Monday, December 10, 2018

In the October 2016 issue of Plaintiff magazine, Morgan C. Smith and Audrey Murray explained how to use graphics to make expert opinions at trial more understandable. 

Experts who know more about a subject than anyone else are difficult to understand by people who know nothing about the topic. When presenting a case, an attorney should consider whether the expert has the capacity to make visuals, or if the expert needs support in the design process of exhibits.

When a topic is technical, having the expert talk without graphics can be difficult for a jury or judge to understand. In order to successfully create exhibits that show the nuance of a technical topic, time needs to be allocated for a graphics team to get up to speed on the subject. Creating an instructive image of complex equipment, for example, must be accurately visualized. A graphics team needs detailed information to re-create the equipment.

To create graphics with detailed specifications, the attorney should obtain all documents from opposing counsel on the physical makeup of a location, building blueprints, or equipment in dispute early in litigation. A graphics team needs to learn exact measurements, diagrams, maps, or photos.

A graphics team needs to communicate with the testifying expert to ensure concepts match the expert’s opinions. This can be done by having virtual meetings where an expert and graphics team shares a screen without leaving an electronic trail of documents, revisions or emails. When content is not correct, the expert risks being questioned by an opposing attorney. The expert needs to take care to review images.

The graphics team should also meet with the attorney to learn the case issues and what needs to be shown to a fact finder. The expert needs to be comfortable with the visualizations, and confirm the depictions align with opinions. The graphics should relate to the experiences of potential jurors or show a process piece-by-piece.

Read the article here.