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PresentationPro is a purveyor of templates, graphics and tools for building PowerPoint presentations, and Case Presentation System is a thousand dollar program that creates PowerPoint presentations for plaintiff’s trial lawyers. But before reviewing templates and tools, let’s begin with PowerPoint, itself. PUNCTUATING A PRESENTATION We acquired PowerPoint 2000 as part of the popular Microsoft’s Office 2000 Suite. (The “standard” version of Microsoft Office 2000 that includes PowerPoint is less expensive that purchasing PowerPoint alone.) We suspect that most users won’t purchase the Suite because of PowerPoint alone — Microsoft’s word processing and electronic spreadsheet programs offer more compelling reasons — but as long as PowerPoint is available, we might as well use it. Some people can follow a lecture directly from the speaker’s mouth; others prefer some written outline or graphic material to better understand what is being said. PowerPoint lets the user create a “slide show” — directly equivalent to a deck of 35 millimeter photographic slides — to accompany a CLE lecture, a pitch to a potential client or associate, a closing argument to a jury, or to add topic headlines, graphics, sound, still pictures and even motion pictures to just about any presentation that a lawyer might prepare. Typically, a computer is connected to a large display or to a projector that can toss the computer display image to a wall or white screen. If you insist on using a 35 millimeter slide projector, your PowerPoint presentation can be converted to 35 millimeter slides; if you prefer to use overhead transparencies or just to put the presentation on the Web, it can help with that, too. PowerPoint is easy to use when making the presentation, and is even easy to use to create a presentation. We began, as should most novice users, with Microsoft’s AutoContent Wizard. The Wizard first requests the user to choose from among 23 provided “presentation types” and a 24th “generic” entry. These various canned choices select backgrounds, typefaces and layouts deemed suitable to the type of presentation. We decided to create a “Project Overview” presentation and entered a “Presentation Title” and a footer to include on each slide. The Wizard created a presentation consisting of 11 slides, from an initial “Title” slide to a final slide entitled “Related Documents”. Each slide had outline points that describe information that could be placed into the slide; a “Competitive Analysis” slide’s first line is “Competitors” with a note that you may wish to use a separate slide for each competitor. If you have only a couple of competitors you can simply cut that line and replace it with the names of the competitors; if you wish to create a separate slide for each competitor, just click on the “new slide” icon and enter the name and other useful information about the competitor. An outline of the slides, in order, is shown in a narrow frame at the left of the screen; change information in a slide, and the changes are immediately reflected in the outline. If you know how to use typical Windows programs, you won’t have a problem with PowerPoint. Go to the Insert pulldown menu when you want to place a chart, table, movie, still picture, hyperlink or other component into the slide, or the Format pulldown to change things like background color or slide layout. If you decide that the slides could be better presented in a different sequence, just arrange them in a different order. When the presentation is exactly the way you want it, save it, then print each slide, print an outline or notes from the slides, or a handout so that viewers who prefer something on paper can follow your presentation without watching the screen. We don’t guarantee that your presentations will look beautiful or glitzy, but assuming that you know your subject and have used the program’s basic design tools, we do guarantee that the slides will improve your presentation. POWER PRESENTERS If you are neither programmer nor artist and want to add a little glitz to your presentations, surf over to www.presentationpro.comand take a look at the templates, animated titles, 3-D charts and such available for download in the $200 PowerPresenter Plus package. An add-on to PowerPoint lets the user easily select exactly the correct template or special effect and download it for incorporation into a PowerPoint presentation. The basic $100 PowerPresenter package doesn’t include most of the fancy stuff, but still has a lot of template material that will easily improve the look of your PowerPoint creations. (The fees are for one year of access to material on the Web site.) We didn’t notice much that was specific to the law, but there was a lot of material that could easily be adapted to a legal presentation. If you do want law-specific material, the same company sells a program created just for trial lawyers. CASE PRESENTATION SYSTEM Case Presentation System (CPS) is a law-specific PowerPoint Wizard that helps the lawyer create presentations for medmal, product liability and automobile accident cases. The program was designed in conjunction with Atlanta’s Keenan Law Firm. We don’t practice in this area, but decided to create an auto accident presentation. The first slide is a disclaimer for mediation or settlement purposes; the program lets the user choose between two different disclaimers and permits the user to input a custom disclaimer. Next, the user enters plaintiff and defendant names and case number for the “Official Caption.” (Court information cannot be added, nor is the program set up for any but its own caption format. Of course, as the output is a PowerPoint file, the user can later use PowerPoint to set up something that better fits the particular case.) Next is “Plaintiff’s Information.” (The program assumes a single plaintiff.) There is a five-line, 30-character per line area to enter “Biographical Info” about the Plaintiff. A better program would have some sort of automatic word wrap, something that CPS doesn’t offer. If you want to insert a still picture or video of the plaintiff, merely click on an “Insert” button and CPS will set it up for you. Next is a time map: enter events into a 6 hours, 12 hour or 30 day time period and the program will prepare one or a series of slides showing the events and their relationship to each other. We then moved to fields for the beginning and ending times marked “standard of care violation”, and a time and description for the “starting point of irreversible damage”. Following are data fields for “rules of the road” and “exhibit headings”, then places for information about liability and causation experts, contentions of the defense and refuting facts, and dollar amounts for various aspects of special damages, present value of total claimed damages (calculated by the user and not the program), plaintiff demand, defendant offer and scheduled trial date. After running through the prompts, CPS asked if we wanted to save our work, view the presentation, or convert the CPS files to PowerPoint files. After conversion to PowerPoint, we could open PowerPoint, retrieve the file created by CPS, and proceed to edit or rearrange the sequence of existing slides or add new slides. CONSIDERATIONS If you are working with plaintiff medmal, products liability or auto accident matters, and are not sufficiently experienced with PowerPoint to do it yourself, we think that CPS can produce an effective presentation for use in settlement discussions. Many of the slides can be recycled and incorporated into Jury Presentations for the same case, if settlement talks fail. The full package costs $1,000; if you are only interested in the automobile accident module, you can purchase that for $400. Obviously, these costs are minor if they assist in settling or trying an important matter. SUMMARY PowerPoint is an easy to use and powerful way to generate written material or displayed material to underline an oral presentation. PresentationPro Plus provides a one year subscription to a wide variety of backgrounds, titles, templates, 3-D and animated effects for PowerPoint users. The basic package at half the price provides only static and two-dimensional templates, without the fancy stuff. Case Presentation Manager creates PowerPoint presentations to help plaintiff’s lawyers settle medmal, product liability and auto cases. DETAILS PowerPoint 2000 Microsoft, Inc. One Microsoft Way Redmond, WA 98052-6399 Phone: (425) 882-8080 Web: www.microsoft.com/office/powerpoint Case Presentation Manager, Version 1.1 Requires: IBM PC or compatible with 350 MHz or better Pentium processor, 125 Megabytes hard disk space, PowerPoint 97 or better. Web: www.casepresentationsystem.com PowerPresenter Price $99.00, PowerPresenter Plus, $199.00 each for unlimited downloads for one year. PresentationPro, Inc. 3384 Peachtree Road Atlanta, GA 30326 Phone (800) 379-6393 Fax: (404) 266-1831 Web: www.presentationpro.com E-mail: [email protected]

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