The technology should be as transparent as possible, not a distraction, some others don’t seem to care. Here’s some annoyances that I have seen from “the other side” while sitting through trial. (note: these are tips for technologists and “hot seat” running attorneys.)

1. Stand when told and do not look at screen/keyboard.
I put this first because I am somewhat guilty of this. When the jury is coming in or leaving for a break you need to STOP working on your laptop. Clear the screen as quickly as possible. Stand and give your attention to the jury.

2. Pay Attention.
If you’re currently not using the computer or not asking questions, try to use the computer as little as possible. Pay attention to the question and answer. Ignoring when it’s “not your turn” isn’t very professional.

3. Take ear buds out!
Anyone that spends enough time in the courtroom knows that earbuds are an essential way to make clips during testimony of a live witness. I see many trial tech’s that leave their earbuds in while the jury is entering or exiting.

4. Put away that phone.
I try not to have my phone out at all in the courtroom. Although most of us are guilty of checking and responding to email.

5. Buy quiet peripherals.
My biggest pet peeve. Writing a novel on your clanky keyboard and playing mine sweeper with your mouse isn’t going to help you look like you’re paying attention. Have you ever had to sit and listen to someone type and click for an extended period of time?

Also, a technologist will be considered part of the “plaintiff” or “defense” even if they are independent of the case, like I always am. I’m asked constantly by jurors if I work for the firm or if I’m an attorney. I attribute that to acting like an attorney. Impressions are a huge battle in the courtroom.Under the pressures of trial you must take a second, stand back, and look at exactly what you’re doing.