I ran across this article by Ted Brooks on the California Lawyer website. I had never heard of the term “Luddite” and can attest that some lawyers really do fall into that term.
There are a couple points that I took from the article that I find completely true!
It Looks Too FlashyThis argument may have held up 20 years ago when much of this was new, and was considered to be on the cutting edge of litigation. Today, it would be difficult to find a juror who is not familiar with nightly news format styles and the Internet. Although trial presentation software is a powerful database application, to the juror, it looks like little more than a PowerPoint presentation—something most have seen and used. You’re going to have a tough time finding a panel of jurors who are truly impressed with the way this stuff looks.
I’ve heard this argument for the past 15 years. I’ve always used the same answer when someone makes this statement: “In 2000 I was working a trial in a small rual texas town, the attorney I was working for was worried about looking like we “had too much money”. I assured him that no one was even going to consider the cost, as they would assume I worked for the firm. After the verdict came back and we were talking with one of the jury members, she stated “I don’t understand how a company as large as State Farm would not use PowerPoint to show us documents. I’m a 3rd grade teacher and use it in my class everyday!”
Do it yourselfIf you are comfortable with computers, software, and learning new things, there are iPad apps and computer software programs you can use. You could try using PowerPoint, but that is a bit limited with respect to its functionality, so it is frequently used just for opening statements or closing arguments. Adobe Acrobat can also be used, but it also has limitations. Trial presentation apps are built to show documents, zoom in on a paragraph, and highlight key text. They can also display deposition video testimony. Popular computer programs include TrialDirector, Sanction, Visionary, and ExhibitView; iPad apps to consider include TrialPad, ExhibitView and TrialDirector.
Out of the 150+ attorneys we’ve been to trial with, only 2 have been able to effectively use technology while questioning a witness. You have to be extremely proficient in your hardware/software to not have delays in pulling up documents, highlighting, etc.
When we’re in trial and it takes longer than 5 seconds to pull up a documents, everyone turns and looks at you. If you’re taking 10-15 seconds to find the correct page of the exhibit juries will start getting frustrated.
I highly recommend checking the article out, it really is true in today’s litigation world and will only become more true as time passes on.