Tips on Preparing for Trial

by Cameron Tyler on October 17, 2012

When an attorney steps into a courtroom to represent a client, he or she comes fully armed and ready for battle. Preparing for a trial is crucial for both the attorney and the client being represented. A well-prepared attorney will have complete command of the facts and evidence to back up every statement that he or she makes. Convincing the jury, judge or arbitrator to rule in favor of their client can be made easier by using a variety of visual displays.

How are Most Cases Won?

Contrary to popular belief, only a small percentage of all court cases are won by an attorney who has a flare for the dramatic. There aren’t many celebrity murder trials with shocking details being revealed by a surprise witness. While no one who watched the O.J. Simpson trial will ever forget Johnny Cochran’s choreographed line, If the glove does not fit, you must acquit, it wasn’t the reason the jury voted not guilty.

Being prepared and having the facts on your side wins most cases. Every good lawyer knows that cases are won or lost before one ever steps into the courtroom. Lawyers depend more on their paralegals and staff than on their charm and personality to convince a jury to rule in their client’s favor.

Judges and Juries Understand Visual Aids

When the prosecutor shows a video of the defendant holding a gun to the convenience store clerk’s head and stealing the cash in the register, the jury can see what happened. Such a visual is far more convincing than having a customer testify that he saw the defendant waving what looked like a gun in the clerk’s face. Other visual aids are also far more effective than words.

Physical evidence like fingerprints on the murder weapon or a lost shoe from the foot of a suspected cat burglar can connect the defendant to the crime. Surveillance video or photographs are also very convincing to the members of the jury. These and many other types of visual aids are effective, but they must be properly presented and explained by the attorney.

Visual displays need to be placed in proper context to enhance a client or prosecutor’s case. They help fill in the gaps and answer any questions that a juror may have. A good lawyer tells a story. Pictures and other visuals help keep the audience’s attention. It is like watching the evening news versus listening to the same stories on the radio. Most people comprehend more when they can put pictures and words together.

Trial Graphics

A well-prepared attorney will often hire a graphics specialist to design charts, maps and other visual representations that can be easily understood by the jury. Showing a jury a 3D animation of how events unfolded during a train crash can be powerful and compelling when a jury is trying to determine negligence or fault. Numbers, which are hard to visualize, can be expressed in a colorful pie chart or plotted on a simple graph.

Scale Models

Scale models are three-dimensional representations of larger objects. Since you can’t bring a building or other large object into the courtroom, a scale model is the next best option.

Always be Prepared

Lawyers can enhance their chances of winning a case by always being prepared. Before going before a jury, evidence must be gathered, facts discovered and strategy discussed. Once in the courtroom, it’s the job of a lawyer to present the facts and evidence to the jury in a way they will understand. Trial graphics and visual aids are important tools to foster understanding and keep the jury’s attention.

Cameron Tyler

Cameron Tyler

Cameron Tyler

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