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Please Pretty Up These Litigation Graphics

Ken Lopez
By: Ken Lopez

Trial Graphics, Litigation Graphics, Trial Presentation, Trial Preparation, Presentation Graphics, Storytelling, Persuasive Graphics, Visual Persuasion, Persuasion

Since litigation graphics are so crucial to winning a case, it’s a necessity to put your litigation graphic artist in a position where he or she is most likely to succeed. How should a litigation graphic artist begin his or her work? Here are some possibilities. 

  • The artist can listen to the attorneys and experts describe what kind of demonstrative exhibits they want;
  • The artist can take direction from an intermediary like a litigation consultant or jury consultant;
  • The artist can work from the pleadings;
  • The artist can improve upon a deck that's already been produced in draft form;
  • The artist can work from a trial outline;
  • The artist can listen to the attorneys and experts confer with a litigation consultant and ask questions of his or her own, then agree on a plan based on this conversation.

After 22 years of doing litigation graphics consulting, I believe the last method is the one that produces the best results. You might ask why. After all, wouldn't it be faster if the artist is simply told what to do, and wouldn’t it be cheaper of the artist is asked to work from a trial outline?

Each approach has its positives and negatives, to be sure. However, one question usually can help decide which is the right approach for your team: Are you hiring your trial consulting firm because of its creativity?

If the answer to that question is yes -- and it usually is -- you need to ask yourself a follow-up question: What is the best way to encourage creativity: Should you put boundaries around the creative impulse, or should you allow ideas to flow freely? Obviously, the free flow of ideas is better.

That’s why the open-ended discussion with attorneys, experts and litigation consultants is usually best. Creativity needs room to breathe. The more of a blank slate you can offer a creative person, the more creativity you will get. Some of it will be off the mark, but some of it will spark truly new ideas.

So, back to the title of this article, "Please Pretty Up These Litigation Graphics." This phrase is a concerning one for me, and I hear it often. Usually, it means that one of several things has happened:

  1. Associates have worked up a draft PowerPoint deck. This usually doesn’t turn out to be closely tied to the narrative of the case.
  1. The first-chair attorney has moved his or her trial outline from Word into PowerPoint. So now we have a lot of text slides, and they all have to go.  
  1. Someone who knows PowerPoint but not information design, persuasion science, or litigation graphics best practices roughed out a deck. This could be an outside expert or the in-house marketing folks. 

In each of these cases, I think a litigation graphic artist is starting off on less than the best foot -- which is to say, it's not the wrong foot, it's just not ideal. If you want to maximize your chances of winning, start the right way. Here's another A2L article that does a good job of laying out exactly how: 11 Ways to Start Right With Your Litigation Graphics Team

Other free A2L articles and resources related to litigation graphics consultants, trial preparation, and working with your trial consultants in the highest value way include:

litigation consulting graphics jury trial technology

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