The rapid growth of technology has drastically changed how we live our lives. Cell phones have taken the place of many home phones, CD’s replaced cassettes and records, DVD’s substituted for VHS’s, and the list goes on and on. With technological advancements many things we have grown accustomed to using have been replaced with items that make our daily activities more efficient and quite frankly, more convenient. This especially holds true for those in the world of litigation.
Before the days of PowerPoint and Trial Director, a trial board was the ‘tool of the trade’ for attorneys. Years ago, attorneys would be lugging twenty, thirty, forty, or even hundreds of boards into the courtroom with them to present their evidence and support their arguments. As most would agree, transporting that many boards is not very practical and definitely inconvenient. Programs such as Trial Director have made presenting information more efficient, allowing attorneys and trial consultants to bring up exhibits on demand.
While the ‘on demand’ convenience factor may have some convinced that trial boards are a thing of the past, they need to think again. Trial boards play an important role in engaging the judge and jurors in support of their argument. The vast majority of jurors are visual learners and placing a trial board in front of them displaying a key piece of evidence will leave a vivid and lasting impression. The replacement of trial boards with these platforms has subsequently made trial boards the one thing that will stand out the most in a courtroom.
“Trial boards are very effective – you can leave them up for longer stretches without distracting jurors like technology sometimes does,” says trial attorney Elizabeth Midgley, Esq. “Plus, they can be more interactive than something that requires a screen. I’ve been known to stick Post-Its on trial boards, draw on them, flip them side to side for effect – all things you can’t do with something tethered to a screen or monitor.” Trial boards aren't a thing of the past – they are still a great way to use visual props, and have uses that technology just can’t match.
Next time you are preparing to go to trial, do not rule out the trial board as a contender in the arsenal of evidentiary support. The purpose of any exhibit is to effectively communicate information that is pertinent and vital to the case. A mixture of digital and physical demonstratives may be the perfect recipe for a victory.
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