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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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Timelines can be extremely helpful in many types of trials. Whenever the order in which events occurred is a significant issue, or a jury or judge needs to understand how a story began and ended, a timeline is appropriate. As Texas attorney and legal technology expert Jeffrey S. Lisson has written [pdf], “Timelines are the most effective way to give a judge or jury a sense of who did what, when, and to whom. Just as bar charts and graphs help the uninitiated make sense out of a sea of facts and figures, timelines show the relationship between events. Timelines generally show events laid out on a horizontal, constant chronological scale. Events – the writing of a memo, the reading of an x-ray, or the shooting of a gun – are listed in the order they occurred. While tables of dates and facts require effort to understand, timelines are instantly clear.”

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Whether a $5 million trial or litigation involving hundreds of billions of dollars, Animators at Law almost always uses document call-out trial exhibits as part of its trial presentation.  They are a time-tested and effective tool for highlight key portions of a document in evidence.  Sometimes these call-outs are done on-the-fly in Trial Director by our on-site trial technicians and sometimes these are created using PowerPoint. Regardless of the tool used, care should be taken to consider the most persuasive design for the point a litigator is trying to make.  All too often, stock designs that simply highlight black text in electronic yellow highlighter or faux torn paper tear-outs are used to emphasize key text.  Sometimes these approaches are adequate.  Other times, you are missing out on a key opportunity to persuade. Animators at Law was hired by The U.S. Department of Justice to produce a group of trial exhibits to defend against injury claims in a rescue helicopter landing.  One key case theme required us to emphasize that it was the duty of the hospital to stop traffic rather than anyone on the helicopter or at air traffic control.  To make this point, we arranged the key call-out language inside a stop sign shape.  When combined with emphasis by the litigator, I believe the message of "STOP" was unforgettable.

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