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October 07, 2005

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Joe Bickley

This is an absolutely wonderful tip. Even in a very documents intensive case there are gong to be a handful of critical documents the embody the theme of your trial. Put these at the juror's fingertips.

I think a chief trail lawyer should care enough about the case to be involved at this stage, and certainly every litigation firm should cultivate a culture that says trial preparation begins at day one. How else do you make trial lawyers out of junior associates if they are not thinking about the case?

YGB

Nearly all the cases I've been to trial on have involved well over 100 documents per side on the pretrial exhibit list, though not all were ultimately admitted into evidence. The difficulty is, as noted above, having the important exhibit not be lost in the mass of exhibit taken into the jury room. One technique I have seen used to good effect is to create demonstratives, large foam core boards for example, that are "blow-ups" of key documents or portions of those documents, or key summaries of documents such as a damages calculation summary. The large boards are hard to lose and hard to ignore (a brooding omnipresence in the jury room?). Moreover, they may serve as a useful device for jurors to present and make points clear to the other jurors during discussions in the jury room. The creation of demonstratives also provides an opportunity to emphasize certain aspects of documents through devices such as highlighting.

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