Number 2 of 20 for 20 – Academic Inquiry

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academic inquiry

The year ahead will be one of testing assumptions in our client deliverables. The thrill of taking a deeper dive continues to interest me. Testing long held assumptions about the correctness of “the way things should be done” or “the way things are always done,” requires an appetite for enlightenment, innovation and renewal. I have long enjoyed citing research authorities for trial attorneys who ask, “why use that color?” or “why lay out the timeline that way?” But the answers change along with the times. Sometimes. Other times, conventional wisdom delivers. Either way, I’d like to provide an answer that leads to sound reasoning for client solutions.

Hunting down answers by poring over volumes of articles and scholarly research papers has long been more the stuff of movie montages than practical and realistic effort.  Almost all films about worthy pursuit have them, like the way Erin Brockovich captures the legwork of gathering compelling witness information in preparation for Anderson, et al. v. Pacific Gas and Electric case in a series of scenes with music and upbeat drama.

Designing an objective way to help reach decisive action plans, however, is something that now feels even more thrilling. Arriving at ways to deeply absorb the significance of scholarly research for the potential application to our work, has given me the “ahah!” moment since I first decided to test some heavy handed rules about graphics we were following years ago.

This makes me think of the feature film “My Cousin Vinny” and the moment Vincent LaGuardia “Vinny” Gambini realizes his opposing counsel is obligated to hand over evidence in discovery. I am overjoyed when I can cite sources other than “the way we always do” this thing or that thing. Maintaining an appetite for newness and renewal is really the only way to keep at something with any degree worthy of the label “expert.”

With that in mind as 2020 reveals itself, we are committed to certain areas of inquiry in order to improve upon last year by answering questions like:

  1. What are some ethical considerations that help trial teams make sense of social media information gleaned about potential jurors?
  2. What makes a graphic demonstrative ineffective?
  3. How do jurors understand events in time? Chronologies?
  4. Are there ways to use some presentation technology to increase juror comprehension?
  5. When jurors take handwritten notes, does their comprehension of case facts increase?

cite: Video: My Cousin Vinny (1992), TM and Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp.

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