As a trial team develops a case, going through discovery,depositions, and possibly several attempts at settlement, each step in theprocess takes them deeper into the fine details of the matter. Mock Trials,Focus Groups, Settlement Conferences, Mediation, and other forms of AlternativeDispute Resolution can all be helpful in further sharpening the level ofunderstanding and knowledge of the case. By the time a case is ready for trial,the entire team will know the case inside-out, and will likely be familiar withits technical aspects, events which may be plotted onto a timeline, and whichwitnesses will be most helpful to your case. You should also have a good ideawhich witnesses are good candidates to be set up for impeachment, and will havetheir depo testimony excerpts ready to attack their credibility.
You might also have a series of demonstrative graphics, andmaybe even an animation to help convince your jurors that yours is the"right" side in this case. All of this preparation and review canmake you so familiar and knowledgeable about the case that you may evenunderstand it better than your client. One thing is certain -- you will view itdifferently than your client, since you also understand how everything fitsinto the litigation process, and what is permissible in court. As part of atrial team, you are also likely to view things a bit more objectively.
|Can't See the Forest For the Trees|
If you have retained a Trial Presentation Consultant, youwill have the advantage of working with someone who is extremely familiar andcomfortable with stress, the trial process, and handling many different tasksat once. Unlike many attorneys or other in-house legal professionals who are intrial only once or twice a year, a professional Trial Presentation Consultant isinvolved in many trials each year. The high stress of trial is something theydeal with on a daily basis, and this too can be valuable to the team. So is itworth spending the extra money on a consultant who bills as much as someattorneys? Do they bring so much knowledge to the case that they are criticalto the efficient presentation of the evidence?
While I would love to try and convince you that I am sosmart and know so much that I can guarantee you will win your case if you hireme, the truth is, one of my greatest assets to your client and trial team isnot what I know. Rather, it is what I don't know. I bring no assumptions of thebasic facts, no knowledge of what is important in the case, and no biasedperspectives. A good Trial Presentation Consultant brings a fresh pair of eyes-- not yet tainted by months or even years of preparation. They can be theclosest thing you have to a juror, and in fact, will generally offer dailyfeedback during trial, from the perspective of a shadow juror.
If you do bring in an outside consultant, you should providethem with a set of trial briefs -- but not only from your side. In order tohelp identify issues which might be overlooked, or to help spot holes in thecase, it is helpful for an objective observer to see what the other side has tosay, as well. A good consultant comes in with a fresh perspective, and theiropinion should not be taken lightly.
In addition to trial preparation, graphics, war roomsupport, and trial presentation in the courtroom, a good Trial PresentationConsultant can act as a thirteenth juror. Even with all that, the realvalue-added service is often not as a result of what they know -- it's whatthey don't know.