Trial preparation is the foundation for success in all cases from the very beginning. Evidence disappears and people forget details, so it’s important to be prepared. For many years legal teams have been using technology to drive efficiencies in both the discovery and trial phases. The Inside Councel shows us that 5 steps of courtroom technology in trial preparations on Powerful tools that can strategically organize all case information.

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Electronic presentation of exhibits, visual aids and video depositions can play an important role in the outcome of your case. Having the right equipment in the courtroom is a necessary part of an effective and problem-free presentation. Understanding what equipment you need — and the associated costs and logistics — is important for both pre-trial preparation and budgeting. These are the five steps of courtroom technology preparation.

1) Reconnaissance

Gathering comprehensive and accurate information about the courtroom is foundational.

Reconnaissance starts with a visit to the court’s website. Federal court websites in particular often provide basic information about courthouse technology. Next is a phone call to the courtroom deputy or other designated staff person who can answer questions about technology and arrange for access to the courtroom.

Third and most crucial is a site visit. I’ve always found court staff to be friendly and cooperative, but they aren’t always knowledgeable about what technology is available — and even less often about how it works.

The courtroom inspection is the time to:

  • Introduce yourself to the courtroom deputy, IT person and court reporter;
  • Make a full inventory of permanently installed equipment such as jury box and witness stand monitors, drop down screen and wall-mounted TVs;
  • Identify equipment that is available for use in your courtroom but stored elsewhere, such as a projector, ELMO (a high-tech overhead projector) or TV with DVD player on a wheeled cart;
  • Note the number and location of the power outlets (having access to only one or two outlets is a common issue in older courtrooms);
  • Draw a diagram of the courtroom layout, measuring the distances between bench, jury box, counsel tables, podium, gallery and any installed equipment and taking pictures from each vantage point; and,
  • Ask about reserving the court’s equipment, leaving your equipment in the courtroom during trial (including over weekends), and when you can come in for equipment set-up and tear-down.

Finally, it’s important to find out about local practices. Two issues that come up with some frequency are judges’ rules on non-attorneys sitting before the bar and restrictions on who can bring in computers, phones and other electronics in the age of heightened security.

 

2) Evaluation

The next step is evaluating the technology needs of the case and the trial team’s technology preferences.

The minimum technology requirements are:

  • A presentation system that can be viewed by the judge, jury, witness and counsel and which may consist of monitors, projector and screen, a large-screen TV or some combination of these;
  • Speakers in cases with video depositions or audio exhibits;
  • Various cables, e.g., VGA cables, power strips, extension cords;
  • Desktop equipment set-up used by the courtroom technology specialist (and typically provided by the specialist); and,
  • If the parties are sharing equipment, a feed splitter to toggle between plaintiff’s and defendant’s presentations.

Optional technology is an ELMO, touchscreen monitors at the witness stand and podium, large-screen TV for use specifically in opening and.. Read More

Article Source: Inside Counsel

                                                  

 

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