Effective trial presentation is an art, and litigators should use every effective tool at their disposal to practice and hone that art. But when the techniques call attention to themselves is when “art” becomes “artiface.” Some would point to this example and say, “See! This is what happens when litigators wed themselves to PowerPoint and other presentation crutches in opening and closing.” But the problem in this case is not the use of visuals and PowerPoint, but the way they’re used. As with anything that happens in a courtroom, graphics in trial need to be used by attorneys with some good sense and some taste. The “goofery” this juror, Jean Black, perceived got me thinking about the larger point: What are the conditions for the sane and responsible use of imagery in courtroom presentations? So drawing from this example, and also going a bit beyond it, here is my quick list of the top ten commandments for trial graphics.
By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:
Find the commandments here: