From the Tacoma News Tribune: "Fancy gadgets replace oratory in courtrooms," by Adam Lynn--
From PowerPoint presentations to slick graphics flashed on interactive whiteboards, computers are transforming the way justice is delivered to defendants who want their day in court.
- The Internet is filled with tip sheets for lawyers looking to get the most out of computer technology during trial.
- Professional legal conferences include sessions on using technology in the courtroom. A conference Friday in Tacoma was titled, “Using Courtroom Technology in Thurston County and Pierce County,” and featured speakers from both counties’ prosecuting attorney’s offices.
- Pierce County prosecutors recently debuted an interactive whiteboard that allows them to introduce evidence and re-create crime scenes for a jury with the click of a mouse.
“I certainly think it’s going in that direction,” said Michael Kawamura, who supervises Pierce County’s public defenders. Legal consultants agree.
“At a presentation I recently gave to a room of 150 to 200 lawyers, almost every one raised his hand in response to my question: ‘How many of you have used PowerPoint or an electronic presentation program in a closing?’” said Todd Flaming, an Illinois attorney and adjunct law professor who recently served as chairman of the Illinois State Bar Association’s standing committee on legal technology.
Some legal consultants tout interactive media as a way to better connect with jurors who increasingly are immersed in a gadget-filled world.
The quoted article is an example of the way lawyers are perceived in the lay press. But it's not really true that gadgets are replacing oratory; rather, gadgets are enabling a new kind of oratory. It's one that all lawyers should be familiar with. Though some lawyers with lesser-damage cases think that the use of technology might result in "over-trying" a case, one could argue that even if juries don't expect or demand technology in every case, they certainly won't object to it in a way that would be harmful to the client. The quoted article proves the point.