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Editor’s note: We polled members of the tech circuit to discover courtroom technology secrets. Here’s the results. PowerPoint: In the rush to get the latest and greatest presentation software don’t overlook “plain old” Microsoft PowerPoint. Don’t get me wrong, the trial presentation software that’s available these days is powerful but not pricey and there are a ton of consultants all around the country who can train you to use them or help you in court themselves. But Powerpoint is the least expensive and easiest to use tool. It can incorporate not only graphic images but pictures, sound and even video. If you own Powerpoint you may already have all the trial presentation software you need. – Tom O’Connor Digital Cameras: Digital cameras can be used to capture images of documents that can be displayed on a PC projector. Much quicker and more portable than any scanner. – Loren Jones Computers: Read this great informative article full of examples (including sample presentations): “Where the Not-So-Wild Things Are: Computers in the Courtroom, the Federal Rules of Evidence, and the Need for Institutional Reform and More Judicial Acceptance,” by Fred Galves, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, Sacramento, Calif.. See HTML/article.html. – Al Barsocchini Slide Shows: Be sure to keep your slide shows simple and direct. Nothing annoys a judge or jury more than trying to read small type on a screen. Use bullet points and keep the contrast between text and background as distinct as possible. Don’t forget that someone on the jury is likely to be color blind so don’t go crazy with too much color. – Bruce Dorner Integration: One of the greatest new advances in court room presentation is based on the integration between Summation and trial presentation programs like Sanction and TrialDirector. You can now access these trial presentations programs directly from within your Summation case. This means you can use your familiar search techniques to find a document in the Summation document database, and then right click on the document database and display the image in court in Sanction or TrialDirector. From there you can use all of the advanced features these powerful presentation programs offer. – Bruce A. Olson Dual Computers: Always use dual laptops at counsel’s table! Bring one laptop that is your “work machine.” This is the system that you’ll take notes on, have your questions prepared for each witness, run searches in programs like Summation, Concordance and even a document manager’s remote module such as Worldox or iManage. In other words, it’s for your eyes only. For presentations of electronic information to the jury or the court, use a second laptop. On it you might have a trial presentation prepared using programs like TrialDirector from Indata Corp. or Sanction II from Verdict Systems or Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. You might have testimony from prior transcripts available as well, ready for projection on a TV on a rolling stand or via LCD projector on a screen. By using a second laptop, you won’t interfere with your ability to “work the trial” which you’ll do on your first laptop. Duplicate the setup of each laptop on the other. That way, if Murphy’s Law strikes, and one laptop self-immolates the night before trial, you’re ready with a complete, ready-to-use backup. – Ross Kodner Call-Outs: One of the joys of high tech trial practice is the ability to electronically display documents to the judge and jury. Having displayed a document, counsel who are using any of the high-end software display packages can also use on-the-fly “call-outs.” (They can take a portion of the document and enlarge it, so that the judge and jury see key language, isolated and enlarged. Colored highlighting, arrows and other annotation features are also available.) But while highly efficient and persuasive for jurors of all ages, the technology can backfire. Courtroom 21 in Virginia, with funding from the State Justice Institute, recently studied jury room deliberation technology, trying the same case six times (each time to a different jury) using electronic display technology, including call-outs using TrialPro, from Idea Inc. Jurors consistently complained that the evidence either was displayed for too short a time to read the entire document, or that the call-out obscured the full document, making it impossible to read. Jurors thought that the lawyers were intentionally hiding key evidence. As a result, we now suggest that judges advise jurors during the preliminary instructions that “The lawyers will use technology to present evidence to you. When doing so, the lawyers will show you those portions of the evidence they believe to be especially important. However, you will be able to examine all of the evidence during jury deliberations.” – Fredric Lederer K.I.S.S.: Keep it simple and watch the font size. Too many times I have seen attorneys put too much on a slide by using a small type face which is illegible to both the jury and the judge. Not good. Use more slides and use at least 28 point type. – Catherine Pennington Paunov

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