This article is part of a series of articles about assessing your trial needs in advance of trial to determine whether you can use internal resources or need to outsource to a Trial Presentation Specialist.
For our full checklist, download the printable pdf here.
Each of these questions is worthy of a longer discussion and debate, but here’s some additional points to guide your discussion and assessment.
- Assess Degree of competency
- Assess Trial Focus/demeanor
- Assess Availability
- Assess Team Fit
- Assess Budget
A. Who is the the best fit for the task?
1. Degree of competency
Make sure to assess the degree of competency for any of the key presentation and software skills needed in trial. See our other articles for the full checklist.
- Have they done a live demonstration for your team
- Has your trial team met them in person to assess demeanor
- Are they Certified in the primary software they are using
- What is the actual experience in the courtroom
- Have you checked their references
- Do they actually have the additional hardware needed for trial
2. Assess Trial Focus/demeanor
As you assess your in-house or outsourced team, make sure to consider the following:
- Are they extremely calm under pressure and trial tested
- Familiar with courtroom etiquette/rules
- 100% reliable and on-time
- Multi-tasker and able to simultaneously track admitted exhibits, load new documents, QC deposition clips, etc..
- Track presented/ admitted exhibits for both sides in real time and generate reports
- Personality/Gender compatibility with trial team. You need zero drama in the war-room or prepping for trial. You know best the personality of your other paralegals, legal assistants and associates. Avoid any possibility of dissent or conflict.
3. Assess Availability
First off, determine who is even available for the trial. Include the dedicated time needed for the run-up to the trial, travel and some time-off immediately after the verdict. Assess your inhouse staff first based on:
- Your inhouse trial person may be on another trial, on vacation or simply unavailable
- Will using another inhouse staff member impact other cases and attorneys in progress
- Can they be away from their desk for extended hours, possibly 10-18 per day
- Can they be away from their desk for multiple days/weeks
- What is their availability before court/after hours in war-room
- Outsourced trial techs generally have a qualified back-up pool of talent available at short notice
Likewise, if you are outsourcing this position, good trial techs are usually notified or on-call weeks or months in advance. However, cases settle all the time and techs sometimes become available at short notice. Reach out to your trusted trial presentation companies as early as possible to help determine the availability of possible techs for your trial. Advance notice is preferred, but good trial techs can spring into action with as little as 24 hours notice and still have time to prepare the trial database, load exhibits and prepare depositions.
4. Assess Team Fit
Assess the dynamic personalities on your team and make sure your in-house resource or outsourced tech will mesh well with the team.
5. Assess Budget
Depending on the case and type of firm [defense or plaintiff] there may be a client, controller, managing partner, board, co-counsel etc who have input on any additional expenses. They may have a preference for no additional people, or prefer to use an in-house person to minimize extra expense. Ultimately, it should be the lead attorney’s call on exactly what they need to achieve the right result in the courtroom. Presumably at this stage of the case, this critical decision is not the biggest one you have made or will make during trial. Use our handy pdf checklist to help clarify your trial needs, assess available expertise in-house vs. outsourced and help justify your decision to anyone else.
Make sure to include in any assessment of expense the opportunity cost of not having a Paralegal or Associate in the office or otherwise available for billing. Also consider the cost of what happens if the technology does not go as planned in trial. It doesn’t look good to the Jury and may cause unnecessary distraction to your case.
- Budget at least $5k+/week for an outsourced trial presentation specialist
For our full checklist, download the printable pdf here. Use this to better assess your in-house resources or use as backup to justify the benefits of outsourcing.
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