Importance of Graphics and Technology in Litigation - APVisuals Discusses
Infographics, litigation graphics, and technology are key to persuading a jury to help you and your client. The Honorable Amy J. St. Eve, United States District Judge, and Gretchen Scott, Esq. surveyed over 500 jurors regarding what jurors really think, including each attorney's use or lack of use of visual aids/technology. Honorable Amy J. St. Eve & Gretchen Scavo, What Juries Really Think: Practical Guidance for Trial Lawyers (March 30, 2018). Cornell Law Review Online, Volume 103. The surveyed jurors either indicated that the attorney's use of technology or visual aids was their most positive comment or where the attorney failed to use technology and/or visual aids, as their most negative comment.
Some of the juror's comments from the above-referenced survey included:
“why couldn’t the defense use laptops to present evidence like the prosecutors?”
would have liked to see the “defense have their things on [a computer] better to view”
liked the “defense(’s) use of the technical equipment”
liked that attorneys “used (a) TV monitor to see pic(tures) easily”
liked that attorneys “put visuals on the screen”
“the summary visuals were helpful”
The use of technology and learning through technology has become a staple in every area of our lives. Prior to COVID-19, when the above-referenced survey was conducted, social media and technology had weaved itself into every facet of our lives. COVID-19 propelled us into a new age where most students attended school online and most work was conducted online for over two years. The use of technology to communicate, share information, and educate is now the norm. For example, although many students have returned to in-person learning, they still only have electronic books, must submit their work through online portals, must sign required documents electronically, engage in online tutorials and complete projects without students virtually. In our legal realm, most depositions continue to move forward via video conference or zoom, mediations and hearings continue to take place via video, and even arbitrations and mock trials continue to be done through some sort of video application. Simply taking a walk through the Miami-Dade or Broward County Courthouse will show how our legal world continues to push forward virtually.
An attorney's failure to employ visual aids with technology at trial and mediation will only negatively impact their client's case. Jurors expect attorney's to use infographics such as timelines to explain years of medical treatment. Jurors expect attorneys to use flow charts to describe how products are manufactured and distributed in a product liability matter. Jurors expect to see and hear a witnesses' deposition testimony rather than it being read into the record (thank you Justin Bieber). Jurors expect to see the video of the Plaintiff's slip and fall. And of course, they are always waiting for the gotcha moment where a video, audio clip, etc. contradicts a witness' testimony.
However, you as the attorney cannot expect that jurors will know HOW to connect the dots. The attorney cannot expect that the juror will see the substance on the video which caused the slip and fall. The attorney certainly cannot expect that the juror will understand what it means when C4-C5 has a herniated disc vs. a bulging disc or that the plaintiff underwent a laminectomy vs. a discectomy. Infographics are needed to help the juror understand your client's story. Infographics are needed to prove elements such as liability, causation, damages, etc. Examples of some of the infographics created by APVisuals in prior cases can be seen below.
It is not enough to "just" use of technology, but to use the technology competently. Jurors, since they use their technology competently, expect attorneys to know how to use their technology effectively and efficiently. In the above-referenced survey jurors made the following comments:
did not like “technology problems, power plugs, evidence tapes” and would like to see attorneys “make sure [to] have technology ready”
would have liked to see [the attorneys] operate computers better”
“learn how to use equipment in advance”
liked “the photos being shown on the TV in front of me” and “witnesses being able to use . . . computer screens”
wished attorneys would “learn how to use the computer” and the “computer cut off sentences”
When an attorney is in trial, they should be concentrating on the substance of their case, not how to effectively and efficiently use the technology presenting the evidence. APVisuals takes the guesswork out when providing litigation support to South Florida law firms. We specializing in determining the types of files that your video deposition, medical records, medical illustrations, etc. are saved as and ensure that we have the correct program to display these documents and exhibits. It can be a catastrophe if you are at trial and do not have the correct connecting cable, the correct program or the even the correct operating system. In order to avoid these types of issues, contact APVisuals to arrange an APVisuals trial audio visual specialist to join you at trial and mediation.
Other issues that you may encounter include: 1) making sure that the right equipment is at the court house; 2) brining the right equipment if the courthouse does not house the right technology; and 3) dealing with the judge's special requirements regarding technology. APVisuals's audio visual specialists have available to them high powered laptops, remote wifi for the courthouse with not so perfect internet service, connecting cables, state of the art projectors and screens, and other equipment upon request.