4 REASONS YOU NEED TO REHEARSE WITH A MOCK JURY – BEFORE YOUR TRIAL

4 Reasons you Need to Rehearse with a Mock Jury – Before your Trial

We all know that every professional sports’ team goes into game-day after practicing the plays, signals, researching the opponent, preparing for the venue, etc.  Take the NFL, for example.  Teams practice for six days before a mere 3-hour game, which follows.  Clearly, a trial will last longer than three hours, and is more substantial than a “game,” and the trial-rehearsal necessary is only a fraction of the time of the actual trial itself.  This is why, more than ever, lawyers are taking advantage of the benefits of a few hours of mock jury exercises.

mock jury

 

Whether the trial takes place, or not, you may be well informed and settlement-ready if you take a day to conduct a mock jury proceeding.  Mock Jury events give litigators the knowledge-base needed to determine which messages are sticking, which arguments are working best, which mannerisms should be avoided, and the juror characteristics that are best for the case.

Here are 4 reasons you need a mock jury before entering the trial.

Find Your Flaws

Mock Jury rehearsal allows you to apply your knowledge of the case, and test out what works for you and your client’s position, while learning from the experiences in a safe environment.

Try Something New

Rehearsing before a mock jury is important because it allows you to practice different theories, claims or defenses, before you actually deliver the total speech to a jury at trial.  Some jurors will surprise you as to what penetrates and what should be avoided.

Perfect Your Flow

When you practice your position in front of a mock jury, you are ultimately able to put the effective-parts together to create a total speech and practice before eventually delivering it in front of the trial-audience.  We can all use some rehearsal on our public speaking skills, especially with the different juror pools you can expect from venue to venue.

Receive Honest Feedback

Mock Jury exercises afford various forms of feedback, which is typically recorded, for the litigator to make the necessary adjustments to their case-strategies.  Most mock juror sessions end with a verdict questionnaire, Q&A exercises, and feedback for specific evidence and theories.

When all is said and done, rehearsal provides opportunities to apply knowledge to practice different parts, see what works, and then put it together for a total, effective position, for your opening, examination, and closing.

For more information in-line with such mock jury services, or to learn more about our other litigation support solutions, please visithttps://www.litegation.com.

Source: Boundless. “The Importance of Rehearsing.” Boundless Communications. Boundless, 26 May. 2016.

James Cortopassi

James Cortopassi

James Cortopassi brings nearly 20 years of eDiscovery experience to his practice as a leader in litigation support and eDiscovery coordination. Mr. Cortopassi has managed thousands of cases involving forensic collections, data processing & hosted solutions, managed document review, ESI productions, trial technology services, and workflow-innovation. Mr. Cortopassi is a member of the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS).
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SOCIAL MEDIA – A Key Component of eDiscovery Litigation

SOCIAL MEDIA – A Key Component of eDiscovery Litigation

In eDiscovery practice, nearly every set of interrogatories, and document requests, reference emails and their attachments, as well as electronically stored information (ESI) and documents.  But what about the volumes of social media posts, that often represent the authors’ actions, words, subject matter knowledge, personality, hobbies, opinions, and physical & mental circumstances?

Isn’t discovery the procedural means to identify those very elements, and see how they may fit into the claims/defenses of a case, in the ultimate pursuit of justice?  Are there any more actual, current expressions of one’s present and past individualities?  I submit to you, there are not.

Regularly, discovery requests and interrogatories reflect the potentially responsive data that goes to the heart of the claims/defenses, yet seldom inquire as to social media relevance – let alone, a litigation hold that specifically addresses social media accounts and their preservation.

Social media posts matter, and they need to be considered during all eDiscovery litigation.

Today, a single post (text, photo, video, etc.) can say a thousand words – more telling, perhaps, than a voluminous set of answered-interrogatories, or hours of deposition examination, in many cases.  These ever so fast moving, cloud-based personal yet public outlets, attract the use of over 74% of online adults – everyday.*

social media ediscovery

So why is counsel so hesitant to request social media during discovery? Perhaps, they are not sure as to the process and/or costs involved in capturing social media?  Fortunately, there are efficient, cost effective ways to identify, preserve, capture, export and produce social media account information, and use the findings in the pursuit of justice.

Identify Prominent Accounts

First, identify any/all social media account(s) that may have been used to communicate information pertaining to the litigation.  And while there is an inherent requirement for the preservation of data that may be responsive to a case at bar, it doesn’t hurt to remind your adversary within the appropriate pleadings or during proceedings.  We must fight the urge to request all account posts, as the reasonable request must continue to abide by rules of procedure and pass proportionality-muster of the court.

This is accomplished by one of two ways:

  1. Ask the party about their social media presence within interrogatories and/or other discovery practices.
  2. Have pre-existing knowledge as to what key accounts are being used, by way of initial investigation of public profile availability.

Eliminate the Clutter

Next, you will want to limit the social media posts, photos, videos, etc., by searching for keywords or phrases, date parameters and other metadata, that touch/concern the case at bar.  This means of culling should be just as easy as your attempt to have an isolated and culled set of ESI, emails and attachments, produced during discovery.  You will not be provided with many, if any, account credentials, so your social media discovery will be based on public-facing profiles, and posts that are not password protected.

Process Your Data

Finally, decide the format in which you will want the social media eDiscovery produced.  Today, social media collections can easily be exported as load files, and imported into a database management solution.  In the alternative, and when convenient to the discovery process, social media captures can be searched and organized within the capturing platform, and produced as images/PDFs, and simply forwarded by link, media or other file transfers.

social media ediscovery

Attorneys need to consider all avenues of eDiscovery and, today, there may be no more relevant source of discovery as social media accounts’ posts, photos and videos.  When you combine the efficient means, very much in-line with other collection and preservation methods for ESI, with that of the reasonable cost of capturing social media (when weighed against the exposure of the case); it is a proportionality decision to be made by attorney firms and their clients.  For social media collections, eDiscovery, or any other litigation support service, contact us on our website or by phone for a free consultation.

 

*Citation: Pew Research Center

James Cortopassi

James Cortopassi

James Cortopassi brings nearly 20 years of eDiscovery experience to his practice as a leader in litigation support and eDiscovery coordination. Mr. Cortopassi has managed thousands of cases involving forensic collections, data processing & hosted solutions, managed document review, ESI productions, trial technology services, and workflow-innovation. Mr. Cortopassi is a member of the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS).

Data Mapping & Identification: 4 Steps to Success

Data Mapping & Identification: 4 Steps to Success

During discovery, you cannot properly analyze what you have collected, until you fully consider why and how it has been collected.  Here’s what you can do to increase your data recall and precision, well before you acquire your actual review set.

STEP 1: Conduct a thorough investigation as to the location of stowed data.

Does the potentially responsive data reside locally, within some easily identifiable server or workstation, or, in the alternative; does data reside in the cloud, accessible via a web-based application?  Getting an answer to this important question is just the beginning to proper infrastructure mapping – and depending on your answer, a certain approach to collection will have to be established.  Once your team can assemble a map of data locations, shares, and user-access & permissions, you can determine the initial areas of interest, where responsive data most likely resides.

Data Mapping and Identification

STEP 2:  Understand the established administrators, data-stewards, and those who have general modification access, to such data.

These individuals will be important for many reasons, including: good source for investigation as to the quality, substance and history of the data; potential deponents in the matter; and will assist in identifying other areas where data may reside and/or have been accessed, like personal devices.  A complete understanding as to user-access will result in a more cost effective, proper collection.

STEP 3:  Consider data retention, destruction & archiving policies.

Most organizations (parties to a litigation) will have an established set of policies that depict the lifecycle of data, after the expiration of a certain period of time.  It will be crucial to consider the policy terms, and be sure to implement or demand a litigation hold, as to avoid the destruction of potentially responsive data.  Furthermore, data stowed locally will typically warrant separate procedures from that of the ESI stored on the cloud.

STEP 4:  Consider hard-copies, that may supplement or replace electronically stored information.

For instance, responsive documents may also reside, in whole or in part, within files cabinets, folders, binders, etc.  Here, you will need to understand the relationship of data-to-documents, and if there is cross over and/or gaps between the two.  This process requires deep investigation as to the professionals (IT, business and legal) that understand the locations, access, substance and potential privacy, of such data.  Most litigation support vendors will be able to normalize the data/documents, and make all available on one useable platform.

Data Mapping and Identification

Taking the time to map-out your data acquisition plan will prove to be a wise decision, and ultimately increase the value of your discovery plan and speed of analysis.  Moreover, considering a litigation support team will only help to ensure the best outcome for whatever you are up against during the collection phase. Whether understanding the location of, access to, or format in which data is stored, a proper plan can make the difference between winning and losing a case. For data mapping, collections, or any other litigation support services, contact us on our website or by phone for a free consultation.

James Cortopassi
James Cortopassi

James Cortopassi brings nearly 20 years of eDiscovery experience to his practice as a leader in litigation support and eDiscovery coordination. Mr. Cortopassi has managed thousands of cases involving forensic collections, data processing & hosted solutions, managed document review, ESI productions, trial technology services, and workflow-innovation. Mr. Cortopassi is a member of the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS).

THE FOUR E’S OF LITIGATION TIMELINES

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.

eDiscovery NYC

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:

  • Employment
    – 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.
  • Construction
    – 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.

Effective Presentation

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

Litigation Support NJ

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.

James Cortopassi
James Cortopassi

James Cortopassi brings nearly 20 years of eDiscovery experience to his practice as a leader in litigation support and eDiscovery coordination. Mr. Cortopassi has managed thousands of cases involving forensic collections, data processing & hosted solutions, managed document review, ESI productions, trial technology services, and workflow-innovation. Mr. Cortopassi is a member of the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS).

THE CO-EXISTENCE OF DOCUMENT SERVICES IN TODAY’S EDISCOVERY LITIGATION

THE CO-EXISTENCE OF DOCUMENT SERVICES IN TODAY’S EDISCOVERY LITIGATION

HOME » BLOG » THE CO-EXISTENCE OF DOCUMENT SERVICES IN TODAY’S EDISCOVERY LITIGATION

The Co-Existence of Document Services in Today’s eDiscovery Litigation

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The modern day’s litigation heavily focuses on eDiscovery. Electronically Stored Information (ESI) has established a major role within the discovery phase, but there is often a need to normalize paper and electronic discovery.  By this, the attorney/firm would work with litigation support professionals to develop a workflow for reviewing, coding, using and producing documents in a similar format during litigation.  Most attorneys see a hybrid of formats in; their own client files, what was produced by opposing counsel, and their pleadings and documents in preparation of their client’s defense(s) or claim(s). This is because the legal profession is heavy on reading, research and writing. As a result, it also tends to be heavy on paper.

Unfortunately, paper brings with it a number of disadvantages, such as; the expense of supplies and hardware, time consumption in locating certain documents, costs related to duplicating the physical location of documents, space needed to stow the files, and issues pertaining to organization and accurate filing.  Fortunately, database management solutions can help by normalizing the electronic files and hard-copy materials, in a fashion most efficient and organized for the litigator.

The amount of paperwork handled on any given day at the firm could be hefty, and necessitate litigation support services. These services could provide hard-copies of documents, scanning of the documents to be easily retrieved, filtering and searching through coding, and preparing binders or notebooks for keeping the legal team organized throughout the matter.

Digital Services

Proper document management and the hosting of ESI in eDiscovery are complementary. Document services enable the ability to scan the physical information on any given page, sort the files in a manner most appropriate to the case at bar, apply optical character recognition (OCR) – for searching text, field-coding, file-conversions, etc., and the information can be made available in various digital formats. The electronic copy can then be indexed and included in the database management platform, as word processing files, spreadsheets, database files, and HTML documents. This will allow the discovery to be more easily accessible and available in a format in-line with any exiting ESI.

Document Services Digital Icon

During the scanning process, each page will receive a unique Bates Label for identification, logging, and easy-search ability. Litigation support services will be able to abide to legal labeling standards that attorneys are use to seeing on hard-copies. Additionally, coded data can include such captured information as; dates, names, document types, and more. There is a wealth of possibilities when it comes to imaging documents and capturing the details within, that can prove to be useful during discovery.

Notebooks & Binders

We’ve all seen the movie where the lawyer is presenting the case. They walk in with the briefcase, full of papers. Before the trial begins everything is sorted out on the party’s table, and everything is in the correct place. There will be no scavenging to find document XYZ under the timing pressure from the judge. This creates confidence and preparedness by the lawyer, which can be positively viewed by a mediator or jury, and it is all thanks to the lawyer taking advantage of document services provided by a litigation support vendor.

Towards the end of discovery, an attorney will require binders or notebooks assembled for various stages of the trial.  This includes opening statements, direct and cross examinations (usually separated by witness), summation, and general sets for documents that may be relied on during the case (like transcripts and pleadings). The multiple bindings will contain logical breaks (tabs) referencing different thoughts, claim(s), defense(s), and other strategic partitions.  A document services team should also be able to coordinate the pick-up/drop-off of such documents at the court, and work with the clerk or court’s technical representative as to all aspects of documents (and equipment) being brought-to and remaining-in the courtroom. Essentially, the litigation support team should serve to assist in all areas of document services, including complete organization of documents in a manner most efficient for trial counsel, as well as the procedural requirements for making the documents available day after day.

document services law binders

Quality and Support Services

With document services from a litigation support vendor, an understanding of the importance of meeting deadlines of filings and productions are taken with the utmost urgency. The expertise offered by a document services team cannot be matched. With a deep understanding of the discovery process, both paper and electronic discovery necessitate the benefits provided by a litigation support professional.

Quality assurance is crucial for all litigation support services, but may prove to have the greatest benefit when it pertains to the documents/data being relied on during case settlement and trial.  Be sure to check with your litigation support provider as it pertains to their methods for quality control and ability to remedy any issues before production.

At LITeGATION, we offer documents services including copying, scanning, labeling, coding, indexing, demonstratives, and preparing trial notebooks and binders. With nearly 20 years of experience, LITeGATION welcomes you to contact us to discuss your document services.

James Cortopassi
James Cortopassi

James Cortopassi brings nearly 20 years of eDiscovery experience to his practice as a leader in litigation support and eDiscovery coordination. Mr. Cortopassi has managed thousands of cases involving forensic collections, data processing & hosted solutions, managed document review, ESI productions, trial technology services, and workflow-innovation. Mr. Cortopassi is a member of the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS).