Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Paperless Courtroom?

Law.com's C.C. Holland on the increasing use of audio-visual presentations in trial courts:

Using visual aids to introduce information can make it more persuasive, says Noelle Nelson, a clinical psychologist and trial consultant based in Malibu, Calif. "People believe what they see to a far greater extent than what they hear," she says.

...Many judges, too, are embracing or even expecting the use of computer demonstrations and multimedia aids during a trial. They offer clear benefits over traditional presentation methodologies by providing more clarity, allowing easier searching for specific data among exhibits -- which can be done with a few keystrokes rather than sifting through piles of paper -- and speeding up the trial process. "Judges are telling us they really enjoy the electronic trials because it makes the case go a lot quicker," says Rick Kraemer, president of Executive Presentations, a trial consulting firm in Los Angeles. "Some judges are saying they'll soon no longer allow paper into their courtrooms -- everything must be scanned and presented electronically."

Ready to jump on the multimedia bandwagon? Marching into court with a grainy video and an amateurish PowerPoint won't be enough. "The juries have expectations of good production value," says [John J. Ammann, a clinical professor and director of the Legal Clinic at St. Louis University School of Law].

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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