6 Trial Presentation Errors Lawyers Can Easily Avoid

by Ken Lopez
A2L Consulting

In our view, many common techniques that lawyers use in making courtroom trial presentations actually represent very common errors.

“Error” is a strong word, since trial presentation skills and techniques are not an exact science. However, every litigator and courtroom professional should know that there is a strong body of evidence that supports the idea that these approaches are less desirable and likely to be less effective.

Don’t Split the Audience’s Attention..

Read more here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/59802/6-Trial-Presentation-Errors-Lawyers-Can-Easily-Avoid

trial presentation errors mistakes avoid

How Does the Modality Effect Play a Role in Litigation Graphics?

Here’s a great article, recommended from a colleague, about how the modality effect works in multimedia learning.  If you’re a litigator in the 21st century, this is a must read.

Abstract:

The modality effect is a central issue in multimedia learning [see Mayer (Cambridge University Press, 2005a), for a review]. Sweller’s Cognitive Load Theory (CLT), for example, presumes that an illustrated text is better understood when presented visually rather than orally.

This article also widens the scope of the analysis of moderator variables (e.g. Pace of presentation, Type of visualization, Research group) as well as their potentially confounded effects. Finally, it is argued that, for theoretical reasons, the so-called modality effect cannot be based on Penney’s or Baddeley’s theories and must be explained in a different way.

See the entire article here: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10936-011-9180-4

Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

Simplify and Emphasize in Litigation Graphics

By

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In oral argument, a litigator has very limited time—she needs to hit the high points and move on. She must communicate enough information to convince the judge or jury of her argument, yet must avoid getting mired in details that will only confuse.

Good litigation graphics can counter this time crunch by allowing an attorney to communicate clearly and quickly. The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” reflects the truth that our brains quickly process and understand images.

To support an argument, graphics should be tightly tied to the key points of the advocate’s message.

Read more here:

http://cogentlegal.com/blog/2013/10/simplify-emphasize-in-litigation-graphics/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CogentLegalBlog+%28Cogent+Legal+Blog%29

Know the Difference Between Debate and Trial Advocacy

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:

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There is a tendency, particularly within law, to equate argumentation and persuasion: How do you persuade? By offering arguments, of course. But that isn’t all of it, or even necessarily the half of it. You win the argument when your point cannot be refuted, but you persuade only when your target is convinced. Over the years, most formats of academic debate have clearly chosen argument over persuasion. No self-respecting debate judge would admit that they are siding with the winner because they more fully understand and accept that side’s advocacy. Instead they will say, often in excruciating detail…

Read more here:

http://www.persuasivelitigator.com/2013/10/know-the-difference-between-debate-and-trial-advocacy.html

Don’t Use PowerPoint as a Crutch in Trial or Anywhere

by Ryan H. Flax

The goal of a presentation is always the same — to engage the audience, to move them.  This rule of thumb holds true regardless of the stage. It’s so in the courtroom, on the floor of the U.S. Congress, in the boardroom, and in the classroom. Litigators engage a jury to win their case for their client; professors engage their students so that they can best teach the subject matter. Engagement leads to better understanding, which then leads to better retention and enhanced persuasiveness. Retention and understanding are the keys to success.

As a student of presentation technique, I was especially lucky over the last summer to have two terrific sources of experiential information on the subject and a good deal of insight in to what works and what does not.  My sources were Ms. Shawn Estrada and Ms. Jessica Dunaye, two of our summer interns at A2L, who have some pretty specific thoughts about presentation style after having sat through over 2,000 lectures from many, many professors and students throughout their college careers. After having spent a summer with A2L, learning first-hand how great litigators operate and now they are counseled themselves by litigation and jury consultants, they strongly believe that the litigation presentation techniques espoused by the A2L team are relevant in many aspects of life.

Here are some of the interesting tidbits from these two.  They had so much to offer, I’ve divided their points into a series of articles.

Read more here: http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/68012/dont-use-powerpoint-as-a-crutch-in-trial-or-anywhere?source=Blog_Email_%5BDon%27t%20Use%20PowerPoint%5D

 

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Consider How You Come Across With the Volume Off

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:

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We know communication is visual and not just verbal. But when litigators think of that, they tend to think of demonstrative exhibits and technology. But what about themselves? As a speaker, you’re making a visual impression as well. Most know the basics: stand up straight, look the jury or judge in the eye, use a few gestures. But in practice, attorneys want to expect that in court, content is king and what we say matters more than how we look when we say it. But some surprising research shows that more than we expect is coming through the visual channel.

The studies use the technique of asking research participants to assess a communicator without the aid of sound. Watching a music competition with the sound off, for example, (Tsay, 2013) both amateur and professional musicians were able to correctly predict the competition winners, and did so at a level that was better than those who heard and those who both heard and saw the performance. Similarly, experimental participants unfamiliar with the candidates were able to identify the election winner after simply watching ten-second silent video clips of a gubernatorial debate (Benjamin & Shapiro, 2009). As with the music competition research, turning the sound on tended to worsen the accuracy.

 

Read more here:

http://www.persuasivelitigator.com/2013/09/consider-how-you-come-across-with-the-volume-off.html

Will Being Folksy and Low-Tech Help You Win a Case?

by Ken Lopez
Founder/CEO
A2L Consulting

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“I generally delegate the preparation of litigation graphics, and I tend to keep things pretty low-tech anyway.”

To be fair, this is the way cases have been tried for a very long time, and the partner had had a great deal of success with this approach. So, what’s wrong?

What’s wrong is that jurors’ expectations have changed enormously in just the last few years. Jurors expect a trial presentation to be polished and more like the nightly news than like a corporate PowerPoint. They expect a trial lawyer to be polished and well-practiced, more like Brian Williams than a dull CLE presenter. This rural Arkansas jury said it better than I ever could when they responded to a question about the use of trial technology by saying, “Today is technology. That’s what it’s all about.”

Read more here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/67259/will-being-folksy-and-low-tech-help-you-win-a-case?source=Blog_Email_%5BWill%20Being%20Folksy%20an%5D