Number 3 of 20 for 20 – Listening for the Real Need

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trial graphics

Once an attorney understands the value of what we bring to their presentations, the inevitable spark that begets a great presentation is gratifying. Turns out explaining what we do isn’t as important as listening for that moment when our work solves a problem. One habit that helps identify the unspoken, yet significant need takes years to refine: the art of listening.

A client insisted recently that the trial team just needed presentation technology, that their science expert would handle his own graphic illustrations, yet currently those charts were in progress. When we listened to the way they described “in progress,” we asked one simple question, “would you like us to sit in on your next trial prep meeting with the expert,” the reply was perfunctory and practical, “yes, that would be great.” Perhaps they still didn’t understand what it could yield.

At that meeting, the expert took an hour with a whiteboard to explain the three states of water, with professorial ease. It was to be the basis for the substance of his testimony. As a result, we offered and developed some visual prompts to get him there in a way that used opposing party art against them, (pulled directly from the opposing party website). More importantly, in a way that adhered to the trial themes set forth by the team and recent rulings, we kept pace with his demonstration and style. It was a solution that would never have come from simply displaying an expert’s charts.

It was a moment of professional satisfaction to see it all come together in trial a few weeks later and to know: the solution materialized because of the years of listening to other trial teams and their expert witnesses. And then, applying solutions in the context of the courtroom.


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