Friday, June 10, 2011

A second set of eyes...

I meet a lot of attorneys over the course of a year and inevitably the question of what we "do" comes up. No matter how many times it's explained many attorneys seem to confuse presenting evidence visually with visual evidence. Yes... that does look confusing when I write it out, so let me explain.

Presenting Visual Evidence:

Sometimes our clients don't think to call us unless
they have visual evidence like photos, video, maps, diagrams, medical scans, etc. They can make a rash assumption that unless they have this kind of evidence in their cases, they can't use the services that WIN Interactive provides. What we often tell many potential clients (our current clients already know this) is that before you make any judgment about what is or isn't visual evidence in your case, you should wait until you've talked with us (or me if I'm the one doing the talking). I'm not saying that to get business (although this is what people pay me for) and I'm not saying that to belittle anyone's knowledge. It's just a simple fact that you go to a specialist in an area when you need information you don't have. Doctors consult one another all the time and lawyers do the same. This is no different than that. WIN Interactive exists (and I have a job) because we specialize in an area that most attorneys don't -- Visual Communication in a legal setting.

With that said, presenting visual evidence seems like a no-brainer. If you have a video, get a VCR or DVD player. If you have photos get a laptop, projector, TV, or an ELMO to show them. If you have medical scans, treat them like photos or blow them up as posters. It all sounds easy, but believe it or not, there are still more effective ways of showing your visual evidence than just throwing them up on a big screen. Treating them like glorified documents isn't necessarily going to help you communicate more effectively or tell your story. Sometimes you need more help. Check out our Satellite™ tool that links photos to maps/diagrams. Also check out or BodyMap™ tools that link photos to diagrams of the human body.

Presenting Evidence Visually:

This is where it gets tricky. A lot of attorneys work in areas of litigation where they think that all they have is documents and data so there is no point in even attempting to communicate visually. The truth of the matter is that any case can be communicated visually. If you have data in stacks of paper, juries don't want to see it. Really. It's boring and with the attention spans of most people dropping to 20 to 45 min., you're lucky if people can even follow along. You have to make your point and convey your information quickly
and efficiently. Check out this example of our Helix™ tool (used in the Commonwealth v. Ruell trial, where a finding of 1st degree murder was upheld by the Supreme Judicial court.). We took a stack of DNA testing that tested over 100 individuals and turned that data into a visual that was really easy to communicate. The alternative would have been to go through each data set and look at each of the individuals to see if they matched. That is just the wrong way to go through your evidence. In other commercial, business, and medical cases we had records that amounted to stacks of almost non-navigable paper. We often turn stacks like these into timelines or charts. This allows the documents to be tracked over time and in a visual way that is memorable.

All cases have some potential for visual communication even if it's just taking video depositions. The point is that when all an attorney sees are documents, figures, data, and words in front of him, it might help to get a second set of eyes to see things a different way. That's exactly what we do at WIN Interactive. We're a second set of eyes that look at your case differently. It's that different perspective that can make all the difference.