Developing Graphics for Litigation? Ask Yourself This Question….

I was recently working on a case with a long time client, when this question popped into my head: Why does this matter?

We were assembling case themes, and subsequent graphics, for his opening presentation and struggling to condense his 55-slide presentation to conform to a 45 minute time limit.  This client is a well-respected orator, so I had no worries that he would be able to persuade the audience with his dialogue, but I was genuinely concerned that he would overwhelm them with his dense visual presentation. As I culled through the slides, trying to find materials that I could cut, I kept asking myself the same question over and over again: Why does this matter?

Knowing that we had to cut this presentation in order to not overwhelm the jury, as well as get our point across, our goal was to strategically eliminate slides that didn’t hold up to the scrutiny of this imperative question.  We have to remember, that our opening presentation isn’t the time to put on our entire case, but rather provide a road map of why were are here, where we are going and how we are going to get there.  These three questions can easily be answered in less than an hour, through engaging your audience with a mix of an oratory and carefully selected visuals.

If the answer to this question is glaringly evident, particularly with your opening presentation, then most likely need to cut whatever it is you’re looking and save it for later, or not at all.  Remember: our goal in opening is to simply lay the foundation of our story in an abbreviated time frame.

It’s no coincidence that as I’m writing this article, a client (partner at a large NYC law firm) emailed regarding a current matter we are working on.  He had reviewed the presentation, created by two associates, and commented “we need to cut this down; the jury will be asleep in under 20 minutes.”  He knew what his associates should have been asking from the start, and if they did, could have saved valuable time, and money, as trial quickly approached.

 

Why does this graphic matter?  Because it combines three case themes, represents critical data and has an immediately recognized takeaway.

So, the next time you are creating your visual presentation for trial, arbitration, meditation or a hearing, don’t forget to ask: Why does this matter?

If you need assistance with this imperative question, feel free to contact me on LinkedIn or at DMykel@VisuaLexLLC.com

 

16 Litigation Graphics Lessons for Mid-Sized Law Firms

litigation graphics mid size law firm

by Ken Lopez
Founder/CEO
A2L Consulting

Over the past three decades, law firms have figured out that litigation best practices include the extensive use of visual aids, the regular use of a trial technician to manage electronic evidence at trial, and the value of conducting one or more mock exercises. Each of these practice areas has developed in response to specific problems that exist in bench and jury trials alike, and there is an art and science (and about a $250 million industry) that exists around litigation consulting.

So, as more large litigation is pushed into midsize firms as a cost containment measure, I notice something interesting. Most midsized firms just don’t know how to use litigation consultants, and what might look like cost savings is going to yield troublesome results later. After all, we figured all of these problems out once in the 1990s, and an industry exists to provide solutions.

So in the spirit of offering the midsized firm, or frankly any firm that is not an AmLaw 50 firm, a solid primer on what’s been learned these past 20 years, I offer the following 16 lessons:

1. Using Litigation Graphics Yields Better Results: It’s beyond “broad scientific consensus,” it’s just a fact, Litigation graphics provide better results. This recent 2013 study on the effect of visual evidence on juries [PDF] does a good job of summarizing the science of litigation graphics.

Read more here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/69374/16-Litigation-Graphics-Lessons-for-Mid-Sized-Law-Firms

Avoid Market Research Mistakes in Your Mock Trial

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:

Market Research Sphere
In a recent piece in Forbes online, Roger Dooley tells his own story of a spectacular market research failure. His company was involved in metal sales and competed in a market with an overall price similarity. Thinking that their product had some quality advantages over the competition, the company wanted to charge a higher price. The market research they did showed that price came in dead last as a concern, with likely customers focused on quality, delivery speed, and customer service instead.

Roger Dooley’s audience for this piece is market researchers, but the critique and the caution applies just as well to those who conduct litigation focus group and mock trial projects. There are definite similarities between the legal pretrial research and the market research fields, since we often use the same recruiters, the same facilities, and have similar goals in testing the public’s reaction to new information.

Read more here:

http://www.persuasivelitigator.com/2013/10/avoid-market-research-mistakes-in-your-mock-trial.html

Is Hiring a Jury Consultant Really Worth It?

by Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.
Expert Jury Consultant

If you are a trial lawyer, would you prefer to know which jurors are going to reject your case after the trial or before?

Why retain a jury consultant before you are ready to pick a jury?  Because you have no control over who shows up and only a limited number of strikes during the jury selection process.  Besides, certain types of jurors are never going to vote your way, no matter what you do. When they reject you, they will do so vehemently (and, if possible, punitively), and they may even take other jurors along for the ride. The only good jury is one that agrees with you, but to know which jurors are on your side requires waiting until the trial is over. Or does it?

You can reliably discover what types of jurors accept or reject your case (through jury profiling) and why they do so..

Read more here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/67513/is-hiring-a-jury-consultant-really-worth-it?source=Blog_Email_%5BIs%20Hiring%20a%20Jury%20Con%5D

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A Trial Consutlant’s Thoughts on Presenting Scientific Concepts

by Chris Dominic

As humans, we have the problem of forgetting what it was like to not know something once we know it. Our overconfidence in our ability to communicate information of this sort has been documented in experiment after experiment. Think about back to before you knew what a hasty generalization was. You probably committed this fallacy often and could not have noticed when others did the same. Try and imagine back before you understood the concept of probability. Did the concept of normal distribution seem like magic, a cult belief, or just like gobbledegook?

So what does this mean for the advocate who has to persuade using scientific evidence as a part of their job?

Read more here:

http://scienceinthecourtroom.com/index.php/guest-commentary/51-christopher-dominic-a-trial-consultants-thoughts

17 Tips for Great Preferred Vendor Programs

by Ken Lopez
Founder/CEO
A2L Consulting

Below, I share some of the best practices as they apply to the selection of a litigation consulting firm based on what I have seen from both law firms and in-house departments recently.

    1. Get bids based on scenario pricing: A major national insurance firm requested a preferred rate for our jury consulting, litigation graphics and trial technology services. However, instead of focusing on the billable hour, they asked for scenario pricing like “one day mock trial, three panels of 12 jurors.”  I thought this was a smart approach, and we can certainly answer similar questions that specify scenarios such a five-day patent trial over two patents with 30 exhibits in the Southern District of New York and no wired courtroom; or a scenario of trial technology only in a three-week trial in the Eastern District of Texas with 20 video depositions.

Try to obtain discounted blended rates for bundles of services:

      Pricing a

mock trial

    is very different from pricing of litigation graphics. For a mock, most of the money spent will be on the facility and the jurors. The professional fees are small in comparison. However, it is possible to blend rates for jury consulting, for litigation graphics consulting and for trial technology services. When asked, we will do it for the entire firm’s set of services, although, it is influenced by the scope of the work to be performed.

Read more here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/66290/17-tips-for-great-preferred-vendor-programs?source=Blog_Email_%5B17%20Tips%20for%20Great%20Pr%5D

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10 Signs of a Good Jury Questionnaire

by Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.
Expert Jury Consultant

A jury questionnaire is distributed to jurors when they arrive for service. More often than not, this is a highly contested document that all parties want to have a voice in crafting. Knowing what to ask for without overreaching is critical since a judge may revert to a default jury questionnaire.

As in any investigation, answers are only as good as the questions. Accordingly, a jury questionnaire should avoid “garbage in/garbage out” like the plague.  I have seen far more bad questions than good ones on jury questionnaires.  The following is a guide to help avoid questionnaires that ask a lot, but answer little by way of useful information and helpful results.

A good jury questionnaire …

  1. Avoids questions that reveal your good jurors.Perhaps the most frequent mistake is asking questions to reveal friends rather than enemies. For example, why should a civil defendant ask, “Do you think there are too many frivolous lawsuits?” or “Do you agree there should be a cap on damages?”  If someone agrees, you have just given your opponent a gift.  You’ve done their job for them and made it easy to target your good jurors for follow-up questions or a strike, whether for cause or a peremptory.

    Instead, target enemies!  For example, better defense questions leave more room to reveal adverse opinions to your side, such as, “Do you believe that if a case gets to court, it must have merit?”

  2. Is based on data, not opinion or past experience alone.

Read more helpful hints here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/65970/10-Signs-of-a-Good-Jury-Questionnaire?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+a2lc+%28The+Litigation+Consulting+Report+from+A2L+Consulting%29

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