Leveraging Technology Before Trial
The use of technology and exhibits before and during trial. (Part One)
Never has the risk associated with litigation been so high, for plaintiffs and defendants alike. In years past, trial lawyers were seen as metaphoric “Old West” gunslingers, fresh off the horse – nothing but six-shooters in hand and ready for an impromptu duel in the courtroom. Much like the real “Old West” gunslingers, they are a thing of the past. The successful trial lawyers of today are more akin to modern combat generals: deploying an array of tactics, technology and resources to ensure their victory in the courtroom.
But now these master tacticians have expanded the battlefield; it’s not just fought in the courtroom anymore. Litigation technically begins the moment a matter is initiated in court, but the formation of a winning litigation plan begins far before that. Today, lawyers are seeking support early in the game, enlisting the help of companies such as Trial Exhibits Inc, that specialize in Mock Trials/Focus Groups, Witness Preparation, Medical Illustrations and Animation, Electronic Trial, 3D Animations, Graphics/Timelines, Legal and Day-In-The-Life Videos, Aerial Photography and Trial Boards to strategize for arbitration, mediation, or other pre-trial services, rather than waiting for trial.
As the use of technology and exhibits has pervaded the courtroom and filtered throughout the entire litigation process, Trial Exhibits, Inc. has been on the cutting edge of new techniques. For example, Trial Exhibits often conducts a series of focus groups during early development of a case to help identify the major case themes. During focus group research, attorneys are able to identify trouble-spots, test presentation strategies, evaluate witnesses, develop their story, and ready themselves – and their cases – for battle. It is in this environment that lawyers are able to display customized exhibits that will be used in trial, run electronic presentations, and test reactions to 3d animations in front of focus group participants. Frequently this information is used in the formation of a settlement package or mediation strategy.
Speaking of settlement negotiations and packages – another tactic and use of technology that is on the rise – is the implementation of graphics, animations and exhibits in a pre-bundled presentation for dissemination to the opposing side. In the past, a simple demand letter was sent to opposing counsel or a quickly typed-out counter-proposal was submitted, and both sides viewed the process as a formality. Now it is common for companies like Trial Exhibits to design complete multimedia presentations and electronic materials for attorneys to serve upon the opposing litigants.
Ten years ago, the use of electronic presentations and exhibits in mediation was relatively sparse. Today, full blown multimedia presentations are conducted during mediation. Because companies like Trial Exhibits are brought into the litigation early in the process, they are able to design graphics and animations, videotape depositions, prepare witnesses, produce a “day-in-the-life” video and build a virtual arsenal, allowing the attorney to plant the cross-hairs on the opposition – and fire away. So, with a considerable technological upgrade, perhaps our “Old West” gunslinger still has a few bullets left in his six-shooter.
These are only some of the current advances in modern litigation. In the following series, we will share with you more pre-trial trends, including the use of new technologies during trial, as well as a glimpse of what the future will hold in leveraging technology for litigation.