If there's an advocacy topic you want to see discussed, or about which you wish to contribute, contact one of the blog administrators - see the list on the right side of this page. Lonely thinking changes nothing, sharing your thoughts may start a trend.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Exhibit View Take on EATS 2012: A Guest Piece by Bill Roach

My name is Bill Roach, Partner with ExhibitView Solutions, LLC and I was invited to take part in this year's "Educating Advocates" event. My presentation was late in the week and I was getting quite nervous. I mean, when people come up to you and say, "Are you ready for your show?", I thought, OMG, I had no idea what I was in for. However, being a musician with years of on- stage experience and a new "good listener", I was able to really take in much of the information I heard and cultivate a reasonably good presentation with several eruptions of laughter, but more on that later...

This year's focus was on implementing technology in Trial Advocacy classes. I listened intently as many in this group of about 60 attendees were "very excited about technology as a whole and some were a bit frightened by it"  The speakers all had experience with courtroom technology. Some are simply experts on most everything you can use in a courtroom. Everyone in the room agreed that the younger generation simply gets it much quicker. Certainly the younger set are less intimidated by projectors, cables, and laptops and they probably LOVE figuring out remote controls  ( I have to hold them too far away to read the small print)!

One recurring debate was "how much" technology should the students use in class? The best answer on that question for me, as an experienced trial technician was "as much as the students are comfortable with". I recommend (after years of courtroom experience operating a laptop and trial software on behalf of attorneys), thatteachers should advise students that it will crash and burn. It's natural, normal and we live in an imperfect world. It has happened to me and we just keep moving forward, get it fixed and continue after a break. Everyone agreed this should be a part of the learning adventure. Some of the teachers also suggested they simply tell students they must use technology and give no parameters. Leave it up to them. I really like this approach because it's what they will do in practice. I see it all the time. A lawyer calls me to ask about our product and says they need to get in the groove and improve their presentations with technology. Everyone also agrees it is becoming expected by juries. I tell my clients and prospective attorney clients to start slow. You don't have to load everything into your laptop or iPad to get started. If you have trepidations about technology, just give it a go with some basic exhibits, ones you can have readily available in hard copy to just move on.

You can use a laptop and projector, an iPad and a TV, vice versa, speakers, cables, wires, etc. Some courtrooms are wired, some are not. Some litigators have been at fancy courthouses with all kinds of technology around them, the hardware kind, and choose to set up their own simple projector and screen. Doing it this way keeps the user comfortable.

My finest moment during my presentation came as follows. During the first day Professor Rafe Foreman of UMKC School of Law gave a demonstration about a donkey kicking a client. He set the stage perfectly on the floor showing the distance the donkey had to reach to kick his client. He picked a member of the audience who acted as a defense expert. Rafe put him on one end of the room and about 15 feet away a white board. Rafe asked, "Do you think the donkey could reach my client and kick him?". The expert said, "No, it's too far". Rafe then grabbed his hand and spun around and kicked the board. Even I was amazed and thought WOW, what a great way to visualize a scene to a jury because even I thought the board was too far away. Rafe then asked the expert, "Now do you think the donkey could have kicked my client?" and in a soft, under his breath, quintessential defense expert reply he said,  "maybe an acrobatic donkey".  So, I went back to my hotel room later that night thinking about this experience and what I had heard. I searched on YouTube and found a video clip I was happy with. 

During my presentation the following day, I asked everyone if they remembered the demonstration with the donkey. They said they did. I then asked if anyone actually heard the defense expert say those last words and someone in the second row exclaimed, "Yeah, he said it". Playing the actor I said, "I submit to you ladies and gentlemen of the jury there is such a thing as an acrobatic donkey and I have proof!" I tapped my ExhibitView iPad and played a clip of a donkey flying through the air being pulled up by a parasail boat. The room went crazy, the jury was mine.

Our company ExhibitView offers its desktop products at no cost to faculty and students. If you would like more information on our Law School Program or if you would to speak with me, Bill Roach, please don't hesitate contacting me at ExhibitView. mailto:wroach@exhibitview.net and our phone number is 706-622-3305.

No comments:

Post a Comment