Modern courtrooms are being outfitted with some of the latest display and sound technology available: theater-sized projection screens, fully high-definition video monitors, streaming video capability, multi-speaker stereo systems, and even surround-quality audio. Yet for every high-tech court, attorneys must face juries in rooms equipped with only tables and chairs, standard electrical jacks and display easels. And despite the blanket penetration of computing technology and WiFi—95% of Americans now own a mobile device—we still deal with problems connecting devices together for trials.
Here are three ways attorneys can handle such technical hurdles to making their cases.
Preparation before presentation
Preparation is essential when providing visual information to a jury. There is no substitute for diagrams, medical drawings, floor plans, line drawings and other visual aids to help reduce the complexities inherent in technical testimony.
Prior to trial, make sure to book time for your paralegal or other assisting staff to quickly test and mark down the location of sockets, servers, hardware connections and other equipment they will need to access for your presentation. Have them note what connections are needed, and prepare cables for each type. It can be helpful to bundle cables for a single location together with colored washi tape, electrical tape or twist ties, and then coiling them together as one unit when packed. Clearly label the package, so that plugging them is a snap.
Test your presentation delivery in short, mock trial set-ups, with different team members if possible, so that every member of your team is ready to step in and operate the presentation without missing a step if necessary.
Most importantly of all, practice “undocking” your laptop from your presentation—even if you don’t have to physically detach a cable, but only have to pick up your device. Having the presentation in slide show mode on your computer’s display, and holding it up close to the jurors for them to see up close, can underline an emotional pitch or serious point of consideration. The doubling of the presentation and image—one large and farther away, one up close and personal—will serve as a milestone moment a juror won’t soon forget.
Practice with your tools
A laptop, tablet or 2-in-1 (a laptop that converts to a tablet) equipped with a touch screen is especially helpful when presenting, as you don’t have to sit, bend from the waist or hold a remote in your hand to interact with the screen. The act of swiping and tapping confidently through a presentation can lend weight to your conveyance of trust, truthfulness and respectfulness to the topic at hand.
Swiping and tapping motions in a casual manner can become ingrained, however, with all the games and apps we use at home. So take the time to practice giving your presentation, and moving through it, in front of an audience who can critique you. It will prove valuable once you are in court with only one chance to make a difference to the outcome for your client.
If you have a device that includes a pen stylus, you will have the added rhetorical power of circling, marking out, or otherwise drawing and writing directly onto images and objects found in your slides. Once again, with the doubling effect mentioned above, and the ability to move your arms and hands in service of your argument, the combination of gestures, voice and images will help “bookmark” the moment in the minds of your juries.
Secure the right technology
There is no doubt that having the best technology is a strategic advantage in the courtroom. The best laptops can do all the hard work of desktops in sleek, lightweight packages due to today’s new super-thin silicon chips, highly advanced multi-core processors, discrete graphic cards and more.
But a great laptop is not only about the tech, believe it or not. Ergonomics, visual clarity, audio and security count for a whole lot as well. Finally, style makes a statement. An advanced laptop that can run all day without overheating, move between applications without missing a step, and presents a sleek, contemporary profile, enhances your image as well as your argument.
Exclusively for ABA Members
Lenovo offers its best-selling ThinkPads, the laptop that changed how businesses do business, in lightweight models that also boast rugged specifications, classic style and flexible displays. To better serve today’s legal professionals, Lenovo also offers the new YOGA, a device that is simply like no other computing machine around. Available as a tablet or 2-in-1 with a 360-degree hinge, the YOGA uses the same design found in luxury metal watchbands to flex its display to any angle you desire.
Besides its agility, YOGA offers stunning design, configurable specifications in some models, and an optional Active Pen stylus that works almost exactly like your favorite ballpoint, among much more. Visit lenovo.com/aba to shop for yours today.