One area of legal technology that has seen an uptick in recent years is trial presentation technology. Both lawyers and judges are more receptive to this idea and for good reason: it streamlines trial presentation and presents information in a format that jurors are more receptive to.
I recently caught up with Mike Ko — founder of Groundwork Trial Consulting and an Adjunct Faculty member at Chicago-Kent College of Law — someone with inside knowledge on how trial technology is being used both inside and outside of the classroom. Mike teaches Litigation Technology and is thus charged with introducing law students to the advantages of using 21st century technologies in the courtroom.
According to Mike, his students are very receptive to learning about trial technology: “It’s one thing to watch a video or read a manual on how to use a piece of software. It’s another thing entirely to have to actually use the software in a real-world type scenario, complete with deadlines and opposing counsel fighting against you. Law students, by their nature, are generally a competitive bunch. Giving them an adversarial forum to learn and perform provides great motivation.”
Lawyers have likewise become more amenable to the idea of using technology during trials — and even in pre-trial proceedings — in recent years. “I use these tools on behalf of my clients constantly in trials, hearings, and arbitrations. And very recently, I am seeing demand from some attorneys to be able to incorporate these tools into depositions as well,” he explains. “We use PowerPoint to create compelling presentations that support the substance of our openings. We use Trial Director or TrialPad in order to pull up any page of any exhibit instantly and on demand during cross. These tools play a key roles in video impeachments and we’ve also been able to use PowerPoint to create interactive demonstratives and to create effective timelines that allow lawyers to pull up the relevant document, show the important text, and then go back to the main timeline in a quick and seamless way.”