The Four E’s of Litigation Timelines
Today, it’s almost impossible to conduct a trial (jury or bench) without the use of some demonstrative evidence or trial presentation. Some attorneys choose to work solely with hard-board demonstratives, while others will choose to add the use of trial technology to accompany the tangible presentation. Regardless of the approach, it is hard to find a cause of action or defense, wherein a timeline of events does not fit well with the parties’ positions. And these demonstratives go a long way – engaging the audience while presenting, and remaining memorable during deliberation.
Establish A Pertinent Chain of Events
Timelines are an easy way for an attorney to portray the events that took place in any given matter. Attorneys already have the case-facts, and when those facts are simply listed out on paper, in a chronological order, a timeline of events is organically developed. Once the list is established, the legal team can label each event by similar category, for instance; injuries, treatments, construction milestones, phases of work, breaches of K, and more. These categories can eventually be color-coded or alternatively emphasized to catch the eye of the audience and allow for a more effective presentation.
Engage a Trial Technology Vendor
Now that a chronological chain of events, with category-depiction, has been created, the legal team will want to work with a trial technology & graphics’ vendor to polish-up the raw timeline. Here, a graphics’ team will use presentation software, work with the attorneys and paraprofessionals, and create a timeline that flows with the arguments. Some timelines will color-coordinate the categories and be presented all at once, while other timelines will add features like; scrolling, layers of events, and hyperlinking to evidence, to add some appeal. Some attorneys will choose to create static demonstrative boards from the most important events of the timeline, to add a bit more emphasis on certain dates.
Exhaustive Coverage of Law
Timelines can be used to proffer arguments in all areas of law. Litigators simply need to create a list of events, and leave the art to the graphics’ team. Here are some typical areas of law, and ways, wherein timelines are used:
– Events of hire, agreements, breaches, punishments, termination, etc.
- Medical Malpractice
– Events of injuries, doctor visits, treatments, notices, damages, etc.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
– Events of driving, accident location, treatments, injuries, etc.
– Events of agreements, milestones, phases, delays, damages, remedial measures, etc.
- Premises Liability
– Events of nuisances, failures to warn, installations, accidents, repairs & maintenance, injuries, treatments, etc.
- Wills & Estates
– Events of wills & codicils, promises, transfers, undue influence, distributions, etc.
No matter what the cause of action, every case has chronological events that lead up to a complaint and defenses to same.
When it comes down to what the jury, judge and/or mediator will retain, a polished, presented timeline is what they will remember and discuss during deliberation.
According to the Visual Teaching Alliance:
- The brain can see images that last for just 13 milliseconds
- Our eyes can register 36,000 visual messages per hour
- 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual
- Visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the brain than text
- 40% of nerve fibers are linked to the retina
Presenting an effective position at trial or mediation is an investment worth making. Taking the time and the money to hire a litigation support team will only help to ensure the best outcome for whatever trial you are up against. Whether it’s electronic or hard-copy boards, demonstrative timelines and evidence can make the difference between winning and losing a case. It’s about connecting with your audience and showing your most confident, prepared arguments. For trial support or any other litigation support service, contact us on our website or by phone for a free consultation.