24 Mistakes That Make For a DeMONSTERative Evidence Nightmare

Posted by Ken Lopez

demontrative evidence demonsterative halloween demonsteritive evidence

Demonstrative evidence is a general term for evidence introduced in litigation that is neither spoken testimony nor “real” evidence like an actual murder weapon. Demonstrative evidence is introduced in order to make evidence and facts in a case easier for the judge or jury to understand.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid.

  1. Waiting until it is too late. From the very beginning, plan your case with an eye toward its presentation to a jury. See our article on using a dual-track strategy in trial preparation.
  2. Cheating on your charts. There are many ways to lie using charts, including axis changes, using logarithmic scales, cherry picking data, and much more. These “black-hat” techniques are not only inappropriate but if you get caught, they are likely to draw sanctions or worse.

Read more here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/60819/24-Mistakes-That-Make-For-a-DeMONSTERative-Evidence-Nightmare

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

An Infographic Lesson for Litigators

God's Curse SlaveryWe recommend to our readers a recent New Yorker article by Gareth Cook entitled Why Abraham Lincoln Loved Infographics. Cook’s New Yorker article discusses Lincoln’s “slave map” as an early example of an infographic.

Infographics—such as maps and charts that visualize data—are a powerful communication tool for litigators. As Cook explains, infographics take “information that is not easy for us to absorb … and put it into a form … that the brain can interpret with speed.”

Litigators can and should use infographics as a way to show patterns and suggest conclusions that would be hard to glean from presenting pages of numbers from spreadsheets. For example, by showing patterns of data, an infographic can lead an audience to a conclusion….

Read more here:

http://cogentlegal.com/blog/2013/10/infographics-lessons-civil-war/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CogentLegalBlog+%28Cogent+Legal+Blog%29

Simplify and Emphasize in Litigation Graphics

By

Rendering dropwise addition photo

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

Show You’re Sorry, Even When You’re Not at Fault

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:

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When someone causes you some kind of harm, say they step on your foot, they’ll say “I’m sorry.” When you’ve experienced some kind of misfortune or loss, like a death in the family, people will again say, “I’m sorry.” In that latter example, they aren’t (we presume) admitting that they had anything to do with the death. In the first example, “sorry” means “I wish I hadn’t done that.” In the second example, “sorry” means “I recognize your loss.” Two different acts that just happen to share the same word, “sorry.” As we’ve noted before, letting jurors, judges, and opposing parties hear an apology can be effective when you are responsible, or are likely to be found responsible, for at least part of the damage at issue in the case. But what about when you’re not? Does that second kind of “sorry,” meaning “I recognize your loss, but without accepting responsibility for it” create a persuasive advantage as well?

According to some new research, yes, it does. Calling them “superfluous apologies,”…

Read more here:

http://www.persuasivelitigator.com/2013/10/show-youre-sorry-even-when-youre-not-at-fault.html

Witness Tip: Anxiety is the #1 Barrier Affecting Communication

By Merrie Jo Pitera, Ph.D.

There are communication stumbling blocks to any public speaking event, be it speaking in front of a group of people or testifying during deposition or at trial. Each comes with its own level of stress and anxiety for anyone and for a variety of reasons. Understanding the source of a person’s anxiety can help a witness begin to keep his fears at bay (they really never go away) and focus on the content of his testimony. The potential sources for anxiety listed below are certainly common

Read more here:

http://www.litigationinsights.com/witness-preparation-2/witness-tip-anxiety-is-the-1-barrier-affecting-communication/

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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Attorneys’ Analogies Are A Lot Like My In-laws Dancing At Weddings (Or, Your “Metaphor” Is Actually A Simile)

By Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D.

If there is a complex issue that jurors need to understand, I’m a fan of identifying communication strategies that help jurors understand the issue directly, rather than understanding what the issue is “kind of like.” Visual communication should always be the first resort in this scenario. Graphics can simplify an issue much more effectively than analogies and can often do so in a more persuasive manner, while avoiding the risks that analogies and metaphors present. A graphic is not just a pretty picture; it is visual advocacy. Effective graphics break an issue down into understandable parts, capture the logical flow of the issue, and show jurors how it fits perfectly within the legal framework of the case. This is where the slideshow style of PowerPoint can be particularly helpful. It’s not just one picture but a progressive series of pictures that tie multiple items together in a simple and persuasive manner that both motivates and arms jurors to be effective advocates on complex issues during deliberations.

Bottom line, it’s time to put the brakes on the use of analogies and metaphors by attorneys at trial. My aunt-in-law Josephine’s dancing is amusing because we only have to witness it every few years. The same can be said about attorneys’ use of metaphors and analogies: they are best when used sparingly or not at all.  There are many better routes to persuasion that metaphors, and each one starts with visual communication.

 

Read more here:

http://soundjuryconsulting.com/blog/?p=85

wedding dancing

TED Talks – Elizabeth Loftus: The Fiction of Memory

Memory is a remarkable and fragile phenomenon. Or so says Elizabeth Loftus, a researcher and psychologist whose TED talk is the basis for this blog post.

Memory is an important component of our lives as actors and performers and certainly an important part of the lives of lawyers and their witnesses. Attorneys rely on their clients and their witnesses for memories of events, contracts, their actions and the actions of all the folks who are a part of the trial story. For many years, the research has shown that eyewitness testimony can be remarkably UNRELIABLE. Elizabeth Loftus in this enlightening talk expands on this through her own research.

Read more here:

http://legalstage.com/2013/10/03/ted-talks-elizabeth-loftus-the-fiction-of-memory/