Tag Archives: Trial

What Is the Best Trial Presentation Software?

TrialDirector 360

Let’s reframe the question. What does the best presentation software do? More importantly, what do you want it to do?

Woman giving trial presentation
The best trial presentation software is an all-in-one tool.

The best trial presentation software needs to have instant document and deposition retrieval, and instant video playback. It should allow side-by-side document presentation and multiple display options as well as a variety of highlight and annotation tools that you can customize.

The best trial presentation program does all these things and more. It organizes. It helps you prepare. It makes your presentation engage the audience.

From the beginning of the case, you gathered and analyzed data: documents, video, depositions, photographs. Maybe you also developed animations, re-creations, or flash files. Now add the Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoints you created that explain key aspects or your opening statement. How do you manage such a multitude of items?

You use an all-in-one tool that lets you do all the things described above. You use TrialDirector.

TrialDirector is designed for and excels at trial presentation, but does much, much more. Let me show you how.

Organize

One of the main keys to success for any case, even before a trial date is set, is organization.

First, set up your case files on your computer or network drive in a way that is secure and easily accessible for you. Then, put those files and data into TrialDirector which will guide you through the case creation and import processes. It’s that simple.

Graphic of organizing and managing documents
TrialDirector helps you manage and organize documents.

Once inside, your files are automatically sorted by document, transcript, and multimedia. Looking for a PDF? Go to Documents. Want to search transcripts for a keyword? Go to Transcript Manager. Forgot where you put the surveillance video? Go to Multimedia.

With all your data now in one location, getting started is easy. Create a witness workbook and drag case items into the folder where you assign exhibit numbers and apply exhibit labels with a few clicks of the mouse. Next, export the workbook contents to a single PDF that you can email or print then generate an exhibit outline of the workbook to use in court.

And still, there is more. Create exhibit lists in Word, apply redactions, search, print, and add identifiable names to all your files for fast recall.

Now, let’s tackle transcripts…

Use robust search features and a full word index to quickly and easily find specific words and phrases. As you review transcripts, highlight testimony that relates to specific areas of your case with issue codes. As issues are applied, the transcript is color-coded drawing your eye to areas of importance. But what if you need to submit excerpts to the judge? TrialDirector provides several print and report features so you can share only the information you want.

Prepare

Case preparation, without utilizing the right tools, can be tedious, especially when working with physical files. Coupled with the fact that teams often assume their case will settle and won’t even go to trial, they find themselves in trouble when it does. Unprepared, they have to scramble to get a presentation together, putting in extra hours and adding to the stress and cost of the whole situation.

TrialDirector cuts out the mundane, time-consuming aspects of case preparation, and allows you the freedom to focus on what’s most important – preparation and strategy.

Here’s how.

After searching, issue coding, and organizing your transcripts, you’ve decided what portions you’ll show in court. No need for a DVD player and definitely no need to fast forward or rewind to find the parts you want to play. Use TrialDirector to make clips of the excerpts you wish to present. With several options, making clips is as easy as a highlight, right click, select… and voila! Your clip is made.

Now let’s talk about one of the biggest time-saving features: the visual clip editor. It’s a wave file to fine-tune the start and end points of a clip down to the millisecond. In just a few minutes, you can distil hours of deposition testimony to only the clips you need. And, like issue codes, print a report of your clips which gives you the total run time – so if the judge gave a strict 30-minute time limit to play clips, you can use every second you’re allotted and know exactly how long your video will take.

Getting back to your documents, let’s start prepping them for court. Keep in mind, you want annotation tools that you can use ahead of trial as well as at trial. We refer to this as ‘pre-treat’ vs ‘on-the-fly’ annotation. Either way, annotations focus the jury’s attention on a specific part of the document or photograph. Remember, a jury member may get distracted or sneeze or glance around the courtroom. When they look back, they’ve lost track of the three pertinent sentences you were discussing. However, if those sentences are highlighted, the jury will know exactly where you are.

With the ability to pre-treat, you can apply exhibit labels, stamps, arrows, circles, squares, redactions, highlights and more ahead of trial. Save the annotated documents as page revisions, retaining a ‘clean’ original image as well as your marked-up copy.

A word on the iPad…

Do you want to use an iPad in court? Use our free TrialDirector for iPad app! This is a standalone application so you don’t need TrialDirector software for it to work, but use them together and you have the best of both worlds. Make a TrialDirector for iPad workbook in your TrialDirector case (it’s as easy as a right mouse click), drag and drop the material you will use, and export. TrialDirector will create a folder that you can load into TrialDirector for iPad.

Present

You made it. It’s your first day in court and you are organized and prepared. Launch your TrialDirector Presentation, take a deep breath, and begin…

Remember those witness notebooks? They’re in your presentation toolbar. Press the green (or the spacebar on your keyboard) and the first item in the workbook is displayed. Press the arrow again and the next item in the workbook replaces the image on the screen, press it again and the third item replaces the image, and so on…

When you reach the long letter that you knew was coming and the jury is squinting at the screen, you’re ready. You select a zoom tool, grab the paragraph you want the jury to focus on with your mouse, and it is projected full screen so they see exactly what you are referring to. Even better, the letter remains in the background and you scroll through it while zoomed, moving line by line through the page. Once you finish with the letter, press the green arrow and continue through your witness workbook.

There are so many display options (there are nine different display zones!) and tools (and you can change the colors) in TrialDirector Presentation that it’s impossible to cover them here. The most common and popular display options are full screen (one image, centered) and two images, side-by-side. And if you only learn two annotation tools for on-the-fly presenting, stick to zoom and highlight.

So, if you’re nervous or think presenting with TrialDirector is hard, just remember, even the most seasoned TrialDirector professionals stick to two display zones and two annotation tools.

So, What Is the Best Trial Presentation Software?

The best presentation software helps you organize, prepare, and present. It files your documents and transcripts. It creates exhibit lists and reports. It helps you create a presentation plan of attack. It does more. It’s TrialDirector.

Three Concerns Keeping You from Embracing Electronic Document Management Software

Look around your office. What do you see? Perhaps there are towers of stacked paper, or piles of boxes, each gushing with case documents, or maybe walls of shelves holding large notebooks with documents stuffed inside.

Are these things obstructing your way around the office? Do you have to climb over or shimmy around piles of notebooks and paper just to get to your desk?

If you recognize any of the descriptions above, and you think that’s a problem, keep reading.

We want to help you along the first steps of getting your law office organized and saving time with technology.

There are options available today that let you fit all those documents into a device, like a USB flash drive, that only takes up a few inches on your desk. So, that mess you’re looking at right now? Gone.

Not only that, but you can use that device and other tools to organize all those thousands of documents and search through them in seconds rather than minutes or hours.

The benefits of such tools are priceless, yet many law firms and organizations still don’t use them. Why? We ask ourselves this question a lot, and we’d like to take this opportunity to address some of your possible concerns we found to be the most common.

Let’s start with an easy one.

1. Time – I Don’t Have It

Ah, yes. Time. As an attorney, every single minute of your life is accounted for, and there’s none to spare to learn about new tech. Every minute you spend trying to figure out how to use this stuff is a minute you haven’t spent on your case. You may think it’s better to play it safe and do things the “tried and true” way. Just get it done the way you know how right?

Respectfully, we think that’s wrong.

You do have time. In fact, you may be hemorrhaging time, your most valuable resource, by holding onto old methods of doing things. As we already said before, working with documents on a computer turns the hours you would spend working with paper into minutes and seconds.

Here’s an example of how: Let’s take a simple task, such as finding a document you want to present at trial.

Currently, you get up from your desk, go to wherever you store your case documents, find the right box, shelf, or drawer, open the box, and proceed to finger through all the folder and files in the box. Once you find the right folder and eventually the right file, you pull it out and take it back to your desk.

Or you might have a paralegal or assistant do all of that for you. In any case, that simple process absorbed valuable time. Now, compound the time for all the other hundreds to thousands of documents circulating in each case.

It adds up. You’re spending hours, days, and weeks just on one simple task.

Suppose you could do all of it with technology without even leaving your chair, right from a computer? You can! In fact, some programs will find documents for you. All you do is enter a few search terms and it filters through everything for you in milliseconds.

Then, once you have the document, you can review and even annotate it right then and there. No need to print. No need to make copies. It’s all done for you.

And we didn’t even talk about the significant loss of time when something is misplaced or misfiled. You know that’s bad.

With computers and programs these days, if something is misplaced on the file system, there are countless fast and efficient ways to help you find lost items much more quickly than sifting through the mountains of paper yourself.

Sure, it may take an initial investment of time to learn how to use the technology and implement it, but that is nothing compared to the amount of time and resources you save later.

Receiving the documents, printing the documents, transporting the documents – all the monetary, time, and mental costs of handling physical documents are dramatically reduced by going digital.

You just need to get over that first hill, and then you coast with a nice refreshing breeze as you go.

Technology gets you away from wasting time on mundane tasks and lets you get back to what matters – strategizing and winning your case.

But your time, or the lack thereof, isn’t even the real issue in our opinion.

2. Fear of Change – The Real Issue

Everyone can get set in a routine. They set up a comfort zone, where everything they do is part of the norm, and they resist anything outside of that zone or even slightly unfamiliar. Breaking away from a routine is usually difficult.

Herein lies the real problem. You may be afraid to change. You are so used to doing things the way you currently do them you perceive your current process for preparing for and presenting at trial is faster when it demonstrably is holding you back.

William Pollard, a physicist, said, “Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”

Whether it was in law school or when you first started out as a professional, you spent a substantial amount of time, even sleepless nights, teaching yourself to do things the way you currently do them. Now you’re comfortable with those methods. In fact, you’re very good at what you do.

But times change. Things that worked well in the past don’t work as well anymore. With increasing amounts of case data and less time to prepare, it’s time to adapt to the progressing world around you or you risk getting bogged down in inefficiencies. It happens in every industry, and it is happening in the legal industry.

We strongly suggest you put in the time needed and get up to speed with the current technology today and provide your clients with the state of the art representation they deserve.

Which leads us to the final concern we want to bring up.

3. Cost of Entry – The Hidden Cost of Denial

You may feel it’s too expensive to get up to speed.

While there are very expensive systems out there with impressive functions and features, there are just as many or more options that are much less expensive or even free. You can easily use the internet to find options to help you simplify and organize your case.

Also, think about the hidden costs of refusing technology. We’re not just talking about time and money. Your ability to rationalize and think clearly is severely influenced by your surroundings. Minds function in parallel with their environment, even down to how you are dressed.

How are the messy piles of documents in your office affecting you? Gaining some clarity and peace of mind is worth at least entertaining the idea of implementing technological advances in your practice. You’ll be able to make better strategies and be more prepared to confront unexpected challenges.

Using technology to become more efficient not only eases your mental strain and saves time and money for you, but it also saves the same for your clients. Any tool that improves the firm improves the client’s experience, providing the quality help they need faster.

Plus, the longer you wait to implement these tools, the more expensive it will be later on, whether or not you ever implement them. The younger generation of lawyers and paralegals are learning these technologies in school. In many cases, they grew up with this stuff. It’s basically part of their DNA.

Invest now to save later. Stay up to date with the rising generation.

You can start out small if you have to, one improvement at a time.

Get Started Now – Let Us Help

If any of the concerns we discussed above apply to you, you could greatly benefit from an application like TrialDirector. We can help you every step of the way.

TrialDirector is cutting edge trial preparation and presentation software.

With TrialDirector, you can review exhibits. It uses a couple document browsing tools to let you find exactly what you’re looking for. Then you can open the document in a larger viewer, browse through the document if it has multiple pages, and even draw markups to focus the jury’s attention in preparation for trial. You can review video and deposition transcripts as well.

If you have a hard time browsing through all the documents you are preparing for trial, you can organize individual items in your case into different folders called workbooks. There are different types of workbooks that make other tasks, like presenting at trial, much easier.

Finally, you can take the case you worked on in TrialDirector with you to trial for presentation. You can present a set of exhibits in order, or you can call up exhibits on-the-fly as the trial develops. There are several things you can do to capture the jury’s attention too. You can make callouts, mark annotations, and show exhibits next to each other to compare and contrast. You can even link an exhibit to a deposition video and have it appear seamlessly at the right moment while the video plays.

Look at what we have to offer at TrialDirector.com.

We also offer in-depth training services through TrialDirector University to help jump-start your experience with taking your cases to the next level with technology. Learn more at TrialDirectorUniversity.com.

There are countless hours you can save using technology throughout the life of any case. Make the decision and take steps to use it now!