A new article highlighting TrialDirector 360 and written by Ipro Client Manager Ethan Hirsch was published by NALA: The Paralegal Association this month.
Before joining Ipro, Ethan spent two years as a Paralegal Assistant, supporting all aspects of case management and deposition/trial prep and has provided law firms, government agencies, and other litigation companies with the highest level of training, consulting, and support, using his knowledge of case management, trial preparation and presentation.
Here is an excerpt of the article:
“When you start off in the litigation support field, your firm may not even own licensing for trial presentation software, so there’s a good chance you’ve never seen or even heard of TrialDirector®. And when you finally see it, you still may not fully grasp the value of a software program like it.
“I know I didn’t, even after starting work at inData Corporation and later moving to Ipro. It was only after training and consulting law firms for months on TrialDirector software, while customizing case management tactics and workflows to help clients be prepared for trial, before I fully understood. But when you ultimately sit in the hot seat to support firms with presentation in the courtroom, there’s no doubt about its value.
“An attorney’s job is to tell a true and complete story with words, using months, if not years of case management, motions, discovery, productions, hearings, and finally a trial. TrialDirector puts all of those things together in just a few seconds to enhance the presentation of the evidence to the 12 members of the jury. Evidence gets you to trial but telling the story of the evidence to the jury wins it.”
NALA is a non-profit organization which provides current information about the paralegal profession, continuing education (publications, courses, and webinars), networking opportunities, professional certification programs, occupational survey reports, and publications to help paralegals excel in the workplace.
*Editor’s Note: Today’s Ipro blog was written by Joshua Gilliland, a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg from 2013 to 2016, the Web 100 from 2017 to 2018, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.
Trial advocacy is a mix of law and theater, requiring a lawyer to know both the law and their audience. Attorneys must effectively argue their client’s case using the evidence and the jury instructions to show their client is right (or has been wronged), and it is up to the jury to put things right.
The opening statement is an opportunity to set the stage for what the trial is about, and the closing argument is the chance to tie all the issues together with a bow. One highly effective strategy for both is using video depositions, but they must meet the requirements in Federal or state court.
Strategic Reasons to Use Video Deposition Clips
Back in 2002, David Narkiewicz described the value of using video depositions in trial as follows:
Without a doubt, trial presentation software is most powerful when used to show a clip of a video deposition while simultaneously showing the transcript for the jury to watch and read. Instead of just showing a video clip, highlighting a particular comment by the witness with a color, such as yellow, can make the use of that clip extremely powerful. You can retrieve this clip by just typing in the page and lines of the transcript, and the video and transcript are played instantly on the screen.
Jurors today have lived with smartphones that allow them to watch videos in the palm of their hand, and many of these jurors are in Generation X or Millennials and want to hear the bottom line and not a presentation that manipulates their emotions.
This requires thinking about how to use short video deposition that conveys the key message, such as “day-in-the-life” videos, or using a specific passage of testimony that sums up a case are effective ways to maximize trial presentation technology to simply state complex information for the jury to understand.
Deposition testimony allows jurors to get an immediate look at a party (or party representative) in a lawsuit. However, just because you can show a line of deposition questions and answers, does not mean you should. The facts of the case can dictate the trial strategy.
As trial presentation expert Ted Brooks of Litigation-Tech has explained, video depositions of deceased parties were used in an asbestos reinsurance case from early in his career. Without the video depositions, the only way the jury would have “heard” the deceased’s testimony was to hear someone read it into the record.
The fundamental strategic reason for using a video deposition clip in an opening statement or closing argument boils down to effectively communicating the key facts of a lawsuit.
How to Prepare Video Deposition Clips
The first step in preparing video deposition clips in TrialDirector 360 is to have a synchronized video deposition. A video deposition can be synched in TimeCoder Pro, but it is highly likely a court reporter firm will provide a synced Digital Video Transcript (DVT file) that can be loaded into TrialDirector 6 or Trialdirector 360.
Video deposition clips can be created by selecting the relevant page and line designations within the transcript. Attorney colloquy and objections in the deposition should be edited out so the clip is only of the question and answer. It is often required that the questions before and after the relevant examination designation need to be included to give context to the answer. As every trial is unique, what needs to be presented can vary.
The main point of having a video excerpt in a closing argument or opening statement is for impact. This could be because a person is deceased, there is an admission of extreme importance, or the deponent gave inconsistent testimony at trial. There are numerous reasons to want to use a video deposition clip, but the key issue is presenting some testimony the jury will not forget when they begin deliberations.
Notes on Depositions from the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 32 allows a party to use a deposition against an adverse party if the party had was present or represented at the deposition; had notice of the deposition; would be admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence; and meets one of the Rule 32(a) requirements. Fed Rules Civ Proc R 32(a)(1)(A), (B), and (C).
Federal Courts have allowed video deposition excerpts in opening statements. In one case where a party brought a motion in limine to exclude the use of a video deposition, the Court allowed the video deposition because Rule 32(a)(2) states a deposition can be used for “any purpose” and the opposing party’s conduct was factually relevant and could be alluded to in opening statement. Northfield Ins. Co. v. Royal Surplus Lines Ins. Co. (C.D. Cal. July 7, 2003).
In another case, the proffering party was limited to use video deposition testimony under Federal Rules of Evidence 403 that prohibit cumulative evidence, because the deponent was going to testify at trial. Beem v. Providence Health & Servs. (E.D. Wash. Apr. 19, 2012).
In a complex technology case, the Court granted a motion in limine excluding a video deposition clip from an opening statement, explaining, “…if unrestricted, a video deposition can be shown once in opening, again during trial (at least once), and in closing in the exact same form. Repeatedly showing the same few deposition segments seems to exalt the relevance of those videotaped shreds of evidence over live testimony.” Hynix Semiconductor Inc. v. Rambus Inc. (N.D. Cal. Jan. 21, 2008), citing Federal Judicial Center, Effective Use of Courtroom Technology: A Judge’s Guide to Pretrial and Trial, 156 (2001).
The use of a video deposition in trial is subject to notice requirements under Federal and state Rules of Civil Procedure. In Federal Court, a party must provide a transcript of any deposition testimony the party offers. Fed Rules Civ Proc R 32(c). In California, there must be a notice in writing of the intent to offer video depositions into evidence, which allow for objections and video editing. Cal Code Civ Proc § 2025.340(m). It is pivotal to know the local rules for submitting evidence lists and any standing orders for using video depositions in trial.
 FEATURE: GENERATION X AND Y’S INFLUENCE IN THE JURY BOX, 50 Orange County Lawyer 42, 44.  THE RANDOLPH W. THROWER SYMPOSIUM: CHANGING LITIGATION WITH SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: VIDEO DEPOSITIONS, TRANSCRIPTS AND TRIALS, 43 Emory L.J. 1071, 1075-1076  FEATURE: UNDERSTANDING AND USING COURTROOM TECHNOLOGY IN THE NEW HARRIS COUNTY CIVIL COURTHOUSE, 44 Houston Lawyer 30, 31  DEPARTMENT: LEGAL TECH: TECHNOLOGY IN THE COURTROOM: TRIAL PRESENTATION SOFTWARE, 24 Pennsylvania Lawyer 49, 49
We all know the difference visuals can make in a presentation. We’ve sat in audiences and struggled connecting with a speaker, because their slides were strings of black bullet points and good old Times New Roman. Their content and expertise may have been world class, but their slide deck might as well have been a pocket watch dangled from a hypnotist’s hand, his voice whispering Sleep, sleep in our ears.
When you’re an attorney preparing for trial, that’s the last thing you want to happen when you present your case. Trial presentation software (like TrialDirector 360 by Ipro) definitely makes a difference. Gone are the days of fumbling with an ELMO or shuffling through binders with thousands of pages to prove your case. TrialDirector allows you to bring in your pre-trial exhibits, pretreat documents, and organize them into workbooks. You can even create and edit video depositions when a witness is unable to attend trial. And even if you don’t go to trial, TrialDirector can still be used for hearings and arbitrations.
This all sounds great. The problem is, you went to law school instead of studying graphic design. Sure, having TrialDirector would help, but if you’re not an expert at using it, you may as well go back to your flip chart. That’s where Ipro Trial Services comes in and saves the day.
We havethe largest number of certified Trial Consultants in the industry and bring years of experience in the courtroom to your litigation team. With our assistance, your team can focus on case theory, strategy, and the law, rather than how, where, and when the exhibits will be displayed in court.
There are many additional advantages to having lpro trial consultants with you in the courtroom. lpro’s on-site trial team can “free-up” your litigation staff, while the consultants work with the trial attorneys to prepare a witness, create demonstrative graphics, and provide document imaging and management services. Additionally, our trial consultants will maintain presentation and war room system integrity throughout the trial.
And our graphic designers know what demonstrative types work for each situation in the courtroom. This experience allows them to collaborate alongside experts and team members, recommending and creating stunning visuals that drive home the principle themes in your case.
We’ll even come to the courtroom with you! Every one of our trial consultants is required to master TrialDirector360 and other cutting-edge technology, to maximize the impact of your presentation, so you can focus on presenting the facts to the jury.
Historically, teachers have used a variety of technology display tools for presenting information to their students; a photocopy on transparency paper via an overhead projector or a video camera hooked up to a TV on a rolling cart to show clear images from a book. Fast forward a few more years when smart podiumscame along, giving teachers the ability to connect a laptop to a projector and show images, word docs, and videos. These were all powerful in their day. Often, the presentation needs of teachers and attorneys have a lot of similarities, gaining the right focus of your audience, but attorneys have much more at stake;they need dynamic trial presentation software to meet their needs in the courtroom. Yet many still use PowerPoint, document cameras, and even foam boards to present evidence to the jury.
The law firm Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard were doing just that 4 years ago, when they realized they needed far more control and flexibility over their presentations. That’s when they switched to TrialDirector as their go-to trial presentation software for trial. The firm attributes TrialDirector’s seamless flow, the ability to call up exhibits on the fly, video deposition tools, and how easily the presentation integrates with the attorney’s dialogue as having a powerful impact on the jury to help them tell their story and provide a positive outcome for their clients.
Present virtually any type of document or media from your PC or laptop
Streamline your entire trial preparation and presentation process with one tool
Organize transcripts, video depo’s, and documents for offline presentation
Impress juries and clients through easy-to-present, impactful multimedia presentations
Easily collaborate with multiple users working on a centrally stored case
Most of the time we stick with what we know and make it work, often not realizing there may be a better solution out there. Trial presentation is no different, attorneys need a competitive edge in the courtroom and TrialDirector 360 can give them that edge.
Your firm has done all the research, document review, and planning for trial, and now you’re ready to go into the courtroom and present. What do you bring? Many use Power-Point for trial presentation software. Some are still relying on 20th Century staples such as foam boards and document projectors. And why not? You’ve always gotten by using these methods.
But imagine the ability to call up exhibits on the fly, video deposition tools, and a presentation that seamlessly integrates with the attorney’s dialogue, allowing you to tell a story that has a powerful impact on the jury and provides a positive outcome for your clients.
That’s where Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard were four years ago when they switched over to TrialDirector as their go-to presentation software for trial. Since making the transition, they have far more control and flexibility over their presentations and credit the ability within TrialDirector to effectively present evidence and paint a picture that resonates and reinforces their case for the jury to successful trial outcomes, including a recent $148 million personal injury award and a $50 million dollar birth injury award.
“Ipro is proud to be part of the toolkit involved in such impressive outcomes,” said Derek Miller, VP Desktop Solutions at Ipro. “And we continue to improve and enhance the product to allow firms like Salvi to do important work.”
TrialDirector 360® is available as a stand-alone application or as part of the Ipro (Desktop) solution.
Ipro – Simplifying the Process from Discovery to Trial.
About Ipro Tech, LLC Ipro is a global leader in eDiscovery technology used by legal professionals to streamline discovery of electronic data through presentation at trial. Ipro draws upon decades of innovation to deliver high-performance software, services and support, bundled as a solution and deployed the way you want it—Desktop, On-prem or Cloud—significantly reducing the cost and complexity of eDiscovery.
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.
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.
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.
In the previous installment, we reviewed the power of repetition to capture the jury’s attention. If you missed it, be sure to check it out. In this next and final post in the series, we’ll touch on a few more powerful techniques you can use in the courtroom to take your presentation to the next level and be the attorney the jury remembers.
Use Attention Getters They’re called attention getters for a reason. You don’t want to bore your audience by talking for a long time, especially with a heavy topic, so try changing things up 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 other presentation types can still apply. Just tailor them 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 clip from a video testimony • 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 during trial. What techniques would work best to not only maintain your attention but help you understand the many moving parts of a given case?
Fortunately, the days of file boxes of boring paper exhibits are gone (almost). It’s now possible to use technology combined with compelling storytelling techniques to present your argument to the jury in a way that connects in this modern world. Now, who doesn’t want that?
Learn more about TrialDirector 360 and how it can help you by visiting our website.
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.
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. The short attention span reality doesn’t change when someone is selected for jury duty, so it’s the attorney’s job to be as engaging as those phone notifications waiting for them when court is over. As courtroom jurors called on to decide fate, where they’re expected to sit in a jury box and listen to hours of presentation and testimony, holding their attention to key facts, is critical. And let’s be real, it’s rare any of them to want to be there, let alone take the initiative to focus on the task at hand for an extended period.
Of course, any given case is 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 hanging on your words? General presentation tips are out there, but we want to talk about things that work particularly well when in the courtroom, especially when using trial presentation software.
Put Yourself in the Jury’s Shoes Yes, the jury has a civic duty to listen to the facts of the case and issue a decision on the outcome, but that doesn’t mean you automatically have their undivided attention. So, what can you do to deliver the information you need the jury to hear, understand, and absorb to persuade them to agree with your argument?
Trial is all about persuasion, but it’s also a balancing act of maintaining legalities, stating the facts, not irritating the judge, and ultimately crafting a passionate compelling presentation that intricately and definitively proves your argument.
One tactic to crafting this compelling presentation is understanding where your jury is coming from in terms of the case. Representing a pharmaceutical case where the testimonies and information shared will be heavily science based may lead you to be a teacher to your jury. How do you help them understand the importance of the details and jargon without zoning out? How do you keep them engaged, informed, and interested? How do you ensure they understand without being condescending?
If you are covering a criminal case involving an accident, perhaps using a technique to engage the jury’s emotional core is the way to go. Help them relate to how the situation would impact their lives if it happened to them or a loved one. This works regardless of whether you’re prosecuting or defending.
Likeability is important. Remember jurors will start forming an opinion on you from their first interaction, so wooing them begins in the jury selection process. From the beginning, jurors will gravitate to who the better storyteller is. They will engage with who speaks their language best. They will believe who best presents the facts of the case in a way they understand. Wow them with visuals, videos, and dynamic presentations. Entertain while educating. An entertained audience is an engaged once.
Found these tips helpful? Tune in next week for the second tip in this series. If you’re ready to take your trial presentation to the next level, read more about TrialDirector 360 here.
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.
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?