Reprinted with the permission of Mike Murray, Director of Client Solutions, and Law.com. This article was originally published in November 2023.
Managing and presenting testimony are changing a lot these days thanks to new technology. Some of the innovations lawyers are using to handle depositions, witness statements, exhibits and other evidence more efficiently and persuasively will alter the way matters are handled for the foreseeable future.
Lawyers at firms of any size and specialty stand to benefit from the success and ROI metrics these new technologies are delivering. And with Thomson Reuters reporting that small US firms still rate administrative tasks that take time away from practicing law as their number-one challenge, these technology gamechangers couldn’t be coming online soon enough.
Intelligent Exhibit Capture: More Powerful Evidence Presentation
Intelligent exhibit capture represents a huge leap forward in how attorneys present digital evidence during depositions. This cutting-edge technology tracks every mouse movement, click, scroll, zoom and keystroke as the deponent reviews an electronic document.
The deponent’s on-screen interactions are recorded and synchronized with the deposition transcript and audio. The result is a powerful video exhibit that shows the deponent manipulating the evidence in real time.
For example, in a products liability lawsuit, the plaintiff’s attorney could use intelligent exhibit capture when presenting a complex 3D engineering diagram of the allegedly defective product to the defendant’s design expert.
The synchronized video exhibit would clearly show the expert zooming in on particular components, rotating the image and perhaps even circling purported flaws with the cursor. Meanwhile, the transcript and audio would record the expert’s concurrent narrations and statements.
Such a video exhibit provides compelling demonstrative evidence of the expert’s thought process, reactions and unspoken concessions as they examined the virtual exhibit. The exhibit brings their interactions with the evidence to life beyond what written transcripts can convey.
Plaintiffs can leverage this type of video exhibit during mediation or trial to vividly showcase how the defendant’s own expert acknowledged critical defects and design flaws while inspecting the 3D diagrams. This visual evidence carries far greater persuasive impact than static documents or testimony alone.
Intelligent exhibit capture is especially powerful when working with intricate digital evidence like large spreadsheets, source code, CAD drawings and medical images. It captures granular details and spatial relationships within complex file formats that may be difficult to explain verbally.
This technology forever transforms how digital files are presented as exhibits during depositions. Attorneys now have an invaluable tool to compel opposing experts into making pivotal concessions and admissions that can make or break a case.
Streamlining Organization with Multilayered Case Exhibits
Traditionally, organizing exhibits across extensive document productions and numerous depositions has been an arduous process. Key files are buried across disconnected sources, and crucial document relationships are difficult to visualize. What could make crafting effective legal arguments more difficult?
Advanced exhibit organization solutions are completely transforming how firms manage case information. This technology compiles all exhibits across a case into a master case file that can be accessed from wherever, whenever.
Powerful intake tools extract exhibits from disparate sources like email, databases and document reviews. Each exhibit is indexed with metadata like description, date, producing party, etc.
The exhibits are then organized chronologically with hyperlinks between related files. For example, an expert report will be hyperlinked to the deposition transcript where the expert discusses that report.
For attorneys involved in complex litigation with thousands of exhibits, this solution is a game-changer. All evidence is consolidated into one centralized, navigable repository.
With exhibits interconnected through hyperlinks, attorneys can quickly access related documents to factcheck or identify inconsistencies in witness testimony. This enhances comprehension of the relationships between the evidence. The clearer the connection for the attorneys, the clearer the connection will be to the judge or jury.
By streamlining organization and interconnectivity of the exhibits, attorneys can craft more persuasive legal narratives and arguments that do more than assist the story – they make the proof undeniable. Key evidence can be accessed and reviewed in context rapidly to prepare impactful lines of questioning.
Advanced exhibit organization provides attorneys with an efficient way to get their arms around voluminous evidence and piece together a winning theory of the case. This technology enhances oversight so that no crucial document gets lost in the shuffle.
Ultimately, advanced exhibit organization can mean the difference between a disjointed data dump and a compelling story that wins over judges and juries. This innovation accelerates review and analysis to drive more successful case outcomes.
Paperless Exhibit Management: Organizing Trial Evidence Is Seamless
In the past, organizing exhibits for a major trial was an unwieldy process. Legal teams had to print hundreds of documents, collate these into labeled binders and transport cumbersome boxes of physical exhibits to the courtroom. Updating exhibits required reprinting and replacing entire binders.
Paperless exhibit management systems have revolutionized this process through secure, cloud-based platforms. These solutions allow legal teams to easily upload potential exhibits in digital format from any device.
Exhibits are organized into digital folders and can be accessed remotely by authorized users anytime, anywhere via laptops, tablets or smartphones. Email notifications are sent when new exhibits are added, creating transparency among collaborating team members.
With paperless systems, legal teams no longer need to manage unwieldy exhibit binders. All materials are available at their fingertips through the cloud-based platform during depositions, hearings and trials. When exhibits need to be updated or new materials added, legal teams can instantly add them to the cloud repository with a few clicks rather than reprinting entire binders.
Paperless exhibit platforms save significant time, cost and hassle. Legal teams reduce expenses on printing, photocopying and shipping while increasing efficiency through instant access to exhibits from anywhere. Uploading digital files also reduces environmental impact compared to printing thousands of pages. Encryption and access controls prevent unauthorized access for enhanced security.
By modernizing and streamlining management of trial exhibits electronically, paperless exhibit systems enable legal teams to focus on legal strategy rather than administrative tasks. This flexibility and efficiency enhance overall case preparation and presentation.
Bringing Key Narratives to Life with Video Exhibits-As-a-Service
Reconstructing the circumstances or sequence of events underlying a case is often critical to proving legal theories. However, recreating scenarios like accidents or crime scenes can be expensive, complex and time-consuming for legal teams.
Video exhibits-as-a-service solutions are revolutionizing how impactful video evidence is created for trials and hearings. These turnkey services handle all aspects of conceptualizing, scripting, filming and editing video exhibits for attorneys.
For example, a lawyer litigating a premises liability case could use video exhibits-as-a-service to recreate the scene of an injury incident at a retail store. The video production team would capture footage inside a similar store depicting how the customer navigated the premises, interacted with employees and sustained an injury due to unsafe conditions.
The final edited video exhibit vividly brings to life the circumstances leading to the plaintiff’s harm. This powerful exhibit allows the jury to fully visualize the events and negligence alleged in the case.
Other examples of impactful video exhibits include accident reconstructions, day-in-the-life recordings, site inspections of facilities and demonstrations of mechanical processes.
Video exhibits carry immense persuasive influence by engaging legal audiences through dynamic visual storytelling. Meticulously scripted narratives and cinematic production values can bring dry written testimony to life.
By leveraging turnkey video exhibit services, legal teams save substantial time and costs while delivering compelling evidence. Experienced creative and production teams handle the complexity of idea conception through distribution.
As video technology advances, so do the creative possibilities for producing immersive exhibits that win over judges and juries. Video exhibits are becoming an indispensable tool for legal teams seeking to visualize their case narratives powerfully and persuasively.
Emerging technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence are also poised to further transform testimonial evidence analysis and presentation.
While all of these innovative tools are delivering manifold benefits, including greater efficiency, cost savings, security, persuasiveness and analytical insights, the key to unlocking their full power and potential requires tying all these technologies together into integrated workflows. Realizing the full value requires an integrated, end-to-end approach that consolidates capture, organization, storage and access into interconnected processes. This creates a 360-degree view of all evidence and reduces risks from disjointed systems.
What You Stand to Gain
Leveraging innovations like intelligent exhibit capture, paperless management and video exhibits can deliver immense returns on investment for law firms. Here’s why making the shift pays off:
- You’ll enjoy more efficient processes. Automating tedious tasks like exhibit organization saves massive amounts of attorney time better spent on legal strategy.
- Overhead costs will go down. Digitizing evidence eliminates printing, shipping and photocopying costs. Video services also reduce expenses of staging recreations.
- Competitiveness and success rates will go up. More persuasive arguments mean more business.
The bottom line? Law firms that fail to adapt will fall behind those leveraging tech-driven efficiencies and persuasiveness. The ROI of innovation is clear – the future of evidence management is here. Are you ready to transform your litigation practice?
Michael T. Murray is the director of client solutions for Veritext Legal Solutions. Murray stays on top of litigation technology trends and travels throughout the nation speaking and providing informative and entertaining CLEs, educational instruction and product demonstrations to legal professionals.
Tony Donofrio is the Chief Technology Officer at Veritext. He develops and supports the mission critical systems clients, reporters and employees use every day. His focus at Veritext is to ensure that clients and Veritext staff have the very best experience with easy to
use, highly reliable and highly secure tools.
Reprinted with permission from the NOVEMBER 2023 edition of the Law Journal Newsletters © 2023 ALM Global Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.