COURT TECHNOLOGY AND TRIAL PRESENTATION

The Court Technology and Trial Presentation Blawg features articles, reviews and news of interest to lawyers and other legal professionals. This blog is published by Ted Brooks, a Trial Presentation and Legal Technology Consultant, Author and Speaker. Ted's trial experience includes the Los Angeles Dodgers McCourt divorce trial (with David Boies), People v. Robert Blake murder trial (with M. Gerald Schwartzbach), and a large number of high profile, high value and complex civil matters.

All materials © 2014 Ted Brooks, unless otherwise indicated.

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Los Angeles Dodgers Divorce Trial (Technology)

12/7/2010 UPDATE: TEAM JAMIE GETS THE "W"


No hesitation in adding this $450 MM high-profile win to my résumé, working with David Boies, Dennis Wasser, Bruce Cooperman, Mike Kump, and the rest of Team Jamie. Litigation-Tech provided trial presentation consulting, evidence management (TrialDirector databases), and graphics. This case involved long hours and very hard teamwork – a simple formula that I’ve consistently experienced in any big trial win. Congratulations and Happy Holidays, Jamie!

While I’m not at liberty to offer any inside information, I will say that working with the likes of David Boies and Jim Miller (Boies, Schiller & Flexner), Dennis Wasser and Bruce Cooperman (Wasser, Cooperman & Carter), Michael Kump (Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert), and the rest of Jamie McCourt’s dream-team is a real treat.

Ross Baron (formerly with Merrill) and I were contacted by Wasser Cooperman paralegal Mary Yates and subsequently retained to provide evidence management, war room support and trial presentation. Ross has been handling most of the prep, while I have been in the “hot seat” in court during the trial. This is an incredibly interesting trial, with an incredibly talented and dedicated team of professionals.

With one week in the books, we have a little pause in the action until the trial resumes, so I wanted to at least post something on the blawg, as it has been a few weeks. It’s funny how work can quickly push lesser priorities off the road.

I will not discuss the case, but I will share an interesting experience regarding trial presentation and technology. Once the doors are opened to the courtroom, the proceedings get rolling quickly. Typically, we might have at least 30 minutes or so to get everything online and test the system. On Wednesday, the doors opened at 1:30 after lunch, and Boies resumed his examination of Frank McCourt by 1:35. I had a little “issue” with my trial presentation laptop (which I had brought with me during lunch), causing me to jump to my backup laptop (which had remained in the courtroom, ready to go) and flip the switch to quickly bring up the requested exhibit. Fortunately, I had the backup in place (which, by the way, is an excellent example of why we always have backup systems in court). There is simply no good excuse for failure in this business – especially in high-profile matters. After a few stressful moments, I was able to bring the primary laptop back online, and take a deep sigh of relief. The best part of this is that nobody else even realized that anything had gone wrong (except perhaps those who were sitting nearby). While some smaller cases might allow counsel to handle their own technology, there is certainly a limit with respect to the inherent risks in dealing with it. That stated, it is generally a better idea for an attorney to focus on examining the witness and let someone else worry about the presentation of exhibits.

Incorporating technology into your trial presentation can help significantly in speeding up the pace of the presentation of evidence, since there is no delay in making sure everyone is on the same page – and this is even more important in a bench trial. Exhibits are displayed immediately as they are identified on the record during a bench trial (and, of course once authenticated and/or admitted into evidence in a jury trial). This is one reason successful law firms and their clients insist on bringing all available tools and resources to trial.

Electronic evidence presentation can also help in getting the message out visually, allowing counsel to simply call out an exhibit number and page, and then mention for the record where the witness should look on that page. The exhibit is then brought to life by zooming in and highlighting key text using TrialDirector or similar software. This is particularly effective when discussing documents with the witness, which might otherwise by extremely dull and boring to the observer.

While trial presentation technology may not be able to turn a bad case into a good one, it can certainly help in getting the evidence presented in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

For additional news and views about this case, check out http://www.dodgerdivorce.com/, http://www.laweekly.com/search/index?keywords=mccourt&x=0&y=0, and, of course, most any local L.A. news source.

Ted Brooks, President
Litigation-Tech LLC
"Enhancing the Art of Communication" Member, American Society of Trial Consultants
Certified inData TrialDirector Trainer
415-291-9900  San Francisco
http://trial-technology.blogspot.com/
WINNER: LAW TECHNOLOGY NEWS AWARD FOR MOST INNOVATIVE USE OF TECHNOLOGY DURING A TRIAL

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for the interesting post and great advice on having a backup. I am curious. Is the court reporter(s) writing realtime for the attorneys and judge?

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  2. Yes, we are receiving real-time transcript feed in this trial. When available, it is very helpful in immediately reviewing how a witness has just testified, and also later that evening in preparation for the next day.

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  3. You are absolutely right! A back up system is crucial and we always have one in the court room as well.

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  4. I appreciate the post.

    If you've ever gone to court with a trial lawyer who is ready with a quality presentation and you're sitting there will your "stacks" of papers, you appreciate very quickly the use of technology. The cost/value of cases sometimes keep lawyers from using technology as well as the fact that many cases are not really prepared until right before the trial.

    I've always had a purpose of putting the case together from the very start as if I'm going to trial. Then if I don't I'm relieved. I find that it gives me a much better command of the facts and as a result, better representation for the clients.

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