Bringing Technology to the Trial | Baker Donelson – JDSupra – JD Supra

My first trial in 2002 was an arbitration involving the alleged mismanagement of thousands of insurance claims. My client, the suing insurer, sought damages against the claims administrator. The key evidence in the case involved certain audits that were conducted of the claims administrator. Seven of the audits clearly showed that thousands of claims were overpaid. One other audit, however, was positive for the administrator. When I first sent the audits to the claims administrator, my cover letter simply said: “Please find the seven audits.”

We had hundreds of exhibits to manage, and we hired a trial technician to put the exhibits on a large screen for arbitrators. My cover letter spent a disproportionate amount time on that screen, much to my chagrin. The implication was that counsel had sent only the favorable evidence to the expert. But, as a point in fact, we had sent the eighth audit via a separate cover letter. The opposing counsel, in a flourish during cross examination, brought that last audit out. He dropped the audit – which was close to three standard reams of paper – on the table. It made an audible thud. He asked: “Did you miss this in your analysis?”

We won the case, but these moments made a lasting impression on me. There is a place for electronic presentation in the courtroom. There is also a place for tangible evidence that the fact finder can handle, touch, and feel. The trick to an effective trial presentation is managing both issues. This article will touch on a few of the key issues in bringing technology to the courtroom and making the most effective case presentation.

Early Decisions

Our eDiscovery team supports Baker Donelson’s trial lawyers throughout its footprint. The trial planning starts with the first client interview and determining the right eDiscovery technology. Many (if not the vast majority) of modern cases require some level of electronic evidence, which must be effectively managed. This volume can run from several thousand documents to millions, depending on the case size, case subject, and amount at issue. The first step is picking the right eDiscovery technology that scales to the management of that case and its needs. We are constantly evaluating eDiscovery technology and vendors to find technology that is the right fit in terms of cost, scalability, and functionality.

Because eDiscovery technology is the tool that will, eventually, “feed” the trial with its documentary evidence, it is important to choose wisely. On one hand, the wrong eDiscovery tool can simply cost too much. In a recent case, …….


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