Modern technology has had a major impact on the way that we do almost everything. As attorneys, it has changed the way that we develop and present evidence as well as the manner in which we present and argue cases at trial. Because judges and jurors will more likely remember a vivid visual presentation than a complex and dry presentation of the raw data in documentary or testimonial form, attorneys need to integrate visual presentation techniques into their cases.
The evolution of modern technology has provided new and better tools for use in court presentations and created a universe of judges and jurors who live in a multimedia world, respond favorably to such presentations, and expect to receive information that way.
For example, in the past, an attorney might have presented eyewitness testimony about an accident, supplemented by a diagram of the scene. Now, the same attorney may offer a professionally produced video presentation depicting the accident scene, the vehicles involved in the collision, and the collision itself (including appropriate sound effects). Eyewitness testimony would lay the foundation and authenticate the simulation as an accurate representation of the witness’s observations.
Most people absorb information faster when they receive it with a supportive visual component, so augmenting oral argument and testimony with visual presentation techniques can facilitate the communication of information, resulting in judges and jurors who understand the relevant facts faster and much better. Visual presentations can vividly show in a few minutes what one or more expert witnesses might require hours to explain (less understandably) through their testimony.
Regardless of what you think about these presentation techniques, anticipate that you will have to deal with them more and more in the near future. You have a simple choice: Either learn to use this technology or concede a substantial advantage to opponents who can and do make effective use of it. Maybe you should consider this one of your New Year’s resolutions.
On the use of technology during your opening and closing, check out Persuasive Opening Statements & Closing Arguments. On the use of technology for exhibits and expert demonstrations, go to Handling Expert Witnesses in California Courts.
© The Regents of the University of California, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.