I believe I’ve mentioned before, and if I haven’t plenty of marketing folks for Sanction or Trial Director have, that the big benefit to using trial presentation software, or any technology in the court room is the ability to visually “tell your story”. Obviously, with many, many people being visual learners, and even more now growing up in a multimedia world, it can be quite useful to have some sort of visual to grab folks attention, and to help simplify that can sometimes be very complicated legal concepts.
After having been asked to run some of these trial presentations now, one other benefit strikes me. Not one that the technology is necessarily designed to bring, but one that is important nonetheless. Using technology to display your exhibits just makes you seem more organized. (Even when you aren’t sometimes) As I sit in court now I sometimes get frustrated with the process of witness examination because everyone has a copy of all the exhibits, and each time a new exhibit is being asked about, everyone (judge, jury, both attorneys and the witness) has to thumb through the “notebook” to locate the correct document, and make sure everyone is looking at the correct section, or page of the document. That always seems to take longer than it should to me, even without an attorney misspeaking and giving out the wrong exhibit number, one copy of the notebook not being correct, or someone simply misplacing their notebook.
How much easier is it to have one person in the room in charge of bringing up your exhibits on a PC as you ask for them, and everyone in the room looking at a screen, whether it be a monitor or a large screen for the room to see? No thumbing through notebooks, not waiting for everyone to get there, just look at the screen. You can even mitigate the attorney “misspeaks” if you’ve worked closely with the trial technician beforehand and he/she is familiar with where you want to go. (i.e., an attorney could ask for exhibit 12, but a trial tech who’s been working closely on the case could be well aware that the topic being discussed now is actually exhibit 21, the attorney had just transposed the digits, and bring up the correct document.)
Here you have a fine example of technology actually making a trial simpler, as opposed to more complex. Unfortunately, many attorneys only see the extra complexity of technology, and want no part of it. As far as I’m concerned, they can continue right along with their exhibit notebooks, and ruining the flow of questioning while getting everyone to the right place. That’s their prerogative. The technology will move along without them.