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In the high-stakes world of trial presentations, hiring the right trial technician or hot seater can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. These are not usually your Litigation Graphics experts (see Why Trial Tech ≠ Litigation Graphics). Before making this crucial decision, it's important to have 15 key conversations with potential candidates to ensure they have the skills, experience, and demeanor necessary to support your legal team effectively. From discussing their technical expertise and familiarity with courtroom procedures to assessing their ability to handle high-pressure situations and work collaboratively with your attorneys, these conversations are essential in finding the perfect fit for your trial team. By taking the time to thoroughly vet and communicate with potential trial technicians or hot seaters, you can feel confident in your decision and maximize your chances of success in the courtroom. To pinpoint the perfect match for your team, here are 15 key conversations that should be had, presented in no specific order.: 1. Availability: Finding the right trial technician or hot seater can be daunting, with availability often serving as the biggest challenge. The top professionals in this field are typically booked months in advance, making it crucial to plan ahead and secure their services well in advance. When time is of the essence, turning to a reputable firm like Persuadius can be invaluable, as we have a wide network of experienced trial technicians ready to support your legal team at a moment's notice. By tapping into our resources, you can ensure that you have access to a pool of highly skilled professionals who can help you navigate the complexities of trial presentations with confidence and expertise. See Good Luck Finding a (Good) Trial Technician in May or October. 2. Local: Finding a local trial technician is often a top priority for most trial teams — often inexplicably so, as far as I'm concerned. The convenience of having them nearby can be helpful, allowing for seamless communication and collaboration. But for less than the cost of one hour of your time, you can have them in the hotel where your war room is located. While it's important to prioritize skill and expertise over proximity, having a local trial technician can offer added benefits, such as being readily available for on-site support and minimizing logistical challenges. They might also have experience in the courthouse where your trial will be held. Sometimes, they might even know the clerk, which can be truly helpful.

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I'm absolutely thrilled to announce the release of Persuadius's latest free litigation e-book, The Opening Statement Toolkit v2. Version 1 (2015) was our most popular ebook of all time, with many litigators telling me, "This is essential reading." You may now download this new book without strings attached by clicking here. In this 271-page book, you will find 80 articles curated from Persuadius's massive collection of posts related to litigation and persuasion. Each article relates to opening statements in some way. From organizing the opening to the use of storytelling techniques to persuade, the book contains an amazing array of tips that will prove valuable to the novice litigator and the veteran alike.

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When presenting your case in court, demonstrative evidence (interchangeably referred to as litigation graphics or trial graphics) can be a powerful tool to help convey complex information to a judge or jury. Demonstrative evidence includes visual aids, physical objects, and multimedia presentations that help illustrate key points in a case. Here are 11 timely tips for effectively using demonstrative evidence in trial: 1. Keep it simple: Remember that less is often more when creating demonstrative evidence. Keep your visuals clear and concise, focusing on all key points of your case. Avoid cluttering your presentation with unnecessary details that could confuse or distract the audience. See Litigator & Litigation Consultant Value Added: A "Simple" Final Product 2. Use a variety of formats: Consider using a mix of visual aids, physical objects, and multimedia presentations to keep your audience engaged. Different formats can help reinforce your message and cater to various learning styles. See 5 Ways to Apply Active Teaching Methods for Better Persuasion 3. Call Persuadius: Many organizations and publications have voted us the best demonstrative evidence provider in the country. Contact us at 800.847.9330 or contact@persuadius.com. See also Why Work with Persuadius?

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If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you may have let some amazing posts slip under your radar. With over 12 years of blog posts and an impressive 850 entries, it’s easy to miss a few hidden gems. That’s why we’ve compiled this curated list of captivating blog posts that deserve recognition.

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Aspiring lawyers and legal professionals may be surprised to learn that finding a competent trial technician during May or October can be challenging. The reason for this is simple: most are already busy working on long trials scheduled by judges who want to avoid holiday and vacation periods. Those not familiar with the role of a trial technician are responsible for ensuring that all courtroom technology runs smoothly during a trial. This includes setting up and maintaining audio and visual equipment, preparing exhibits, and managing the presentation of evidence. Given the critical nature of their work, it's no surprise that trial technicians are in high demand. But why are they swamped in May and October? The answer lies in judges' scheduling preferences.

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80% of jury trials are won or lost in the opening statement. 80%!!!!!! If you lose to your opponent in opening statements, your chances of winning the case become very slim. Over the past 25 years, I have participated in the drafting of hundreds of opening statements. Sometimes, it's 20% me (and others) and 80% first chair trial counsel; sometimes, it's the other way around. No matter what, it is always a collaborative process. And it's one of the things I enjoy most about my job. Reflecting on these 25 years, I offer twenty-one tips for writing and presenting a winning opening: Simplify, simplify, simplify. The opening statement can’t be too simple. Many people say ninth grade is your audience, but I would suggest sixth grade. Since those of us in the legal industry tend to hang around smart people all the time, writing or speaking at that level is hard. The only way to do it, unless you happen to have a very patient sixth grader on hand, is through practice in front of a trial consultant. See Litigator & Litigation Consultant Value Added: A "Simple" Final Product Tell a story. We have many storytelling resources, specifically Storytelling for Litigators and The Opening Statement Tool Kit. My colleagues and I have spent years putting these FREE guidebooks together, and there's nothing else like them. See also 5 Ways to Maximize Persuasion During Opening Statements - Part 2 I am often asked how long my opening statement should be. I think your opening statement should be less than 45 minutes. Nothing is magical about that number, but I feel it's about as long as people want to pay attention to something. It's no accident that many shows and college classes are offered in 50-minute segments. When was the last time you didn't fidget with your phone during a full-length movie? Sidebar: I feel like there should be a list of movies that are easy to watch while playing on your phone.

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The Trump trial in New York has been discussed for months. With the jury selection process well underway, several things have gone wrong that could potentially impact the trial's outcome. In this blog post, I'll discuss seven of these issues. 1. Jury members with biases: Finding unbiased and fair jurors is one of the most significant challenges during jury selection. In the case of the Trump trial, potential jurors may have already formed an opinion about the defendant due to the extensive media coverage of the trial. The political climate surrounding the case could also lead to jurors having predetermined notions about the defendant, which could impact their ability to be impartial during the trial. As of this writing, two potential jurors who were already selected have been removed. 12 jurors have already been selected, with Friday dedicated to selecting alternate jurors in case any of the chosen jurors are dismissed. See Font Matters - A Trial Graphics Consultant's Trick to Overcome Bias. 2. Jurors who have already formed an opinion: During the pretrial phase, so much media coverage about the case could influence potential jurors. If potential jurors have already made up their minds about the case, it could impact their ability to remain impartial during the trial. This could lead to jurors not being open to hearing the evidence presented during the trial, which could impact the outcome. For those jurors, the trial would be one extensive exercise in confirmation bias. 3. Jurors have been doxxed: Doxxing, the act of revealing personal information about individuals online, has already proven to be a significant issue during the jury selection process for the Trump trial. This unethical practice can make potential jurors feel exposed and vulnerable, impacting their ability to participate in the trial impartially. With the constant threat of personal information being leaked, jurors may feel pressured or intimidated, affecting their decision-making process. It is crucial for the court to address and prevent any instances of doxxing to ensure a fair and unbiased trial for all parties involved.

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Preparing for a mock trial can be daunting, especially if you're unsure how to proceed. That's where a jury consultant comes in. A good jury consultant can help you prepare for a mock trial in various ways. In this blog post, I'll discuss 12 things your jury consultant should do to help you prepare. 1. Developing a Theme One of the first things your jury consultant should do is help you develop a theme for your case. A theme is an overarching idea that ties together all the evidence and arguments in your case. Developing a theme early on can help you stay focused and create a more compelling narrative for the jury. See 14 Differences Between a Theme and a Story in Litigation. 2. Conducting Focus Groups Focus groups are a powerful tool for testing your case theory and identifying potential weaknesses. Your jury consultant should be skilled at conducting focus groups and be able to provide you with valuable insights into how jurors are likely to react to your case. See How Early-Stage Focus Groups Can Help Your Trial Preparation.

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During his lifetime, I often reached out to Steve Jobs, the ex-CEO and co-founder of Apple, seeking business insights. While he never replied, I always sensed a shared perspective. I am confident that his guidance would have always emphasized the importance of prioritizing quality to attract the ideal clientele. This principle held true during the inception of Animators at Law, which later evolved into A2L Consulting and now continues as Persuadius. My deep-rooted admiration for Apple dates back to before the groundbreaking launch of the Mac in 1984. Through thick and thin, my unwavering love for Macs and the company has been a constant. I attribute a significant portion of my success to the Mac, as its accessibility to graphics empowered me to delve into courtroom animation while in law school in the early 1990s. This initial spark later blossomed into establishing a trial graphics firm, which then transitioned into a jury consulting enterprise, a trial technology firm and ultimately a litigation consulting powerhouse.

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As a trial lawyer or someone working close to one, you may already be familiar with trial technicians and hotseaters. These professionals provide essential technical support during trials, ensuring everything runs smoothly. They usually sit adjacent to counsel's table and run your trial presentation, including the displays of exhibits and demonstrative evidence. However, you may not know that trial technicians and hotseaters possess a host of hidden skills that go beyond their technical capabilities. Here are some of the hidden skills of trial technicians and hot seaters that you never knew about: 1. They Dress Appropriately If you are in court, you should dress like you are in court. To me, a lifelong Virginia/DC resident, this means white, blue, or cream shirts, a dark suit, and a conservative tie. Black shirts, light-colored suits, and loosely knotted or holiday-themed ties are a no-go at Persuadius. But each trial team has its own style. It is essential to blend in with your trial team. Good trial techs and hotseaters know this intuitively. They want to avoid making a fashion statement in a courtroom or standing out. They want to blend into the background. 2. Some Trial Technicians Are Designers, But It's Rare A rare breed of trial technicians or hot-seaters can also create (sophisticated) demonstrative evidence, usually in PowerPoint. These multifaceted individuals typically start as designers and become trial technicians/hot seaters. This is a beneficial talent. They typically cost more per hour because of these individuals' rarity. Still, they allow the trial team to create exhibits mid-trial instead of simply showing documents and doing live callouts.

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Discover how utilizing litigation graphics can significantly impact the outcome of a trial and captivate the jury's attention. The Power of Visual Communication in the Courtroom In the courtroom, visual communication plays a crucial role in presenting complex information in a clear and compelling manner. By using litigation graphics, attorneys can effectively convey their arguments and evidence to the jury, helping them understand the case more easily. Visuals have a powerful impact on human perception and memory. Studies have shown that juries remember information better when it is presented visually rather than verbally. This makes litigation graphics an essential tool for attorneys to enhance the jury's understanding and retention of key facts and arguments. Additionally, visuals can evoke emotions and create a stronger connection with the audience. By incorporating compelling images, charts, and diagrams, attorneys can engage the jury on a deeper level and make a lasting impression. The power of visual communication in the courtroom cannot be underestimated. Litigation graphics provide attorneys with a powerful tool to convey complex information effectively, enhance understanding and retention, and create a lasting impact on the jury. Types of Litigation Graphics Attorneys can use various types of litigation graphics to support their arguments and present evidence. Some common examples include: - Timelines: Litigation timelines effectively illustrate the chronological sequence of events and highlight key dates and milestones in the case. - Charts and Graphs: Litigation charts and graphs are useful for presenting statistical data, comparisons, and trends. They can make complex information more accessible and understandable for the jury.

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I often talk about what not to do, but sometimes, I must remember to mention what you should do to achieve success at trial. In honor of leap year 2024, I have written this article offering 29 tips for successful trial preparation and execution. You can use this list as a checklist to compare yourself to your peers. I did not develop these ideas alone. Instead, they come from my experience working with the best of you over the past 30 years. 1. Conduct a mock trial. The very best litigators always conduct a mock trial when at least $10 million is at stake. Mock trials are a critical part of the Persuadius service offerings. If you want to discuss one, I invite you to email me (ken@persuadius.com) or call me (1-800-847-9330) or, ideally, fill out a client conflict check form by clicking the purple button in the upper right corner of this page. Only three people, including me, see those. 2. Conduct more than one mock trial. The ideal number is three, and that's precisely what I have observed the best trial lawyers do. It's not always affordable, but more than one mock is mandatory for cases with $25 million or more at stake. The only thing that varies is the investment in each mock trial. If $100 million or more is at stake, every mock should have every investment possible (i.e., a proper mock facility, a two-day or three-day mock, live witnesses, opening and closing statements, etc.). 3. Collaborate with litigation consultants who bring experience and insights to trial preparation. With a track record of handling hundreds of trials, we have witnessed exceptional and lackluster attorney performances. We aim to share valuable knowledge and advice, not lecture or boast about expertise. Drawing on the collective wisdom of countless cases, we strive to support you in crafting a solid and effective trial strategy. Litigation consultants can be exceptionally helpful when developing your opening statement. 4. Build a solid opening statement. In 30 years, I haven't seen anything to convince me that the opening statement is not the most essential part of the case. Some studies say that 80% of jurors make a decision about who will win after hearing opening statements. When done correctly, it should take months to develop an opening. It should be tested many times in whatever way your client can afford. We've written extensively about this. This topic is wonderfully covered in our opening statement toolkit ebook. See The Opening Statement Toolkit.

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Discover the top blunders that litigators make in their trial presentations and learn how to avoid them for a successful outcome. 1. Overloading slides with text and information One common mistake that litigators make in presentations is overloading slides with too much text and information. This can overwhelm the judge and jury and make it difficult for them to focus on key points. It's important to keep slides concise and use visuals to support the content. Additionally, overcrowded slides can detract from the overall visual appeal of the presentation. See 12 Ways to Eliminate "But I Need Everything On That PowerPoint Slide" and How Much Text on a PowerPoint Slide is Too Much? 2. Ignoring the importance of visual appeal Visual appeal plays a crucial role in capturing the audience's attention and conveying information effectively. Ignoring this aspect can result in a dull and unengaging presentation. Litigators should strive to use high-quality visuals, relevant images, and effective design elements to enhance the overall appeal of their slides. Remember, a visually appealing presentation can leave a lasting impression on the audience. See Trial Graphics Dilemma: Why Can't I Make My Own Slides? (Says Lawyer) and Do Professionally Designed PowerPoint Slides Get Better Results?

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I have the privilege of working with some of the most skilled trial lawyers in the country. They are an impressive group, possessing extensive knowledge of the law, unwavering work ethic, and expertise in the courtroom. In addition, they have an intangible charisma that allows them to command a room the moment they enter. Great trial lawyers can establish a magnetic rapport with judges and jurors that is awe-inspiring and hard to explain. As a trial consultant, we should observe this connection and let it propel us to victory. Because of this natural charisma, many top trial lawyers worry that when they use PowerPoint slides to supplement their opening statements, judges and jurors may lose the personal connection they have worked their whole lives to learn. They point out, or I observe, that judges' and jurors' attention is often still fixed on the screen, even if they want to move on to the point not included in the slides. Should the jurors continue focusing on the screen or shift their attention to the lawyer? I know what we want them to do, and all too often, they do the opposite. This is no trivial concern. There is something called the split attention effect, where audiences need help figuring out where to look and end up not remembering anything. There's also a closely related redundancy effect describing when lawyers show and read text. Again, the audiences remember less than they would have had you shown or read the text. You are not alone if you do this. I counsel on this topic very often.

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