contrast, are auditory or kinesthetic preference learners.1 Most people teach the same way they prefer to learn – so lawyers typically teach by lecturing, since that is most comfortable for them. But this strategy does not help with the majority of jurors, who would prefer to be taught visually, at least in part. So bridge this courtroom gap with demonstrative evidence, including litigation graphics.

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by Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting I notice something about audiences in the PowerPoint presentation era. They seem to get easily disengaged part of the way into a presentation. This tendency is especially problematic in a courtroom setting since judge and juror visual attention is critical for courtroom persuasion.

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by Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting

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