You may not know exactly what trial presentation techniques are possible or you may use in trial. Here’s a basic list of functionality your trial tech should be familiar with if they are using the right trial presentation software. Most of these are not possible with Adobe Acrobat or video players alone.
For our full checklist of assessing your trial needs, download the printable pdf here.
1. What trial exhibit presentation skills do you need?
a. Trial Presentation Software [TrialDirector or OnCue]
Select from the following list what basic techniques you may want to use. The individual you use will need to be very comfortable and fast with using specialized trial presentation software to perform any of the following basic actions on the fly:
- Pulling up a pdf/tiff/jpeg/png image within 1 second
- Zooming into specific text or images
- Calling out specific and multiple paragraphs in a complex document
- Enlarging text in multi-column or page documents or spreadsheets
- Creating side by side comparison image views from different exhibits
- Redacting exhibits
- Saving marked up documents as separate exhibit # or to present later
- Preserving all annotated exhibits for the record from both sides
- Save markups from portable Elmo
- Play/stop/pause/replay/edit video
- Play/stop/pause/replay/edit depo clips with synced text
- Play/stop/pause/replay/edit depo clips with synced exhibits
- Play/stop/pause/replay/edit audio
b. Other Software Skills needed
Most exhibits or demonstratives should already be in mpeg, pdf, jpg or tiff formats, and can be handled by your trial presentation software, but often you may have other file types that you will need to present [or arrive from opposing counsel or even your own experts at the last minute]. Your trial person should be expert at this software . If so your trial person will need to be very familiar with the advanced functions of the program for maximum speed in the war-room or courtroom and most importantly so everything looks smooth and professional to the judge and jury.
- Adobe Acrobat -You may get a huge oversized pdf that needs to be downsized for fast presentation. Or maybe you have OCR’d all your pdf documents and need to search for some specific text across thousands of pages. Maybe you want to make sure you have stripped all the annotations, markeups or metadata from a PDF or other file. Maybe you want to quickly redact or change Trial exhibit numbers or create a new exhibit n the fly?
- PowerPoint – Do you want to jump to various slides in an opening/closing or expert presentation? Do you want to embed a video or depo clip at the last minute or make changes based on opposing counsel objections? Do you have a complex animation created by a 3rd party or associate and need to modify a label buried in a slide?
- Excel – Is it court ready? Do you need to zoom into a specifc cell or hide a series of columns or rows to make presentation more effective? Do you need to literally create a running checklist and totals in front of the jury of expenses or values based on expert or witness testimony.
- Video Editing software – Need to modify a clip at the last minute in court or the war-room the night before. Do you need a title slide added or an exhbit # added to the start of the clip? Do you need to print out a hi-res screenshot of a specific frame. Do you need to go to slow-motion mode to truly help the jury understand what happened?
- Word – Is there complex formatting that needs to be modified during trial or a custom header added to a document before printing?
- Exhibit stamping [batch 100+ docs/1000 pages+] – Do you have 100+ exhibits that need trial exhibit # added automatically on every page. Is there a specific sticker the federal court mandates is on every page.
- Other Software – Maybe you have some proprietary MRI or other film files that need to be presented in court? Custom 3D modelling files that an expert needs to demonstrate a product?
Many of these software proficiencies may not be needed at all, so focus on the core competencies: typically, 80-90% of a trial tech’s time in court will be spent on pulling up pdf exhibits fast, zooming in, and highlighting key phrases or excerpts. However, it’s invariably that problem that only comes up one time in every trial [system crash, cable malfunction, excel spreadsheet exhibit, extra depo clip, last minute exhibit etc.] that really tests the tech in front of the judge and jury. Hopefully this is a starting point for a more detailed discussion and assessment of your in-house and outsourced needs.
Check out our other blogs for some more assessment questions prior to trial:
Lastly, what could go wrong!
Most trial techs have been in trials where one side had an efficient, smooth, professional delivery of evidence. The jury could see key facts clearly and the attorney was able to move confidently through various documents with precision and clarity.
Conversely, opposing counsel was slow to find documents, unable to zoom in correctly, used an ELMO to wave out of focus images across the screen, had a laptop malfunction or freeze, presented exhibits to the jury before they were approved by the judge and had images that were too wide for the projector screen. The Jurors smiled politely and took notes.
At TrialSupport, our trial techs do this for a living, 12 months out of the year, in a wide variety of wired and non-wired courtrooms, so are as prepared as possible for what happens during trial. We cannot try your case for you, but we can certainly help you effectively present evidence to the judge and jury, and free you up to focus on the other moving variables of trial.
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.
Got questions? Contact us here 24/7/365.