Demonstrative Aids

Lawyers are quickly coming to the realization that some jurors are visual learners, some jurors are auditory learners, and some jurors learn by both modes of communication. Oftentimes, during the course of voir dire, jurors give us clues into which category they fall. For example, the juror who says, “I see what you mean”, is a visual learner. The juror who says, “I hear (or understand) what you are saying”, is an auditory learner. Other clues can be gained by finding out how much time jurors spend watching television, reading newspapers or listening to the radio.

The myopic eye of television has caused a virtual explosion in the number of jurors who learn visually. The explosion of the Challenger, the Rodney King beating, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy are all images burned into the minds of people. Similarly, the O. J. Simpson trial has left an indelible impression with many potential jurors; the slow speed of the Bronco escort, Fuhrman taking the Fifth, and the verdict itself. Trials are microcosms of life. The most successful lawyers are those that understand this dynamic. These are lawyers who make a concerted effort to tell a very interesting story (even with the most boring case) and tell it through as many appealing visual aids as possible. Trial consultants work with the attorneys in preparing the visual aids and then use research such as mock trials or focus groups to test the impact that these visual aids have on jurors.

It is difficult to estimate the cost of visual aids. We have become a computer-literate society and many lawyers have gravitated to computer-assisted demonstrative aids and recall systems. We have been involved in some cases where visual aids cost just a few thousand dollars and cases where the costs have gone into the hundreds of thousands. Each can be effective, but must be matched with the case and the budget.