5 Signs of a Dysfunctional Trial Team (and What to Do About It)

by Ken Lopez
Founder & CEO
A2L Consulting

Anxiety does strange things to people, especially when they are working together in teams. When they become anxious, a rare few people become more focused and Zen-like. For most people and teams, however high anxiety causes one (or more) of five predictable dysfunctional behaviors to be manifested, of course subconsciously. The anxious person is usually not aware that he or she is behaving in this way.


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This is Why You Should Hire Consultants for Visual Strategy

One of the cardinal sins of presenting is also one of the most (mis)used presentation strategies. Say it with me now, “Bullet Note Script.”

We’ve all suffered through one of these – the presenter has somehow confused the purpose of his slides and that of his notecards, and suddenly we are forced to read the exact words coming out of his mouth. This sensory stereo effect causes glossy eyes and wandering thoughts.

But why? Shouldn’t giving the audience the same information in as many ways as possible maximize their retention?

The reason lies in how the brain processes the information it receives.


Bethany Auck

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The 12 Worst PowerPoint Mistakes Litigators Make

by Ken Lopez
Founder & CEO
A2L Consulting

Some online estimates say that about 30 million PowerPoint presentations are given every day. That number seems more than a bit high, and it’s hard to find a credible source for it.

In the legal community, we give our fair share. Since legal services are about 1% of the total economy, we can make a guess that at least 60,000 PowerPoints are being given every day in the U.S. legal industry, or about 6,000 for every hour of the working day.

PowerPoint has been the dominant presentation software in the courtroom since 2003. When used well in the courtroom, it allows a skilled presenter to captivate an audience with a well told story, enhance the audience’s understanding of a case, and persuade skeptics that the presenter’s position is correct. In other words, a well-crafted PowerPoint presentation helps tip the scales of victory, potentially substantially, in your client’s favor.

Unfortunately, I believe the typical PowerPoint presentation used in the courtroom causes more harm than good. Here are twelve easy-to-avoid PowerPoint mistakes.


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New Communication Trend: Should Jurors Be Allowed to Ask Questions?

Juror innovation has been something that we as consultants have always pushed for since being invited in courtrooms.  The mere fact that our position exists is proof that our judicial procedures need a little updating.  With the Jody Arias trial being on the media forefront, another brilliant, but debated innovation  has been made public: juror questions.  This topic wildly diverges from the traditions set in our courtrooms, but is something that’s gaining traction in modern day trials

The Jury Expert gave us this insight:

Most states leave it up to the individual judges’ discretion to allow jurors to ask questions of witnesses in civil trials, either through case law, statute, or with no specific rule mandating or prohibiting such a practice. As of July 1, Illinois becomes the most recent state to specifically allow juror questions2. According to the National Center for State Courts State of the State Courts survey3, several states, such as Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, and Wyoming, mandate that jurors be allowed to ask questions during civil trials. A number of states, including Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Nebraska, outright prohibit jurors from asking questions of witnesses at trial4.


My personal opinion is that all states should mandate this innovation,  but leave it up to the judge’s discretion as to what questions are admitted.  The Jody Arias trial was a great public example of this innovation, yet also demonstrated the need for judicial intervention.  Even though most of the juror’s questions were genuinely inquisitive and offered insight into where the jury stood, I believe some of them were unnecessary.


More on this story:

The jurors in the highly publicized Jodi Arais case recently submitted to the court over 100 questions for the defendant to answer even after the prosecutor spent days grilling her over every last detail in connection with her self-defense argument. Arizona is one of just three states that allow jurors to pose questions to witnesses after prosecution and defense lawyers have finished their questioning. From the perspective of someone who’s spent some time in the well of the courtroom, I wish New York judges would in the interest of justice, allow jurors to pose additional questions of the witnesses in civil cases even if one side objects to the practice.


This Week’s Litigation Graphics Lesson

Regardless of your politics, and whether you believe that the widening gulf between the poor and super-rich is a serious problem or mere propaganda of the Occupy Movement, I hope you’ll watch this video because it’s a fantastic example of how to show data in an effective and engaging way. In particular, if you’re an attorney who presents cases with large amounts of economic facts and figures, you’ll want to see how this video combines storytelling with clean, simple and powerful data visualization techniques.


Full article by Morgan Smith here: