The majority of judges are now encouraging the use of tech in courtrooms. In fact, just about everyone who shows up to court expects tech to be used in some manner. Various types of audio and visual technology help maintain the jury’s attention, present evidence in a clear manner and ultimately help ensure justice is served.
Why Jurors Expect Tech to be Used in Court
Tech has become ubiquitous to the point that those selected for a jury panel anticipate it will be used in court. After all, tech is used in a variety of ways in any given day so why shouldn’t it be a part of legal battles in courtrooms? The sad truth is juries will gradually tune out an attorney unless an effort is made to hold their attention. The prudent use of tech is one such way to keep jurors engaged.
Traveling for Court? Take Stock of the Tech
Attorneys attending trials out of town should plan ahead to ensure their tech expectations will be met. There is no sense preparing a presentation if the proper tech tools will not be available. Everything from pull-down screens to projectors, video displays mounted to jury boxes and beyond should be accounted for at least several days in advance. Perform your due diligence well ahead of time to determine if the jurisdiction you will be attending has tech-enhanced rooms. Even a seemingly minor subtlety such as the lack of a witness monitor, digital input connection and/or a laptop connection can make the difference between winning and losing a case.
Use Tech to the Extent You are Comfortable With It
It is a mistake to attempt to figure out the tech aspect of your courtroom presentation at the very last minute. If you cannot present your case in a smooth and seamless manner through tech tools, you will lose the jury’s attention. Make sure you have the tech in question mastered before attempting to use it. Ideally, tech tools will be used in a supplemental manner to enhance the presentation of specific evidence.
Examples of Tech in the Courtroom
PowerPoint is quite the valuable tool if used properly. In particular, PowerPoint will prove helpful in the opening and closing statements. If you do not know how to use PowerPoint, find someone who can help you learn its basics. A PowerPoint presentation really does have the potential to shift the focus to essential case points. However, there is the risk of overusing PowerPoint and bombarding the jury with an avalanche of information. Whittle down your information to key bullet points that will make a truly powerful impact.
Trial presentation software is also of the utmost importance. Consider uploading essential data to SharePoint or Dropbox and displaying it on a screen through a projector while in court. It will also help to have the Elmo document camera. Though most documents are now paperless, a visual presentation through Elmo at trial can make a powerful impact. Elmo is a couple decades old yet it will prove quite helpful for putting exhibits/documents on the screen for the jury’s review when questioning witnesses.