I have seen some great law firm litigation graphics departments over the past 20 years. The best was at Howrey, which is where A2L’s second team member and others came from in the mid-1990s. Back then, Howrey’s litigation graphics department was led by an Academy Award-winning artist and producer.
These credentials commanded respect. Litigation graphics were largely a mystery to most lawyers at that time, and I believe that the litigators at Howrey were quite proud of the in-house graphics department. Smartly, it and other divisions of Howrey were separate profit centers. The idea was visionary, but it failed. And it failed long before the firm did.
Having been in the industry for 18 years, I have seen many firms, vendors, and law firm graphics departments fail. I see a pattern in those failures and have come to believe that a law firm graphics department can, at best, only achieve short-term success.
Here are 13 reasons why I believe that in-house law firm litigation graphics/trial graphics/animation departments are mostly doomed for failure:
1. Law firms rarely go to trial. By far the biggest thing working against an in-house trial/litigation graphics department is how rarely it is used. Even the largest law firms only make it all the way to trial maybe a dozen times per year, and that is across 15 or more offices. Even if you imagine that every one of those trials was handled by an in-house team, it’s just not that much work. Contrast that with our firm, which goes all the way to trial 25 to 75 times per year in addition to a lot of related work. More trials equals more meaningful experience.
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