Tag Archives: lawsuit

The Verdict Is In: Trial Presentation Software vs PowerPoint

Trialdirector by Ipro

PowerPoint has long been used by attorneys in trial, but is it the best option out there when taking your argument to the jury? An important factor during trial is holding the jury’s attention, relaying the facts of the case in a clear and effective manner and presenting evidence in the most persuasive way to convince the jury to side with your client. While PowerPoint can be a great choice for opening remarks and closing arguments, there is so much more that goes into a compelling case.

Dynamic Presentation

With the technology-heavy world we live in, it’s no surprise jurors expect a certain amount of that tech to follow them into a courtroom. The plethora of law focused TV shows like Bull and CSI helps to perpetuate that idea, so much so that there’s a term for it, The CSI Effect. As courtroom technology becomes even more pervasive, jurors will continue to expect a sophisticated argument during trial.

While it may not be realistic to implement the level of tech in fictional television dramas, it is possible to move away from foam boards and the limitations of linear presentations like PowerPoint and embrace the dynamic presentation.

Dynamic presentation lets you jump to different exhibits, zoom in on particular points in a document to draw the jury’s attention, and display synchronized deposition videos with a transcript of text for jurors to follow along. As you move effortlessly through the evidence, the jurors won’t be able to take their eyes or attention off of you.

Captivate the Jury

The course of a case can shift during trial with unexpected events. Preparation for the unexpected builds juror confidence in the evidence presented. Don’t lose them searching through slides while the expediency of your argument is diminished. Instead, adjust in real time seamlessly adapting to changes. Newly admissible evidence? It’s easily available. A witness answers differently on the stand than in the deposition? Bring up their synchronized video depo for a surefire impeachment. The jury’s attention will stay focused on the details of the case, not the logistics of attorneys sorting through case files.

The Transition

Worried about making the switch? Getting started using TrialDirector is easy. With an intuitive user interface, you can get documents loaded and start putting your case together in a snap. Or grab the resources in MyIpro to help you set up your case. Once you’re ready for more, training is available to unlock the technology’s fullest potential. And if you aren’t quite ready to walk away from PowerPoint completely, that’s okay. You can convert your PowerPoint slides to PDF and upload them to TrialDirector and take advantage of the robust tools available.

While PowerPoint has its place in the courtroom, its features are limited. Why not use a software program specifically designed for trial to prepare, deliver, and ultimately, wow the jury? When you’re ready to take your trial presentation to the next level, you’re ready for TrialDirector 360.

Learn more on our website.

Join us at the Ipro Tech Show April 29 – May 1 for training, hands-on workshops, and networking. Learn more and register today.

When Free Speech, Social Media, and Employment Collide. What are the Rules?

The rights of Americans are constantly in the news lately. Often the discourse questions if the rights supersede any potentially damaging effects, such as gun control and Second Amendment Rights. But this article is about The First Amendment, how it relates to social media use in the workplace and what are the rights of both the employee and employer. According to Pew Research Center, approximately 1 in 7 Americans use some form of social media, about 69% of the population. In other words, that’s a lot of people. The likelihood that some of those users are in the workplace is a given. With the prevalence of smartphones, smart watches, and a tablet or laptop in everyone’s hand, the chances that an employee completes their workday without accessing any social media platform is slim. So, what are the legalities concerning this ever-growing trend?

In 2017, you may have heard the story of an anchor on ESPN who received a highly publicized suspension for her Twitter activity in which she posted controversial remarks about the president and commentary about the disciplining NFL players for Anthem kneeling, but did she break ESPN’s rules? What about an employee who posts on social media complaining about their boss, their coworkers, or the work environment? Is there a difference? Yes and no. Some of what we say on social media is protected, some are governed by an employer’s policy, and some of it is fair game. Let’s take a look at each.

In the case of the ESPN employee, she works for a high-profile company that sponsors sporting events. Speaking out in any way that suggests a boycott or otherwise could be seen as a direct negative implication to her employer. That type of commentary is decidedly different than complaining the women’s restroom is always out of toilet paper. The ESPN employee may be bound under the company’s social media policy that she not publicly engage in dialogue that could be detrimental to her employer. Breaking that policy gives the company the right to take disciplinary action.

What does the law protect? The First Amendment doesn’t apply in all cases of social media use, but there are regulations that protect some of what people post. Under the Equal Employment Opportunity Act (EEOC), if an employee goes online to express concerns about illegal activity, such as discrimination, it is absolutely unlawful to retaliate against that employee by taking disciplinary action. Doing so can result in a lawsuit. For public sector employees, under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) dishing about wage details and other job conditions is also protected. Another important factor is considering how the employer learned of the employee’s social media activity. The employer has to be given access in a way that is freely accessible. For example, if the employee “friends” their boss on Facebook or follows coworkers on Twitter who share the post with the employer, then it is an acceptable method of accessing the information. If the employee uses company email or a business computer to tweet, the boss has open access to it and a legitimate right to view it. Also, any publicly accessible information, such as Glassdoor.com, can be viewed by employers.

The more we talk about the different scenarios the more convoluted it can be on both ends. But there are ways to simplify things. For employers, ensure there is a clear and specific social media policy in place located in the employee handbook and discussed with new hires. Ensure the policy complies fully with federal, state and regulatory laws. It’s also helpful to have an electronic policy in place regarding business resources for personal use. Clear policies can help clarify the blurred lines between work and personal life. To avoid legal but uncomfortable posts from friends and colleagues, consider a personal policy of limiting social media interactions with colleagues to LinkedIn, which is designed for professional networking.

For employees, be aware of your company’s policy on social media use. Depending on your personal use, consider limiting friendships with coworkers to LinkedIn. If you have particularly strong views on politics, religion, or other polarizing topics, think before you “follow”, “friend” or “connect” with coworkers on social media. Depending on your role and company, evaluate whether what you’re about to post is in your best interest or could come back to bite you later. A good rule of thumb is to visualize your post splashed on the front of the Wall Street Journal. If that idea makes you squirm, you probably shouldn’t post it.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. Social media can and does have many positive uses, such as employees posting about fun work events, great culture, or job openings. Sites such as LinkedIn are great networking tools amongst professionals in the same industry for keeping up with trends, education opportunities, and networking events. Employees posting on Facebook or tweeting on Twitter about their great job and company is always good PR. When it comes to smart social media use, the important takeaway is ensuring both employer and employee understand the rules.

A Heart-Wrenching Lawsuit

The parents of 8-year-old Gabriel Taye have filed a federal law suit against officials of the Cincinnati Public Schools district; but it has nothing to do with failure to educate, oversized classrooms, or discrimination, which are common reasons for legal action involving schools. Gabriel’s parents blame the school officials for allowing and even covering up the bullying at school that led their son to commit suicide.

According to a report from the Associated Press, his mother was unaware that her son had been bullied until lawyers discovered an email from a police detective gave details of an encounter outside the boys’ bathroom where Gabriel was knocked unconscious, two days before he hanged himself.

The parents’ attorney stated, “If CPS had been honest with her about what happened in the bathroom…and the dangerous school environment Gabe had to navigate each day of third grade, she would never have let him return to [school]”.

However, school officials claim that Gabriel told staff responding to the bullying incident that he had simply fainted, without mentioning anything about suffering bullying or assault.

As this case approaches trial, attorneys on opposing counsels are collecting evidence and preparing their cases, each with the goal to communicate effectively to the jury. On one side, the attorney represents a grieving couple who will spend the rest of their lives wondering if they could have saved their boy of they knew about the bullying. On the other side are school officials who are struggling to provide quality education with decreasing government budgets. Losing this lawsuit would be devastating to both the plaintiffs and defendants.

“If you want peace, work for justice” – Pope Paul VI

If you were asked to present in this trial, how would you prepare? Which tools would you use? What methods would you follow? How would you present your exhibits?

Advancements in legal technology can seem daunting and distracting, but it is engineered to have the opposite effect. New technologies help you to streamline your data review and presentation processes, allowing you to be more efficient and effective. Legal software is designed to offer lawyers the tools to provide the jury with understanding and their clients with justice.

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