Over the years, Impact has had the opportunity to work with some of the most seasoned litigation attorneys across the country. Along the way, we’ve come across familiar faces time and again, and learned that behind every experienced trial lawyer is a crew of highly experienced specialists who oil the gears that run the litigation machine.
One of the most familiar faces we see from trial to trial is the in-court trial presenter – a highly specialized team member who works very closely with trial counsel to keep them on track while ensuring they look good in the courtroom. It goes without saying a successful attorney-presenter relationship is built on a solid foundation of trust.
Of course, trust doesn’t develop overnight, especially with new relationships. So how does a trial lawyer develop this necessary bond with their in-court presenter? Beyond simply breaking bread together around the war room dining table, there are several strategies that will help facilitate the development of a solid relationship between these two key courtroom players.
Before the trial date, it is imperative that counsel conducts a run-through of openings, closings and witness examinations. This “dry run” exercise achieves a number of important goals. Most importantly, it allows the presenter to identify how counsel works in the courtroom and how they intend to present their case.
Does counsel use a presentation remote? What key word does counsel use when an exhibit should be published? Does counsel like to jump around during opening or closing, especially when timed? How does counsel like to impeach a witness? These are just a few of the questions that are typically answered during a pre-trial run-through.
Once the courtroom technology set-up is complete, a final walk-through provides additional benefits. First, it allows counsel an opportunity to get comfortable with the setup and identify how everything works. There is no losing sleep the night before opening arguments, at least not worrying about anything related to technology.
More importantly, the walk-through also provides an opportunity for counsel to see, first-hand, that the presenter is knowledgeable about and comfortable with the equipment. Observing the presenter competently and seamlessly deliver the technology components of the trial provides an additional level of comfort to counsel.
CLEAR COMMUNICATION PLAN
Establishing a clear and direct line of communication between counsel and presenter ensures that no misunderstandings occur at any time. It is important for counsel to establish the key operative words and preferred procedures for calling up exhibits, as well as pinpointing the witness to exact locations using Impact-branded pagination and impeachment for either transcript or video.
There is simply no better way to build trust between counsel and presenter than to work on multiple cases together. A natural bond and friendship is built between these two experts when they have the opportunity to interact closely on a variety of matters over the years. This shared history builds not only trust, but also allows them to amass war stories best retold with those who were there.