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, March 1, 2010

Opinion: Trial Presentation Symposium was a Success

I was invited to write and present some of the course materials at the 2nd Trial Presentation Symposium (Certificate Program) in Miami this past weekend by the NCRA's CLVS Section.

Although there may be some room for improvement and refinement, overall, the program, in my opinion, was a very well-presented weekend, focusing on many of the basics of trial presentation. We also touched on a few advanced topics, and there are already plans in the works for an advanced Certified Trial Technician course. This may take awhile, but they are leading us in the right direction. We also enjoyed presentations by TrialDirector and Visionary, each showcasing their latest and greatest versions.

Attendance was at capacity for the room, which had to be changed due to the demand. This is a clear indication that there is a need for this type of program. Attendees even included a few experienced Trial Technicians whom I've known for years. With so many winging it and coming up with so many different methods of doing things, it is a great thing that we are finally working together to come up with some best practices and standards, and eventually a certification that can help ensure a client that their trial tech is not simply a trainee with 2 or 3 trials under their belt, after having closed the deal by sending in a slick salesperson to get the case in the door. This is a common practice in this profession, and it is not a good thing for the advancement of using technology in trial. When the client's experience is bad, it reflects upon all of us. There is far more to this than simply being capable of operating a trial presentation software application.

The next program is already on the calendar, planned for September 10, 2010 in Scottsdale, AZ. I plan on attending and presenting again. I did not get paid to do this. I am doing it in an effort to help bring increased exposure and credibility to our profession. It is good for all of us.

Additional info may be found on the NCRA website:

Finally, Robb Helt (fellow guest presenter) and I were asked to take the exam. Trust me, my fingers are crossed. I REALLY don't want to fail this exam!


  1. Thanks for the sharing your impressions of the symposium, Ted. It sounds like it's off to a great start. Keep us poted on the test results for you and Robb!

  2. Thanks Ted for your assistance and generosity in sharing your wealth of knowledge in the Trial Symposium.

    Room for improvement, absolutely. Are we moving in the correct direction of establishing minimum standards and conventions for how to be successful, I hope so.

    I agree with you that we all want to encourage the adoption of electronic presentation and anything we can do to improve the experience provided by all technicians will help that happen.

    I am happy that the test was not a slam dunk for you but frankly I wouldn't think that someone with your experience and knowledge should worry about passing. (now that Helt guy...;-).

    Thanks to yourself and all the panel for the effort and time you put into the program.

  3. Ted:

    What benefits do you see for an experienced Trial Consultant to taking a (Certificate Program)?

    It is great to hear the industry trying to set some standard, but how do you set standards when the need of the client vary so vastly from case to case?

    I have to admit this program sounds like a away for someone to make money more than a program to actually help someone gain real world experience.

    For instance, lets say someone takes the Cert class and passes with no actual trial experience. How is this helping the client and don't you think this program is endorsing more inexperienced in-trial consultants?

    I would just hate to see our industry with a thousand more consultants with no experience waving a piece of paper. Of course that is for the client to decide.

    I would be interested to hear how this group plans to qualify people wanting to take the test. If that is already in place, what are those qualifications?


    Slick salesperson / consultant
    Brad Reed

  4. Thanks for all of the comments! (I love the signature, Brad!)

    Like you, I approached this (as with many things) with a degree of skepticism. It is my understanding that any actual Certification will also mandate verification of actual trial team, one or more referrals, a lab exam, etc. If that holds true, I don't see a rush of new certified trial techs coming any time soon.

    Again, we are discussing two different things. First, a trial technician certificate program which would essentially define what that person should do and how they should do it. That does not mean they are qualified to go do it, but rather that they have taken a first step toward ensuring they are compliant with a set of best practices and procedures.

    Certification, on the other hand, should only be awarded to those that have proven they can handle the course material, and actually handle trial presentation in court.

    There is much more on the LinkedIn Trial Technology Group.


  5. Ted:

    Thanks for the follow up and I will take a look at all of the information on the TTG via LinkedIn.

    Have a great week!


    Slick Salesperson / consultant
    Brad Reed

  6. Ted, I attended the symposium and thought the faculty panel did a terrific job. I've been presenting trials for years now and I still picked up a few tips and tricks, learned a lot about video and where to look for help and support when things go south.

    This symposium gave us not only knowledge and information, it also gave us a feeling of community. So often we feel alone and deserted at 2:00 in the morning when the Support Dept is not available and our video won't load or the doc paths don't work. How great to know there are forums and users groups out there to help us out.

    So, many thanks to you and the whole panel for giving up your weekend to share your knowledge and experience with us.
    --Diane Nelson

  7. Thanks again to all for the comments! Well, Robb and I have passed the NCRA Trial Presentation exam. We didn't cheat, either! (Disclaimer: We taught a portion, but had no clue on the rest of the material).

    For the most part, if one has been doing things properly for a few years, and/or pays attention during the course, the exam can be passed relatively easily. The test can use a little refinement, but it did cover the basics pretty well. Someone who did not learn the course material, and with little or no prior experience would have a difficult time passing. Definitely a step in the right direction.

  8. I finally passed a TEST!!!!!!!

  9. Congratulation buddy, finally you passed the test. Presentation is itself an art. If you easily and beautifully convey your message and people love to hear you, certainly you have the nice communication skill.


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