Don’t Let This Little Word Cause a Big Problem in Your Next Presentation

By: David Mykel

There is a very small word that sometimes creates a big problem in today’s litigation graphics: Rag. “Rag” is the term for the uneven edge of text in a paragraph when it is unjustified, i.e., aligned on only the left or right margin, like the way the text on this web page is aligned on the left. The difference is that web design doesn’t give many options for adjusting text rag. There are four basic variations of text alignment to choose from in typography: left-aligned, right-aligned, justified, and centered. When creating litigation graphics, one should always use a left aligned rag. Many of our clients ask us why, and the simple answer is that English is read from left to right – so left justified text is inherently easier to read. If you want confirmation of this, ask yourself the last time you read a novel that had centered or right-aligned text. 

GoodRagExample_on

Figure 1: Example of a good rag.

 

The rag is probably one of the most overlooked details in litigation graphics, yet its flow can make or break the look and feel of your presentation. A common mistake is that most presenters rely on whatever rag Microsoft Office decides to give them, which leads to incomplete thoughts, awkward spacing, and a frustrated audience. Our goal when writing descriptive text for our presentations should always be to convey our message in the most clear and persuasive way possible. An effective way to accomplish this is by using proper rags. What is the difference between good rag and bad rag? A good rag maintains a word flow that places importance on giving paragraphs pleasing shapes and where the line breaks go in and out in modest increments, while keeping important phrases intact. Each line holds its own weight and structure, standing on its own to make a point. Not that each line has to make a complete point, but if the reader is to only read that line, the words will all share the same context. Massaging a rag for the most pleasing presentation possible also entails such mundane considerations as keeping technical phrases, dates, full names and bolded or emphasized text intact for the best possible comprehension. No computer program can do these things effectively; it requires training, patience and a practiced eye.

BadRagExample_on  

Figure 2: Example of a bad rag. Distracting shapes can detract from your message.

A bad rag creates distracting shapes of irregular white space in the margins and/or column where line breaks are varied and inconsistent. The sentence lines frequently break the author’s thoughts and points, requiring the audience to frequently scan up and down between the lines to follow the message.

At VisuaLex, one element that clients have become accustomed to expecting is our painstaking attention to detail. Not only do we “make the complex clear,” but we also make it simple, by paying attention to things that our audience may not pick up on, but will certainly appreciate. In our Precision Points newsletter, we bring to light some of these important differences that separate us from our competition, and identify those things that you want and need in your presentation, but didn’t think about. This is the VisuaLex difference, and it is why some of the most prominent litigators continue to partner with us.

You can also view the article here: http://www.visualexllc.com/PrecisionPointsJul13/PrecisionPoints.html

Making Good Use of Trial Director & Demonstratives in an Arbitration

Posted by Ken Lopez

TrialDirector, a trial presentation software package produced by InData, is an indispensable aid to the presentation of electronic and other evidence at trial. There is a reason why this product has claimed the majority of the market share for trial presentation software for more than 10 years: It can actually make it interesting for a jury or other fact-finder to listen to a witness testify about corporate balance sheets, long-ago emails, and other documents that can be fatally boring and lose the attention of the fact-finder.

trial director technology presentation

Read more here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/51467/Making-Good-Use-of-Trial-Director-Demonstratives-in-an-Arbitration

The 5 Biggest Issues in Patent Law Right Now

by Ryan H. Flax, Esq.
Managing Director, Litigation Consulting
A2L Consulting

The field of patent law, like all other areas of the law in the U.S., is constantly in flux and is constantly being refined or even rewritten by the courts and the lawmakers.  Even more so than most other areas of law this is true for patent law because, if for no other reason, there are so many nuances to it and so many different complimentary and competing doctrines within the greater label of “patent law.”

patent litigation law issuesTo make matters more volatile, patent practitioners have two courts to deal with in terms of those believing they’re the last word on the relevant law: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.

So, recently there have been some interesting issues evolving in patent law.  Here’s a brief review to keep everyone up to date.

1. Trolls – slaying the beast under the bridge

patent trolls litigationThe most frequent patent news as of late relates to newly proposed legislation to make it less attractive for non-practicing entities

Read more here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/68746/the-5-biggest-issues-in-patent-law-right-now?source=Blog_Email_%5BThe%205%20Biggest%20Issues%5D

Follow the Ten Commandments of Graphics Use in Trial

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:

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A recent blog post written by a juror in the trial of Jim Fayed, a gold trader convicted of arranging the brutal murder of his estranged wife in a Los Angeles parking garage, included some rather colorful descriptions of the prosecutor’s use of demonstrative graphics:

…And then there were the assistant DA’s unnecessarily omnipresent PowerPoint slides. 

Here are some actual quotes:
.
“If Jim Fayed didn’t do it, who did? BATMAN?” Click: Batman slide.
.
“The defense is offering you a buffet of explanations.” Click: buffet slide.
….

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

Read more here:

http://www.persuasivelitigator.com/2013/03/follow-the-ten-commandments-of-graphics-use-in-trial.html

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

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