As technology continues to improve by leaps and bounds, interest in using technology as trial support has grown. Many attorneys were not particularly quick to embrace these new technologies, however as they began to realize that good defense cases could be lost through a lack of such technology, those who were hesitant were soon persuaded. We live in such a fast-paced, visually oriented world, that most all of us—including jury members—have shortened attention spans. Trial presentations must adapt to this by becoming more interesting, memorable and persuasive for juries.
Show and Tell
Because of our increasing dependence on computer and television screens to quickly deliver information, trial lawyers are now realizing the necessity of offering the same type of information “bites” to jurors. In the “show and tell” world of the average trial, some attorneys lean toward the “tell,” with very little “show.” Jurors can become bored, or confused by the amount of information they are expected to remember simply from hearing an attorney recite it. Just like children in a classroom, psychological studies have shown that jurors understand the information best when they not only hear the evidence, but when they see it as well. That is why trial support is critical for attorneys.
Video Used to Impeach a Witness
Obviously even the most elaborate technology will not turn a bad personal injury case into a good one. When a case is close, however, an effective multimedia presentation can certainly tip the scales in favor of the side who implements such technology. A video presentation tends to have more impact than passing around a stack of photographs and can play a key role in the trial. Video can be used during a deposition as well, making it easier to impeach a witness when the jury can see conflicting statements between the video and the live testimony.
Clarify, Captivate, Convince
Visual communication should be used during a personal injury trial to clarify issues, to captivate the jury, and to convince the judge and jury of the facts of the case. As an example, during a personal injury trial the plaintiff’s attorney can use multimedia to build a graphic which shows exactly what took place, as a sequence of events. This tends to put the situation into a better context for jurors, and allows the attorney to focus on one item at a time. Because presenting evidence day after day in a complex personal injury trial can cause the jury to lose interest, the attorney must grab the jury’s attention, then hold it long enough to present crucial information. Multimedia allows attorneys to do just that. The effort which goes into creating a digital presentation can be seen as a reflection of the attorney’s competence, knowledge, and legal training.
Use of Technology as Trials Support in the Murder Trial of Martha Moxley
Many will remember the Michael Skakel trial in which the cousin to the Kennedy family was convicted of the death of Martha Moxley, some twenty-seven years after the murder. The prosecutor in the case presented the evidence, in large part, through photographic evidence projected onto a large screen as well as with maps, diagrams of the murder scene and other evidence which could be immediately pulled from a CD-ROM. In fact, Prosecutor Jonathan Benedict even implemented these technologies during his closing argument—as Benedict talked, photos and transcripts of Skakel’s words were projected onto the screen. Many feel Benedict’s win was due in no small part to his judicious use of technology as trial support.
Does Technological Trial Support Offer an Unfair Advantage?
Some insurance companies feel when a multimedia trial presentation is used, the jury may side with the “underdog”—the side which used plain, old-school trial techniques. To the contrary, it is more likely the jury will see the side which failed to use technology when presenting their case as being lax in preparing the case, or as having little interest in the outcome of the case. A multimedia presentation which makes the facts of the case perfectly clear to the jury is unlikely to ever garner any negative repercussions from judge or jury. Multimedia use on the part of a personal injury attorney fighting against a large corporation or large insurance company can help level the playing field, taking away much of the inherent advantages enjoyed by large companies.
Contact Law Father for Help Today
If your firm isn’t using multimedia during trial, you might not be doing everything you can do to effectively communicate your client’s side of the story. For more information about the ways in which Law Father’s trail support options can help improve your firm’s bottom line, contact the experienced trial support professionals at Law Father today. Call us at 800-325-7715 or fill out the contact form on our website.