Integrated Technology and Graphics

Technology and Graphics are Vitally Interdependent at Trial.

This post explores seldom-considered points about what makes a visual presentation successful.

It’s a no-brainer that a well-conceived visual strategy will help with an opening statement, or a key expert examination. But asking the following questions could mean the difference between a good one and a great one:

1.  How comfortable is the presenting attorney with practicing?

Using visuals demands some sort of rehearsing; a dry run through or full on dress rehearsal or anything in between. A speaking attorney would be well advised not to be seeing graphics for the first time in front of a jury.

2.  Does the lead attorney interact with what’s on the screen and control its appearance and disappearance, or do they prefer to have the images following them on cue, advanced by someone else?

Either can work well, but again, rehearsal is vital

3.  What equipment will used in the actual presentation?

Design around proportions available: PowerPoint 2013 and 2016 default to 16:9 ratio instead of the “old” 4:3. If the courtroom is using the latest projection equipment, design your presentations to those specifications. Many courtrooms have projectors that lose their “yellow” color over time and are not maintained. So the “highlight” feature that many courtroom software programs use will appear a dull mustard color.

4.  Is anyone…the judge, jury, witness and/or attorneys color blind?

If so, vary the patterns/textures of colors as well as the values (degree of white or black) to differentiate elements.

5.  How old is the lamp within the projector?

You’d be surprised how easy it is to determine lamp life through the use of the setup menu. If there is any doubt, the cost to replace any questionable bulb beforehand, is a worthy investment. Having a spare bulb nearby is not a perfect backup plan because if the old bulb needs to be replaced, it will surprise many to find out that most projectors need a long time to cool in order to replace with a spare one, defeating the purpose of a spare as a solution.

6.  What is your backup plan?

For main laptops, a duplicate system and off-site backup files serve to allow a team to sleep at night. Letter sized color prints (multiple copies to hand up and distribute to opposing counsel in an emergency) should be on hand, always.