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 divorce trial, People v. Robert Blake murder trial, and a hundreds of high profile, high value and complex civil matters.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

PowerPoint: Still Relevant for Use in Trial?

Since its introduction in 1990, PowerPoint has been used (and abused) by attorneys in countless trials. If you’ve been in trial since then, chances are you’ve seen some “interesting” creations. I know I have. For some excellent suggestions on doing it correctly, see Top Ten Tips for Creating Professional Trial Presentations Using PowerPoint (Ted Brooks), Five Essential PowerPoint Tips for Attorneys (Morgan Smith), and 16 PowerPoint Litigation Graphics You Won't Believe Are PowerPoint (Ken Lopez).

PowerPoint for Court

If you’d like some in-depth help that comes complete with a nice legal-specific set of materials, check out Herb Rubinstein’s PowerPoint for Court. The package includes a recently updated fully-illustrated e-book of over 50 pages covering all of the most important functions of PowerPoint, several helpful software tools, a series of PowerPoint templates, video clips, and animated tutorials. They are currently including 5 years of personal email support, in which they will answer questions, and will even review your slides and offer suggestions on how to improve them. It’s like having your own personal PowerPoint coach.

The program was reviewed by Charles Perez in 2008, where the author had nothing but praise, even admitting to “beginning to sound like an infomercial.” Originally published on the Trial Presentation Blog (which unfortunately no longer exists), the review is still available on the PowerPoint for Court site.

Inserting a video clip

As I was reading through the e-book (PDF document), I found many of the “secret shortcuts” that I work with as a frequent PowerPoint user, including resizing text, jumping to specific slides, and blanking the screen. The CD includes several “courtroom-appropriate” PowerPoint slide templates, some useful Flash animations (and tools to work with them), video clips and audio files (with editing tools).

PowerPoint may not be quite as powerful as some high-end graphics applications like Photoshop or Illustrator for creating content, nor specifically designed for presenting a database of hundreds of trial exhibits like TrialDirector, but in the hands of someone who knows how to find and use the bells and whistles, it can be used to prepare and present some very compelling presentations. At $149, PowerPoint for Court can help put you in that category.

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