Although there is no substitute for good lawyering, technology plays a key role in the courtroom and pre-trial preparation. With the implementation of the right technology at the right time, it can mean a difference of winning 150,000 or 150,000,000. During our recent trial against oil giant Exxon Mobil, not a day went by, where technology did not play a significant role in our trial prep and 6 month trial in Baltimore County. There are different programs and tactics that are used to make sure that the technology imputed does not hinder your case but rather help you hit a home run.
In our pre-trial work, in depositions and trial prep, we used a program called Sanction which allows us to work with documents and videos, highlighting, editing and producing them in a way that is not only clearer to the witness but helps the jury ultimately understand what is being talked about. We had thousands of documents and exhibits on multiple pages, so the magnifying and highlighting aspects of sanction helped immensely to make documents more easily legible for the jury. With the use of the Multi-Screen Tool, we could show various documents next to each other for comparison. Powerpoint is also a great program, more familiar to most people, that works in conjunction with Sanction allowing us to make video clips with captioned rolling text underneath the picture. This gives the jury a reason to listen and watch the video instead of falling asleep. Engaging the jury in this manner makes a difference in getting a verdict you are embarrassed about or a verdict that is the largest in the state!
After years of preparation and a trial lasting almost six months, we received a $150 million verdict against Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest corporation, on behalf of our clients, in this MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) groundwater contamination case. This was the largest jury verdict in Maryland in 2009 and it was in part, thanks to the amazing technology we used prior and during the trial. Other forms of technology are the use of graphics, animations, and document management as well as the hardware to show off your hard work such as monitors, plasma screens, projectors and computers. Stay tuned for next week's blog when we will discuss the use of animations in trial presentation.