Tag Archives: Trial Preparation

3 Tips to Hold the Jury’s Attention During Your Next Trial Presentation- Part 2

In the previous installment, we discussed the initial approach to capturing the jury’s attention. If you missed it, be sure to check it out.

In this next post, we’ll go over a few more important aspects for not only engaging the jury, but best practices to ensure they understand and remember the critical pieces of your argument so when it comes to deliberation, the outcome is in your client’s favor.

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
In any presentation, if you want your audience to remember what you’re talking about, one of the best tools in your arsenal is to say and show the thing you want them to remember several times.
There’s quite a bit of science to back up the power of repetition. Basically, every time you let your audience see, hear and, best of all, feel what you want, you strengthen the synapses firing in their brain around that thing.
You should know what you want your audience to focus on well before trial starts. In fact, you should decide what that thing is very near to the case outset and then build your strategy around it. Doing this not only helps with knowing what you want your jury to focus on, but it can also help with an organized and efficient trial prep process.

Don’t forget the tools that help you with repetition. With trial presentation software, you can quickly display items you want to keep fresh in the jury’s mind any time you want. No digging through folders and paper to try to find the right document or image. Imagine simply typing a number into your laptop and up pops an important document, image, or video you want the jury to see.

Then, remember you can leave the document or image up. Think about how valuable it is having an image on a large screen for a long period of time as you’re relaying the critical parts of your argument. As you speak, the jury can look and see exactly what you’re talking about. You can zoom in on the image, mark it to focus the jury’s eyes on where you want them to go, and even have the image show side by side with something else that you want to show. You can harness the power of video tools to make an impact on the jury. Impeaching a witness? Imagine the jury’s reaction when you question the witness about signing a document, who then answers ambiguously, but then you produce a video clip of their deposition where they contradict the answer they just provided. Pair that up with the Tear out feature of their signature on the document in question. The jury won’t forget what they saw or you.

Later, if you find the need or wish to drive your point even further, all you need to do is type in that number you assigned again, and the document or image appears just like it did the first time. We cannot overstate how powerful it is using video tools, document management and trial presentation software to supplement your presentations.

Found these tips helpful? Tune in next week for the final tip in this series.

If you’re ready to take your trial presentation to the next level, read more about TrialDirector 360 here.

No “Bull” in the Courtroom with TrialDirector 360

A high profile wealthy man is found shot to death in his home. The scene appears suspiciously staged to investigating police and in short time, the victim’s wife, a woman not known for her warmth and kindness, is immediately charged with his murder. Her alibi is slippery, and the evidence is stacking up. Her only hope is securing the best defense team possible.

Enter Dr. Jason Bull, the founder of Trial Analysis Corporation on the fictional courtroom drama, Bull. He and his team of experts employ psychology, human intuition, and high tech to influence trial outcomes in favor of their clients. His process starts with jury selection and the ability to assess if the potential jurors will lean his way. He does this in the typical way, through attorney questioning, but also using a mirror jury with palm sensors to gauge response and shift the narrative during trial. Impressive use of technology, albeit, tech that either doesn’t exist or would be extremely expensive to utilize, but that’s not the point of this post.

The typical Bull episode begins with Dr. Bull and his team being hired by a client and deciding based on the facts if they should accept. The premise of the previously referenced episode was about proving the wife’s innocence when public opinion had already convicted her. Dr. Bull goes through his usual jury manipulations, but what stood out during the episode was with all the technology he uses in the initial process to develop a strategy, once they got to the courtroom, technology disappeared.

When it came time for the defense attorney to stun the courtroom with the proof of his client’s innocence, he lifted a simple clipped stack of papers and told the jurors what it contained. Papers? Really? Is this 2018 or an episode of Perry Mason? Where’s the fancy graphics? Where’s the video? For a show so heavily focused on technology, it was a strange dichotomy. Let’s look at how impactful that trial argument could have been with the use of stellar trial presentation software like TrialDirector 360.

Lawyer showing evidence to the jury

First up: the accused provides a false alibi to the police the night of the murder because she fears her true whereabouts would be more incriminating. When she’s deposed, she lies again, until Dr. Bull and his team confront her and learn she was really seeing a divorce attorney that night. During trial, she’s asked about it, as is the police officer who took her statement, but how much more powerful for the prosecution could that have been with a deposition transcript replay for the juror’s ears. With TrialDirector 360’s video and transcript management, the exact piece of the interview could be played back for the jury’s consideration. Granted, it may have worked out initially in the prosecution’s favor until the defense had an opportunity to explain.

The smoking gun (spoiler alert!) of this episode was the discovery of a website and paper trail that showed the husband sought out a hitman via the dark web and planned and paid for his own execution. The motive? He had gambled away his family’s fortune and knew that suicide would prevent the payout of the 25 million dollar life insurance policy. This information was verbally relayed to the wife during her testimony rather than bringing it up on a screen to show the jury the proof and evidence of the existence of this website. Using TrialDirector 360’s tear out feature, the defense could highlight the exact information proving their client’s innocence. Dun dun dun! It’s hard to argue with something that’s right in front of your face.

In another powerful moment, the prosecution played a recording the deceased left for his wife, seemingly pleading for his life, the prosecution contending that he knew she wanted him dead. The defense, however, after learning the events that really took place, explained to the court how it was actually a suicide note, but never took the opportunity to play the recording again, reframing it with the newfound facts to sway the jury closer to the truth. Imagine the impact to the jury to visually see the website, the paper trail and the voice recording securing beyond a shadow of a doubt the wife’s innocence.

The outcomes always work out in Dr. Bull’s favor as many fictional shows do, but in a real courtroom, it’s critical to maximize the impact of your argument, and ultimately obtain the desired verdict, by implementing trial technology that actually does exist.

Want to take your trial presentation to the next level?

Click here to request a demo.

Ipro Announces the Latest in Trial Presentation Technology, TrialDirector 360

Trial Director 360

Tempe, Arizona — Ipro Tech, LLC, a worldwide leader in eDiscovery and trial solutions, announced today the next evolution in trial presentation technology, TrialDirector 360. TrialDirector 360 integrates with EclipseSE 360 and can be purchased by itself or in Ipro’s desktop technology suite, Case Director 360. From discovery to trial, Ipro has you covered.

TrialDirector 360 rethinks the features of the original product and expands its capabilities making it easier to use with fewer clicks and better functionality. Users will experience enhanced issue coding, clip creation and editing, playlists and layouts. Exciting new features include exhibit labeling, deposition designations, designation reporting, transcript redaction and a more robust backend.

Derek Miller, VP of Trial Director said, “The legacy of the original TrialDirector is not lost and is at the heart of this new release. With a bevy of new and improved features, this is the silver bullet law firms need to deliver a compelling case.”

The company will showcase the product at LegalTech New York January 30 – February 1. Contact your sales rep or email sales@iprotech.com today to schedule a private demonstration. Visit Ipro booths 302 or 305 at LegalTech New York.

About Ipro Tech, LLC Founded in 1989, Ipro is a global leader in the development of advanced eDiscovery and trial presentation software. With the introduction of Case Director 360, Ipro provides solutions from discovery to trial. Ipro’s ADD Automated Digital Discovery® workflow platform helps customers organize, review, process and produce litigation data of vast sizes and complexity — more efficiently and cost-effectively than ever before. To learn more visit www.iprotech.com. To schedule a private demonstration, email sales@iprotech.com or go online to find a Partner today.

How to Get 10/10 on Your Next Trial Presentation

Some people just have it.

The confidence, the perfect rhythm and speed of talking, the right vocabulary and stories…everything to make a stellar presentation. They could be talking about the importance of tying your shoes with two loops instead of one, and you would still leave the room feeling inspired to be a better person.

But what about those of us who just don’t have it? You’ve spent weeks and months collecting evidence, annotating exhibits, and constructing your argument, but without a good presentation, all that effort might not matter.

In addition to having stellar trial presentation software, here are some tips to help you engage the jury and give a worthwhile presentation:

  1. Be Yourself. Yes, it’s cliché, but it has power. You have a unique personality, whether that is outgoing, soft-spoken, serious, light-hearted, confident, or more reserved. To be effective and confident while you’re presenting, you need to do what comes naturally. Talking too slow can be just as distracting as talking too fast. The jurors may not have law degrees, but they can tell when you’re faking enthusiasm or solemnity. Your strongest asset is to be natural.
  2. Don’t give them the whole pie. Imagine your favorite dessert, whether that be mint brownies, hazelnut cheesecake, or raspberry pie. You eat one bite of that dessert, and that delicious spoonful leaves you craving more. Now imagine how you would feel if you ate a whole giant pan of that dessert in one sitting. You would probably be sick to your stomach and ready to swear off sugar for the next 6 months. The same concept applies to your presentation; your videos, depositions, and annotated exhibits are great elements, but it’s possible to have too much of good thing. Make sure to give your jury a bite of the case instead of overwhelming them with too much information.
  3. Practice. You know the saying, “Practice makes perfect”. Practicing can be mundane and repetitive by nature, but the more you practice, the more confident you’ll be. Your presentation will flow smoothly, and you’ll be better able to handle any last-minute revisions or curveballs that get thrown your way during a trial.
  4. Don’t let technology control you. Your technological tools are meant to enhance your presentation, not replace you as the presenter. Ultimately your words are going to have the biggest impact on the jury, not the annotated exhibit on the screen. You provide the necessary commentary and explanations to give meaning and purpose to the evidence; without you, the jury sees a random collection of videos and images. Don’t underestimate your influence in the courtroom, and make sure the technology doesn’t overpower your argument.
  5. Involve your audience. The jurors in the courtroom have experiences and circumstances that strongly impact their perspectives and decisions. If you truly know your audience, you can communicate in a way that helps them to see the personal relevance of the trial. If one of the jurors is a middle school math teacher with three young kids, present in a way that connects his circumstances with your case.

Comment with any tips you use to have a successful trial presentation!

Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or learn more about TrialDirector and how it can help you by visiting our website. Already have TrialDirector? Check out one of our training courses.

iPad vs. PC: Which One Should You Use?

We all love our tablets.

They’re light, portable, and intuitive. Many computer tasks can be done efficiently on a tablet, and as a society, we are huge fans.

Both tablets and laptops make a huge impact in the courtroom when it comes to trial presentation technology, but every case is unique and each presenter has different needs. We compare the differences between the two so you can choose the option that is best for your circumstances.

For those “pacers” out there, an iPad allows you to walk freely around the room and present from wherever you’re standing. A laptop is a little more restrictive; you can still pace, but you need to return to the laptop to move forward in your presentation or rely on someone else to call up your exhibits. However, presenting with an iPad requires you to set-up a private, wireless network to use Apple TV and similar products, and there is always the concern of becoming wirelessly disconnected in the middle of your presentation.

When using TrialDirector on a computer, you have much more storage and a higher processing speed, which allows you to handle a higher volume of documents, photos, and videos. Due to the lower processing speed, TrialDirector for iPad is great when using a small number of exhibits but not for managing larger case files.

Within the PC software, you have access to more tools and features while preparing and presenting your case, while you can use your iPad to make fewer, more basic edits and play pre-edited clips. This allows the iPad application to have a simpler experience and interface. However, working with an iPad requires you to load sensitive documents through iTunes, Dropbox, Box, or any other file sharing application, but you get to skip that step if you’re using a computer.

With a PC, you also have access to the most-used aspects of TrialDirector software. You can easily:

  • Retrieve and display exhibits faster
  • Create or adjust deposition clips, even while you’re in trial
  • Search transcripts and create detailed search results
  • Import synched transcripts
  • Easily cut deposition clips
  • Choose from eight different playback options
  • Link exhibits to deposition clips

Ultimately, the choice is yours. You want to do your best while presenting, and so we recommend using the software the allows you to manage your case your way you while also allowing you to be comfortable and confident in the courtroom.

During your next trial, which one are you going to use?

Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or learn more about TrialDirector and how it can help you by visiting our website. Already have TrialDirector? Check out one of our training courses.

The Solution You Didn’t Know You Needed

Imagine if every member of your jury entered the courtroom with a basic understanding of how to navigate the legal system.  Instead of spending precious time trying to explain the basics of law practices, you could focus on the evidence and timeline of your case. They would understand your presentation and you wouldn’t lose their attention. It probably sounds too good to be true.

While this scenario may seem unrealistic and out of reach, Kimball Parker, the creator of the legal education website CO/COUNSEL, announced a solution that will make that dream a reality. It’s called LawX.

Partnering with Gordon Smith, dean of Brigham Young University’s Law School, Parker plans to create a legal design lab this upcoming fall semester. This lab will be dedicated to brainstorming solutions for the thousands of people who have limited knowledge of legal affairs. According to an article published in the Daily Herald, “This is a serious issue because navigating the law is very difficult and the consequences are high…If you make the wrong move, you can lose a lawsuit. Period.”

Individuals working with LawX hope to develop software and new legislation to implement the change that many Americans desperately need. Because a new legal topic will be tackled each semester, LawX participants have plenty of work on their plates.

But how does this new design lab affect your jury? With legal practices and methods being presented in a way that is more accessible and more easily understood, more of the general population will better comprehend the events that occur within a courtroom. They will understand the language of your case and presentation, and their decisions will be based on evidence and facts rather than their own personal biases and perceptions of litigators.

Not only will the jury benefit from the work of this design lab, but attorneys will have additional tools to better communicate with their clients about the proceedings of a case. Although the many benefits of LawX won’t be obvious immediately, we can have confidence that innovation in the legal field is headed in a promising direction.

Check out this video for more details about the potential solution to legal inexperience.

Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or learn more about TrialDirector and how it can help you by visiting our website. Already have TrialDirector? Check out one of our training courses.

Best Practices for Getting Documents into Trial Presentation Software

TrialDirector isn’t just a trial presentation tool. It also serves as a sort of document management system that helps you keep track of relevant case items and information throughout the whole trial process. We want to help you know how to use this and other tools to their full potential.

Business team
Take your trial presentation software to its full potential.

One of the first steps when using TrialDirector or any other trial presentation and evidence management software is to import relevant case items into whatever tool you are using. However, the information you provide along with the evidence you are importing determines whether you will have an easy or hard time as the case progresses.

Most trial presentation software use a database reference files on your computer and help you keep track of the information related to each evidence item. Following are our suggestions to consider when importing documents into the software to make your life easier as the case progresses and as you prepare for trial.

Only Bring In What You Need

First, you want to think about scaling down the number of documents you want to import. Any given case potentially has thousands, even tens of thousands, of documents. You’re not going to use every single piece of that evidence even before or during trial.

We recommend you review and sift through your case documents and choose the documents you’ll actually be working with. Then, import those relevant documents into your trial preparation and presentation software.

If it helps to think in terms of numbers, If your case has 1000 documents, you should consider only importing about 100 documents. Roughly 10%. Much more than that, and you’ll have a difficult time working around all the documents you are not using.

Scaling down in this way makes for a much simpler experience when managing and prepping your files for trial.

As an example, think about what it would take to actually search for a needle in a haystack. How would you go about it? Would start picking through the hay one strand at a time? That is what many firms are forcing themselves to do by either working with physical documents or dumping all their case files haphazardly onto their computers. But if you break up and significantly reduce the amount of hay you would have to look through, it becomes much easier to find the needle (The file you’re looking for).

And don’t worry, you can always bring in more files later if needed.

Know What Your Documents Are Before You Import

This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s necessary. As we already mentioned, case loads get rather hefty. If you just dump a bunch files into your trial presentation software without really knowing what is going in there, it’s going to be that much harder to find things when you need them, especially when you’re working with limited time.

It pays to put in the work of knowing what your files are beforehand.

As you review, re-naming your documents can have just as much of an impact on your ability to find them as organizing them does.

For example, think of enthusiastic cat owners. However they got to have all those hundreds of cats, they’re here now, and the owners better have a good way of keeping track of them. That’s why the owners use simple, but creative names for each cat. That way, the owners and the cats don’t get confused when the owners call out for one of them to come.

We’ve seen some trial teams use long detailed descriptions for each of their documents. While it may feel that that will make it easier to find the documents in the future, it turns into a problem when you add 1000 other documents all with very descriptive names.

That’s like the cat owners naming each cat something like “the one with the frizzy fur, black spot, and gimp leg.” Not very efficient.

You are the cat owner. Your case documents are your cats.

We recommend you go through each document you plan to import into your trial prep tool and rename it something simple and easy to reference. The easiest thing to name each file is its exhibit number or bates number.

Team and Computer Organization

A common problem with many law firms is organizing all the files related to a case. When a firm receives images from a vendor, the firm might dump all the files they received into whatever folder they set up for the case on their computer without even looking through and organizing what they received. These folders are generally accessible to the entire firm which means all the files inside are subject to being moved around or even deleted by accident.

As mentioned before, TrialDirector uses a database to reference evidence files instead of actually housing the files in the program itself. There are several major advantages to using a database in this way, but one of the disadvantages is that if the file being referenced is moved or deleted, the database loses it and TrialDirector can’t find it.

As you’ve probably guessed or even experienced, this is a problem. Don’t get caught with your pants down in the middle of a trial.

Without the most basic organization rules, all the thousands of case files quickly become mixed up and hard to navigate. By rushing the process of getting files into a case, you are setting yourself up for a lot of headaches down the road and precious hours of wasted time.

Regardless of how well you think your firm is organized, consider the following suggestions:

  • Set some file organization rules in your firm. Even the simplest rules go a long way. Our general suggestion would be to set up your files so that you can easily know where to go to find what you’re looking for without having to dig through multiple folders just to get there.
  • Communicate the rules to everyone. Everyone involved in the case needs to know where each case is located and what is allowed to be moved around and what is not.
  • Create a separate, new case folder for each case, and only put the files related to that case into the folder.
  • Divide case files into two folders within the main case folder: Exhibits and Depositions. Dividing files into these folders makes it that much easier to find what you need quickly.
  • Copy the files to a new, separate case folder before sending them to TrialDirector or any other database or trial presentation program. Doing this will further mitigate any mistakes in moving or deleting files

This type of organization beforehand not only makes your life as a paralegal or attorney better in general, but it makes it easier when importing into trial presentation software.

Convert all your images into PDFs

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: PDFs make trial prep much easier.

Think of the PDF as a sort of universal language of all the other image file types out there.

Pretty much anyone can open a PDF file. So, if you have to give the file to the opposition or some other party in a case, you can avoid any back and forth that comes from that party not being able to open the file because you already gave them the PDF.

Sometimes courts require you to provide PDFs so you can get a head start there by converting all your files now.

PDFs are also generally easier to import and move around than other file types. They act as a sort of container. For example, one PDF file, even though it’s a single file, can hold many pages at once. So instead of having to move around or send a bunch of single page files, such as Tiffs or other image files, you can send one PDF file with all the pages contained inside.

Working with single page files carries its own set of headaches that we won’t get into detail here, but there is a little more involved when trying to get them into trial presentation software.

As an added bonus for PDFs, you have the option to reduce the file size with PDFs, making file transfers that much easier and quicker.

Conclusion

Do yourself a favor and simplify the way you work with documents by following these principles and using trial preparation and document management software.

What has helped you when using trial preparation and presentation software?

Let us know on social media! You can connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Learn more about TrialDirector and how it can help you by visiting our website. Already have TrialDirector? Consider participating in one of our training courses.

Plan to Plan for Trial with Trial Presentation Software

Do You Plan?

When you started law school you probably had some sort of plan. At the very least you planned to attend class, study, and graduate. Then came the bar exam which required another plan to study, prepare, and learn even more.

Have you made other plans? Run a marathon, lose weight, learn a new language, go on a safari?

Whatever the objective, whether personal or professional, it requires a plan. Some things take little planning and some take a lot.

Can you run a marathon without training first? Maybe, but it’s probably painful and there may be lasting (and negative) effects.

Can you lose 20 pounds overnight? If so, tell me how!

Is it possible to become fluent in a new language in a week? Well, this teenager did, but it isn’t the safest way.

And if you can go on a safari at this very moment, I’d like to switch places with you. But chances are you need to plan time off from work, renew your passport, find someone to watch the kids, book a flight, pack, and find a good safari guide.

It’s the same thing when you go to trial. Do you have a plan for that?

Do You Plan for Trial?

So, maybe it’s a little early and a trial is still a few months away. A few motions are pending and there’s a chance the case will settle. You don’t need to prepare for trial, right?

Benjamin Franklin said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Team Planning Meeting
Trial Presentation Software can help you

Everything you do on your case is preparation for something: you prepare pleadings and interrogatories; you prepare for depositions and hearings; you prepare for settlement negotiations. What about trial?

Start using trial presentation software like TrialDirector for more than presentation – use it to prepare and you’ll be ready to present.

With a tool like TrialDirector, you can load your case data and start organizing with workbooks, searching documents, and creating exhibit lists in Microsoft Word. Then generate reports in PDF that can be emailed or copied into court filings. These tools will help when you ultimately go to trial but can also be leveraged early for settlement talks, analysis, and strategy.

Wait, TrialDirector Is for More Than Presentation?

Yes! The best trial presentation software does more than present. When you start using TrialDirector before trial you help yourself and your case. Let me tell you how:

First, today the pressure is off, so you are learning TrialDirector while you work and prepare. When you take things in stages, they are much easier to understand and absorb.

Second, while you’re learning TrialDirector, you’re reviewing the evidence. Better yet, while you’re reviewing the evidence, you are learning TrialDirector. Here’s a quick example:

  • Do you need all documents regarding ethylene glycol in once place? Make a workbook, call it Ethylene Glycol, and file any documents in it.
  • Want to give these to an ethylene glycol expert? No problem, simply export the workbook to a PDF that you can print or email.

These are pretty simple things to do, but when you’re under the gun, the easiest things can seem overwhelming. When you start using TrialDirector for more than just presentation, you’ll be able to put it to use early and to your advantage.

Third, all the organization you do in TrialDirector today will help you prepare tomorrow: your Ethylene Glycol workbook also functions as a presentation folder so you don’t need to recreate it for trial purposes.

(A quick note: Workbooks are one of the easiest and most useful TrialDirector functions. Make as many as you need and name them anything you want. Also, the same document can be filed in multiple workbooks!)

TrialDirector is a three-birds-with-one-stone program. Actually, it’s a stone for many, many birds, but we want to keep this brief. And please note, we do not advocate violence against birds or any other creature. Only idioms.

What Should I Do?

Like vacation planning, living healthfully, and learning a new skill, using trial technology needs planning too.

Get TrialDirector now, before trial. Make your life easier and use it to plan and prepare for trial. Start loading your data. If you aren’t sure how, the time to learn is before the trial time-crunch. Right now, you have the luxury of time. Maybe not an abundance of time but, probably more now than when trial is one week or one month away. The urgency and stress of an impending trial date aren’t looming over you.

Also, consider attending a TrialDirector University training course. Extra time will be something you don’t have when the calendar flips to trial month.

What tools do you use to prepare for trial or other events in a case?

Let us know on social media! You can connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Learn more about TrialDirector and how it can help you by visiting our website.

4 Tips to Hold the Audience’s Attention During Your Next Trial Presentation

With the internet at our fingertips, it seems like people, in general, can’t hold their attention as long as they used to. Most can’t go a few seconds without pulling out their phone to check the latest updates, pics, or videos. These same people are called on to decide fate in a courtroom as a jury where they’re expected to sit in a pew and listen to hours of presentation and testimony.

It’s rare for any of them to want to be there, let alone take the initiative to focus on the task at hand for an extended period.

Woman Using Phone
In this age of tech, people are easily distracted and have difficulty focusing their attention.

Any given case can be important to the people involved with it directly, but to the people coming in on the jury, it’s not really part of their world. Jurors have their own worries and life issues that don’t stop just because they were selected to be part of a case.

So how do you get and keep a jury’s or any audience’s attention?

There’s a lot of general presentation tips out there, but we want to talk about things that work particularly well when in the courtroom, especially when using trial presentation software.

1. Put Yourself in the Audience’s Shoes

Have you thought about where the people you’re presenting to are coming from? Sure, you may have been part of the jury selection process. But that was to determine what impressions a particular jury member would bring with them into the case.

Attempting to find and cater your presentation to your audience’s interests provides a clear direction for you as you prepare. Otherwise, your shooting in the dark and hoping something sticks.

If you don’t have a team of jury consultants to do it for you, here are some examples of questions you might ask yourself as you prepare your presentation and witness examinations:

  • Where do the members of the jury come from?
  • What about their origins influence their tastes?
  • What influences their decisions?
  • What are they more prone to listen to?

As very general examples, if your audience is mostly coming from a small town, perhaps they appreciate a more “personal” approach. Maybe they want to hear more about the story or character of the people involved in the case. Or, perhaps they would be more likely to listen if you just presented yourself while limiting any other visual aids you might bring in.

On the other hand, if members of the jury are from a large, modern city, maybe they would be more interested in hearing the direct facts and would appreciate you just getting to the point without tip-toeing around.

In either situation, maybe your think it would be better to surprise the jury and get their attention by doing something they are not used to.

The point is to think about where your audience is coming from and mold the tools and content you use to fit their compulsions and interests.

No two presentations should be the same.

2. Repeat Repeat Repeat

In any presentation, if you want your audience to remember what you’re talking about, one of the best tools in your arsenal is to say and show the thing you want them to remember several times.

There’s quite a bit of science to back up the power of repetition. Basically, every time you let your audience see, hear and, best of all, feel what you want, you strengthen the synapses firing in their brain around that thing.

You should know what you want your audience to focus on well before trial starts. In fact, you should decide what that thing is very near to the case outset and then build your strategy around it. Doing this not only helps with knowing what you want your jury to focus on, but it can make you much more efficient in your case all the way to trial.

Don’t forget the tools that help you with repetition. With trial presentation software, you can quickly display items you want to keep fresh in the jury’s mind any time you want. No digging through folders and paper to try to find the right document or image. You can set it up to where all you have to do is type in a number on your computer and the document, image, or video you want will immediately appear on a big screen.

Then, remember that you can leave it up there. Think about how valuable it is having an image on a large screen for a long period of time. The jury won’t forget it. As you speak they can look and see exactly what you’re talking about. You can zoom in on the image, mark it to focus the jury’s eyes on where you want them to go, and even have the image show side by side with something else that you want to show.

Then, if you ever want to show it again, just type it in and it appears just like it did the first time. We cannot overstate how powerful using document management and trial presentation software to supplement your presentations.

3. Set the Tone

No matter what you’re presenting, you should decide how you want your audience to feel. Then, create an environment with your presentation to create that setting where they are most likely to feel what you want.

For example, if you want your audience to feel sad, you may want to use a softer voice as you tell a story and present accompanying images.

If you want your audience to feel excited, you could talk faster or create a rapid-fire presentation where your audience is shown pictures quickly one after the other.

In the end, just try to make sure that what you are doing in your presentation isn’t hindering the tone you need to get your point across.

4. Use Attention Getters

They call them attention getters for a reason. You don’t want to bore your audience by talking for a long time, so sprinkle some flavor throughout your time in front of them.

When working with a jury, litigators cannot interact with their audience like presenters in normal presentations can, but the attention and focus strategies for normal presentations can still apply. They just have to be tailored for trial.

Use the following presentation mechanisms to put a little variety and spice into your presentations and examinations.

  • Tell an engaging story
  • Use a rhetorical question that makes them think more critically about the case
  • State a shocking or interesting fact the audience may not be familiar with
  • Use a quote from a prominent figure or even something from your case that illustrates your point and sets the mood
  • Show an enthralling photo or video from the case
  • Use a prop or creative visual aid that you can hold or use to demonstrate what you’re talking about

Conclusion

Think about what you would want a presenter to do to keep you engaged with what they are presenting.

Try taping yourself as your present, then go back and watch how you work. Do you bore yourself? Do you talk in a monotone? Do you have good eye-contact? Are you talking too much without anything meaningful to supplement what you’re saying?

Television and movies these days are extremely engaging. Why do you think that is? One reason is that three seconds doesn’t usually go by before something exciting or unexpected happens in the scene. Directors and filmmakers are constantly developing strategies to hold the audience’s attention. It might be a good idea for you to take some notes on how they do it.

How do you keep your audience’s attention when performing a presentation? What strategies have worked for different types of audiences?

Let us know on social media! You can connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Learn more about TrialDirector and how it can help you by visiting our website. Already have TrialDirector? Consider participating in one of our training courses.

6 Simple Tips to Help You Prepare to Use Trial Presentation Software

Working in the law firm setting prior to becoming a Trainer/Trial Tech gave me a better sense of direction and understanding that, to be successful in this field, you must know how to manage your case before you even step foot in the courtroom. Training attorneys, paralegals, consultants, videographers, and court reporters every day has given me a sense that not everyone knows how to properly organize and manage their documents.

Trial presentation software training
Training on TrialDirector, trial presentation software.

Whether you are a solo practitioner or part of a large law firm, organization is key. The funny thing about it is, from the bottom, all the way to the top, the process is the exact same. It would be unusual for a firm to be drastically different and then in return be more effective during a presentation.

As an example, using trial presentation software, such as TrialDirector, will not only help manage your case documents but also present them as well. However, you need to know how to organize your case documents before you put them in the software for these tools to benefit you. Sure, document management systems offer a wide variety of tools to assist in any way possible, but without prior knowledge of how to use the tools appropriately, and set yourself up for success, there is no sense in even using them at all.

However, before we get to the tips, let’s get on the same page of what case management and organization is, or should be.

Case Management

Why is it that case management gets overlooked when preparing for trial? All the focus seems to be on the presentation.

There is a big difference between case management and presentation. The presentation is the body in motion, creating rhythmic moves to entertain the audience – the jury. Case management is the brain controlling and moving the body parts that, in the end, tell a story.

Presentation, of course, is needed to tell a true and complete story. But add the ability to access and call up documents faster than ever, and you reach a level of engagement with your audience never before possible. This is why case management is so important. It allows you to use modern technology to its full potential, creating a sense of clean, uniform structure.

However, to get to that point, proper and efficient case organization and management must be done to ensure your case will look clean and presentable when you put it into the software. Relying on presentation alone is not an avenue of approach when it comes to being successful in trial. The smaller things in trial indeed matter too. Not only do you need to think big picture, but every little proactive approach to processing a legal matter are in the end crucial to winning your case.

So, how do you get from Point A, the law firm, to point B, the courtroom? Consider these six tips in preparation for your next case or even the case you’re working on now.

1. Indexing

Indexing basically comes down to the who, what, where, when and how of your client, and/or third party documents. So, why should you even put in the time to index? Some law firms do not typically index their documents at all or until later during Discovery. Indexing is the process of gathering information or data that directly corresponds with documents being received by your client and or any third parties associated with your case.

Using programs such as Microsoft Excel can dramatically change your organization of your documents for the better and improve importing data into your document management and trial presentation software.

Recording document identifiers, dates received, whom it’s from, type of document, descriptions, production numbers…etc., will in fact significantly make things easier down the road. Below is an example of a typical spreadsheet you could easily create on your own.

Document indexing example
An example of how to set up a spreadsheet in Excel for indexing.

2. Identifying Document ID’s

Properly identifying your documents is one of the biggest issues we run into when it comes to firms and companies managing their case. Whether it’s training a law firm how to properly build a case or consulting for a law firm, your client review documents must be properly identified.

The law firms that we train and consult for typically have long superfluous descriptions as their document identifiers. Utilize smaller naming conventions, such as bates numbers or exhibit numbers and the descriptions of that document can then be used in a separate field. By doing so, it makes importing and case managing your documents much easier, as opposed to relying on long, unnecessary identifiers.

There are shortcuts that can be taken in your presentation software, as well as programs to download to help re-identify a batch of documents, but why not start early and avoid re-doing time-consuming work?

3. Specific File Formats

Specific types of file formats are necessary and easier to use. Let’s be honest here. The entire industry is transitioning over to Portable Document Formats, also known as PDFs. Maintaining the original file formats is important and relevant, but as soon as you can, convert all your documents to PDF’s.

Utilizing native files in presentation software has its pitfalls. Incorporating a native file that is not a PDF will not allow the user to annotate or edit a document while presenting. Converting to PDFs creates a consistent file format that in the end is easier to work with.

Not only is it easier, but it is a multipage document as well, to where programs by default organize in alphanumeric order and automatically paginate for you.

If you are not concerned with resolution or separation of your documents, then convert them to PDFs.

4. Rotating and De-Duplication

Rotating and de-duplicating your documents should be standard practice and not overlooked.

Rotating your documents to a landscape or portrait layout can dramatically change how those documents are to be presented in court. However, this does depend greatly on the image itself. Make sure to look at the document or image and make sure it is properly rotated so that presenting it would not bring up any delays or issues in court.

As you review your documents, you always want to make sure you get rid of any duplicates, to ensure your presentation is flawless.

5. Centralizing Your Case

Centralization of your documents within your file explorer is organizational gold. When document review starts, it’s essential to centralize your documents in organized folders. The organized folders should all be placed into one folder that could, for example, be your main case folder (e.g. Jones vs. Smith).

Knowing where your documents are all located, whether it’s in a network folder, local C: Drive, cloud or external drive creates a sense of security and organization. This only increases your chances of maintaining your centralization and organization upon creating your case in your presentation software program.

6. Game Plan

Finally, a game plan is key to putting everything together at the end. When it comes to a game plan, as a consultant and or paralegal at a law firm, you want to go in with an organized and detailed approach to how you will be managing your files.

Prepare a checklist beforehand to make sure you have covered all you want to accomplish before going to court. Knowing the smaller things that are directly associated with managing your case will directly impact how well you perform in the hot seat.

Final Words

Perhaps to you, these tips seem obvious, or quite easy, but in my experience, they’re not to the average person. It all begins with the firm’s general practice. Having a standard general practice will initiate the process by default for all team members to properly manage case documents.

If it’s not your firm’s general practice to properly case manage your documents in preparation for trial, then you are already setting your team behind. You need to convince yourself, and your firm that putting in the time and money beforehand, will then in return save you time and money getting ready for and going to trial.

So, with all your case organization and management skills being used before trial begins, why is this relevant or how does this correlate with the presentation? The steps you would use to prepare your documents for trial also directly apply or correlate within your software. It all comes together when creating, building, managing and presenting your case in court.

By taking the necessary steps before trial, you only increase your chances of being successful. Some of you might be thinking that this is unnecessary and takes away from other tasks at hand, but I guarantee it will make you better prepared in the end. As I instruct all my trainees, “Managing your case, is more important than presenting.” If you properly organize and prepare your exhibits, then the presentation portion is a piece of cake.

The smaller things in trial matter.

Discussion

What are some tips you have found successful when using document management and trial presentation software?

Let us know on social media! You can connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

You can contact Ethan, the author of this post, on LinkedIn or by email at ehirsch@trialdirectoruniversity.com. Ethan is the Lead Technical Trainer at inData Corporation.

Learn more about TrialDirector and how it can help you by visiting our website. Already have TrialDirector? Consider participating in one of our training courses.