<img height="1" width="1" alt="" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1482979731924517&amp;ev=PixelInitialized">

Impeachment Hearings Provide Trial Technology Lessons

Kenneth J. Lopez, J.D.
By: Kenneth J. Lopez, J.D.

Trial Technicians, Litigation Technology, Hot Seat Operators, Trial Technology, PowerPoint, Trial Director

For those of us in the persuasion business, the biggest stage in the world is currently on Capitol Hill. Last week, millions watched the start of this country’s fourth impeachment effort with interest and concern. Putting aside politics and the question of who is right and who is wrong, I'm professionally interested in how well the various involved parties are performing rhetorically, visually, and technically -- especially as it affects persuasion.

In day one, I watched a classic mistake occur that offers lessons for trial lawyers and the teams who support them. Here, Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, a former prosecutor, questioned a witness and attempted to use video support his questioning. However, when he asked for the video to be played, probably in PowerPoint, there was no audio. He quickly adjusted and read the transcript, but it clearly flustered him.

The relevant video is less than a minute long and should cue up to 5:09:45 if you hit play.

The error is inexcusable in the modern era -- whether on Capitol Hill or in the courtroom. Like all errors of this sort, it was preventable through practice and preparation. 

Technical problems happen. Great trial teams and litigation support firms are best judged in these moments. The best teams always practiced enough to anticipate such issues and the response to them. The best teams practice together until first chair and his or her trial technician/hot-seater have formed a bond that allows both to quickly overcome a technical problem. 

We have written extensively about how to prepare with your hot-seater for the best results, how to practice and prepare properly for trial, and how to avoid a technical snafu in the first place:

In the modern courtroom, trial technicians/hot-seaters are outfitted with redundant technology and have practiced sufficiently with first-chair so that such issues have been anticipated and planned for. A Capitol Hill hearing is a lot like a courtroom -- you only get one try to get it right. Prepare sufficiently or you can damage your credibility and persuasive ability with a simple and avoidable technical problem.

trial technician trial technology courtroom technology consultants new york texas florida california boston virginia


Leave a Comment