“The days in which you could try a case with a dry erase board, a marker and a booming voice are gone”, according to Judge McKay Chauvin, Jefferson Circuit Court, Division 8. Stop and think about that for a minute. The fact that talent, a strong case and basic illustrations are no longer enough to be a successful trial attorney is a major change for the profession. More importantly, this claim was not made by some tech magazine, it was made by the Jefferson County Circuit Judge who is in charge of remodeling Louisville’s courtrooms. Indeed, the Jefferson Courtroom Upgrade Project (JCUP) is already under way. Within three years, all of the Jefferson Circuit Courtrooms will have new digital trial presentation systems installed. Each courtroom will have an all-digital system that includes two (2) ceiling-mounted projectors, a second projection screen on the wall opposite the jury box, interactive touch-screen monitors at counsel table and on the witness stand, a high-resolution document camera, built-in inputs for laptops, MacBooks, IPads and other devices. The system eases the presentation of photographs, charts, diagrams, documents and video-recorded testimony to the jury. It also allows counsel to illustrate their opening statements and closing arguments in a manner that allows for maximum persuasive advantage.
Who Are The Great Trial Lawyers Of The Future?.
Our production staff attended a demonstration of the new JCUP courtroom on September 12, 2013 and were left very impressed. Attorneys were able to splash exhibits onto high definition televisions with a swipe of their finger across an iPad. Others were able to pull up 911 phone recordings and play them in real time to witnesses on the stand. Tad Thomas, another Louisville attorney, was able to display maintenance records and photographs while giving a closing arguments. Even more impressive, he could underline and highlight portions of the records with another quick swirl on the iPad. You do not want to be the attorney holding a poster board when your opponent is providing enhanced images of records on a high definition screen that sits just feet from the jury.
The attorneys at the JCUP presentation were very proficient with the equipment (and no, they did not look like the guy above). However, many attorneys are not comfortable with trial presentation equipment and some have no iPad experience beyond email and Angry Birds. Let’s face it, we have all sat through presentation delays while someone fidgeted with PowerPoint slides, rebooted computers or looked for an internet connection. The new technology that is meant to focus jurors as never before actually comes with the potential to distract, bore and irritate jurors more than ever. For trial attorneys, it is critical to seamlessly weave the new technology into your existing trial experience. Does this mean that the Atticus Finch of our generation will have to spend all his free time in front of a computer screen? Of course not. But it does mean that you are going to need a working knowledge of basic trial presentation equipment and the assistance of qualified “nerds” like us. The good news it that most of our services are complimentary when you use our court reporters and videographers.
You Should Use Video At Every Deposition.
There has been a long standing debate over whether to add video to depositions. Our court reporters have seen thousands of depositions. Attorneys perform better at video depositions because they prepare more and are more focused on efficiency. The camera captures the emotions, the fidgeting, the delays and the comfort levels displayed by the deponent. Video is simply a better record and it is now cost efficient. Our advice: videotape all of your depositions and do not try to do it yourself. The Louisville courtroom upgrades are designed to immerse jurors in visual images. Without a video record, there is not much to show the jurors on those beautiful new screens.
Our Court Reporters and Videographers Will Take Care Of The Details.
Our court reporters and videographers work together to produce a video that is synchronized to the text of the deposition transcript. You do not need to rush out and buy video production software, trial presentation software or synchronization equipment – – we already have it. Moreover, we have established an expertise by using these technologies daily. Our full time production staff carefully syncs the video to the text. They also conveniently scan all of your exhibits into digital files and attach them to one DVD. In short, our staff will completely digitize your deposition and provide you with the tools you need to maximize the impact of the courtroom upgrades. We then carefully label all DVDs to indicate whether they have been edited for trial.
As you can easily see from looking at the above picture, this particular DVD is “NOT EDITED FOR TRIAL”. We label all of our DVDs because attorneys ask a lot of questions during a deposition that are not admissible at trial. For example, if an attorney asks a defendant if they have insurance and then plays that testimony at trial, a mistrial is likely. We prevent mistrial by providing you with a warning label and a time-stamped log of all the objections made during a deposition. This makes it very easy to go back to the unedited DVD and remove all objectionable material as is your obligation under Rule 98 of the Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure. Best of all, we will edit your DVDs for free and then label them as “TRIAL READY.” In other words, we take the worry out of trial presentation by doing the prep-work at the time the deposition is taken. When you walk out of a deposition taken by Kentuckiana Court Reporters you will know that you have an accurate video, audio and written record that is completely compatible with JCUP. You will also have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have our entire staff at your disposal to edit, copy, download, print and organize your data. Of course, we also offer trial presentation services with TrialDirector and Sanction.
The bottom line is that it is time for Louisville attorneys to embrace the change that is coming to the Jefferson County courtrooms. Take the CLEs that are being offered regarding JCUP, educate yourself on the presentation software options out there and rely on us to provide you with video, exhibits and deposition text that is ready for trial.