Embrace the Numbers: Resisting the Magical Docs

Posted on March 23, 2011 | by Eric

"Do you see there on page three of exhibit twenty-seven, third paragraph...?"

You prepare with your tech for weeks, and into the wee hours the night before court.

It looks super slick because you’re not even saying anything out loud to make highlighted pages appear in front of the witness like magic.  Exhibits are pre-admitted and the judge doesn’t care if they just pop on screen as long as no one objects.

Having your exhibits appear on screen without prompting looks very cool.

What’s not cool about magically appearing docs as you tear the expert apart?  Maybe a month later, no one reading the transcript has a clue what you were showing the witness.

Say your exhibit numbers, specify the page.  You do it in depositions, doing it in trials isn’t exactly fun, but neither is having to avoid eye contact with the nuveau-bald associate who has ripped his hair out trying to determine which exhibits were shown so he can write the post trial brief.

There’s no need to be clunky about it.  Phrasing like “now let’s take a look at the fifth page of exhibit 20, do you see that middle paragraph beginning with” retains both specificity and a relaxed confidence.  Everyone has their own style, and the courts seem to make up rules just to conflict with the rules in other courts, but planning to be specific about your document and page before going into court is never a bad idea.

If this all sounds too obvious, that’s because it is.  It’s certainly obvious once someone brings it up anyway.  But that hasn’t stopped it from happening right in front of us many times.

 
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