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Opening Statements - You are Probably Doing it Wrong

July 12, 2018

We have been at hundreds or opening statements.  We have been in opening statements where the attorney has the jury hanging on every word.  We have also been in opening statements where the look of confusion is on each juror's face.  Watching a boring, unorganized, and not compelling opening statement can be very difficult to watch.  The problem is that most attorneys won't even be aware of how "bad" their opening statement really was. 

 

If you are reading this article, more likely than not, you are looking for tips on how to improve your opening statement or you want to check out what other attorneys may be doing wrong. Hopefully, this article can give you tips or reasons why using graphics can help any litigator make their opening statements better.

 

USE GRAPHICS! USE GRAPHICS! USE GRAPHICS! Your opening statement usually incorporates complex facts, medical terms, complicated timeline, or other information that may be difficult for a juror to follow (since the average juror has a third grade education level).  In addition, even if your juror has the intelligence to understand complicated facts, sequences, etc., they may not have the attention span to listen ONLY to your word for 1 hour or more. Make sure that you use graphics to tell your client's side of the story. Graphics allow jurors to associate a certain fact, theme, position, etc. with an image. This allows them not only to remember it better but to easily understand complex ideas through imagery.

 

Better put this way, the case you are about to present to a jury, you have been litigating it for years.  You know every fact and detail about your case forward and backwards.  you have come up with every possible defense to your case.  You have memorized every piece of evidence and transcript.  For a lack of better words, you are an expert on your case. Each juror is not.  Your responsibility is to condense the knowledge that you have gained in the case, over the span of 2-4 years, into a week or so of trial.  The use of graphics, images, etc. is key to presenting your case quickly and effectively to a jury.

 

Now if using a power point / keynote presentation for opening, check out another article that speaks to tips on how to create the information for your slides so you do not bore your audience. 

 

Now you may be inclined to try and do the multimedia, electronic presentation your self.  However, your job should be to present your client's case and connect with the jurors. Although most, if not all litigation attorneys will use either technology or trial exhibit boards, it is critical that the graphics and exhibits enhance your case instead or detracting from it. That is why it is imperative that an experienced, professional and reliable trial graphics company such as APVisuals become part of your litigation team. Moreover, APVisuals is not simply sitting behind a computer to run technology in the courtroom, we are facilitating how you tell your client's story. APVisuals helps arrange your stage and makes sure that all the back stage steps are handled to ensure that the play that you are about to put on for jurors runs smoothly.

 

APVisuals with it vast experience participating in cases dealing with motor vehicle accidents, negligent security accidents, medical malpractice issues, slip and fall accidents, breach of contract issues and criminal cases can help work with your team to create custom trial exhibits, timelines, medical illustrations, animations, infographics, and blow-ups that add value to your case. We will also work with you to determine if your case would benefit from a document management software such as trial director to easily identify documents at trial. APVisuals employees have an advanced understanding of Word, Power Point, Keynote, Trial Director and

 

other presentation software. They are ready to perform video edits in the courtroom. They can also perform edits to multimedia presentations on the spot. They can highlight key point of medical documents while questioning witnesses and/or presenting to the jury. Because APVisuals' employees have these attributes, our client attorneys are only left with the worry of developing their legal arguments rather than technology during trial. Accordingly, since attorneys are not fumbling with projectors, laptops, etc. they are able to connect with jurors and present their cases seamlessly. By presenting a smooth case, Jurors will likely have confidence in your capability only increase your credibility.

 

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