Helping Juries See Things "With Their Own Eyes"

Law firms that understand how to "make their case" visually have a distinct edge in the courtroom, and most firms realize that visual presentations are among the best resources for supporting their case. Computer graphics and three-dimensional models can translate information in a way that adds clarity and allows a jury to see things "with their own eyes."

If the visual information is shared accurately and adeptly, it can go a very long way in helping a law firm win its argument. To get this edge, more and more firms are taking the time to find and apply two things:

  1. The most advanced graphic technology that will make their case very clear visually; and
  2. Graphic artists/providers who understand the legal process and how to maximize graphic presentations in the courtroom.

With advancements in computer technology, and trends in the graphics industry, there are several things a law firm should consider when making the decision to use computer graphics and physical models to argue a case:

Team-up Physical Models And Computer Graphics

Creating the appropriate model to suit the argument requires a modeling firm to offer multidisciplinary services for success. A physical model can be set-up in a courtroom to serve as a permanent reference point. For example, in criminal cases, a model serves to set the environment and demonstrates the appropriate relationships between objects and people. In technical or patent cases, the model (often an over-sized example of the product) is a constant reminder of the merits of the creative design. For all of its benefits, a physical model tells the whole story with the assistance of a computer graphic (CG) model.

Computer graphics are currently the best source of supporting information. Again, the ability to listen and translate what is important into graphic information is the foremost talent of your graphic designers. Computer graphics have the obvious advantage of being able to show accurate movements and reactions to those movements. In technical work, CG is an inexpensive way to show flow, or process, through a system or a machine. The physical model sets the stage and the computer graphics provide the soloist.

Don't Settle For Simple

In today's world, people are accustomed to seeing high-end graphics in their everyday lives, and many understand that quality graphics are easier to create than ever before. With this knowledge, it would be a mistake to skimp on graphics in front of an "expert audience."

Computer graphics have come a long way and law firms should understand what is available to them. Firms need to be willing to research and use the quality graphics juries are used to seeing on TV, in video games, etc. Granted, a law firm is not creating a motion picture with their graphics, but they must not resort to presentations that look more like a comic strip than high definition graphics. Fortunately, the cost of computers and software has fallen precipitously during the past decade, and quality graphics are more attainable now than ever before.

Learn What's Available

Creating the appropriate lighting, shadowing and texturing for a computer graphic presentation requires the right kind of software. Some of the best and most cost-effective software for creating computer graphics used in courtrooms includes 3D Studio Max and Maya.

3D Studio Max has proven itself as an outstanding tool for creating architectural and environmental settings that can be critical in personal injury and criminal cases. It provides a very clear graphic representation for a jury to see and comprehend. Maya is an equally effective software solution for character creation. It can develop organic shapes used in medical presentations or those showing movement of fluids. It places people and objects at the scene, and shows them in relation to their surroundings (for example, in accident reconstruction one can define distance and travel paths, etc.). There are plenty of options available, and it's important for a law firm to understand what makes one software better than another.

Work With A "Legal Expert"

While there are many graphic providers and artists to work with, it is critical to have a computer and physical modeling team that understands the legal process. Here are some key points to consider:

  • The modeling team must be able to provide the multidisciplinary services of physical and computer graphic models to meet the demands of a legal argument. It is a requirement for modeling experts to be able to listen to your needs and probe deep into your explanations in order to translate what you are saying in a way that will make sense visually to a jury. A modeling firm must also be able to recreate, re-render, and/or re-master a scene in a very short amount of time, if necessary.
  • A modeling team should be adept at keeping accurate records for a court case, and be able to present their processes during a deposition in a confident manner. Make sure they have courtroom experience, and fully understand the organization, accuracy, and knowledge needed to support a legal argument.
  • Computer graphics and physical models are inherently important to many court cases. Law firms have long understood the application of a physical model and are now beginning to understand how critical graphics are to certain cases. Physical models and computer graphics compliment the arguments and explanations of a lawyer at work.