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Trial Exhibits and Demonstratives - How to Pick the Right Exhibits

Most people learn differently - visual, audible, or kinesthetic. In fact, you can take a survey to find out what type of learner you really are click here. The problem is that as a litigation attorney you don't have he ability to survey your jurors prior to trial in order to determine how they best learn. So the ANSWER... create trial exhibits that cater to all types of learners. That means you have to include:

** video deposition for your visual and auditory learners

** real exhibits - like documents right out of a medical record

** demonstrative - a medical illustration create to aide the juror understand injuries

** videos of the scene of the incident (if not a jury view)

** photographs of your client's injuries

** day in the life video

** 3D animation of the incident

** Demonstrations like an expert explaining injuries on a chart. Or waiting a certain

time in order to demonstrate to a jury how long a minute or two is.

Now you have the array of different exhibits, but are they persuasive. Your exhibits have to move with your case and not interrupt it. Are there going to be any objections to the exhibit stoping the flow of your case - are you looking for that to dwell on the exhibit? Ask yourself when you are choosing an exhibit, a document. etc. Will it add credibility? Is the proposed exhibit accurately based upon direct evidence? Does it set out critical but potentially confusing information, such as dates, in an orderly and easy-to-understand fashion? Will any of the jurors find the demonstrative exhibits distracting? Is it worth the cost? Test the proposed exhibit on a non-lawyer who is unfamiliar with the subject matter of the lawsuit.

Mary Quinn Cooper, The Use of Demonstrative Exhibits at

Trial, 34 Tulsa L.J. 567 (1999)

The key in preparing for trial is create an "order of proof." Decide early on when and with what witness will the exhibit come in. Try to come to an agreement with opposing counsel prior to trial regarding exhibits and the admissibility of the same.

When choosing exhibits you should also be prepared that opposing counsel will utilize the exhibits for their own purpose. They will be able to call them up and write on them. So if you choose a backboard they will be able to erase your notes or your experts notes. If you blow up boards they may be able to write on your boards. This must all be considered before you choose to write, print on display electronically.

Whether you decide to prepare exhibits on trial boards, present documents using an Elmo, make an interactive presentation or use a combination of all, APVisuals is prepared to help you in the creation and presentation of said exhibits. We have over 15 years of experience assisting lawyers and law firms in South Florida at mediation and trial. We would love to work with you on your next case. Please call us to discuss how we can help you.


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