If you’re thinking about being a litigator — whether in moot court or for real — you’ll want to pay attention to this guest post. Why? Because it talks about two things that are critical to success at trial:
- A solid, easily understood, timeline of the case
- Compelling visuals
Now, I know a lot of legal types aren’t very visual, but — guess what — your jurors are. Learning how to make compelling trial graphics will give you a leg up in any litigation-related employment context.
So, stay tuned for info about a freeware timeline maker that integrates with PowerPoint, explained by its creator, Jordan Summers!
Office Timeline templates + PowerPoint = litigation timelines that are easy to make and effective for judge and jurors
Half my family are attorneys so how I became a software developer is a bit of an oddity. Regardless, since my focus is on presentation software, it didn’t take long for me to think about trial software and their presentation needs. I started to wonder about software that could help make their legal presentations, particularly their openings/closing statements, much easier to create and more persuasive.
Although I don’t know much about legal presentation strategies, I do understand how people process information and therefore how important it would be for litigators to properly present the foundations of a case. I also understand that litigators need an easier way to put together a clearly outlined and logical timeline of events. They tell me it would help judges, juries and mediators not only understand their cases better, but also remember the important facts they have laid out for them.
PowerPoint is the gold-standard for creating powerful and effective presentations. But since PowerPoint is a blank slate, a law student or new attorney may not have the time to create a superior litigation timeline from scratch — or even to learn how. With Office Timeline you can use templates designed for the task of preparing a clear timeline — powerful evidence in litigation.
How Office Timeline Works
Office Timeline is a freeware timeline maker that is embedded into PowerPoint so using it to create, manage, and present easily understood litigation timelines is intuitive and quick. It starts with a simple wizard for entering chronological data or copying those events directly from Excel.
Push a button and this chronology is turned into a beautifully laid out timeline slide in PowerPoint. Once created, it is easy to control and format the timeline so presenters can test various ways to emphasize key events. It frees litigators from having to design and gives them an effective vehicle with which to persuade.
Does It Work?
An expert in the field, Sherry Wirth, President of The Exhibit Company, a Texas litigation design and trial support specialist firm, says they have been doing this kind of thing for a long time; she told me that judge and juror “retention can be increased a whole bunch when visuals are used” in conjunction with oral argument. Creating over 800 litigation timelines in the past 18 years has proven timelines to be an effective road map for the jury — a visual that’s clear to follow and reinforces the key facts, evidence, and testimony.
Sherry said they use PowerPoint because of its flexibility and most of their clients use it. She also said that it is a painstaking process even for experienced PowerPoint designers to create timeline slides in PowerPoint. She gave Office Timeline a try to see if it would be valuable in the litigation world. She said,
It is a game changer; its simple and elegant interface lets you literally copy and paste your information from Excel and with the push of a button, create a beautiful timeline.
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Thanks Jordan! If you have any questions about Office Timeline, please leave them in the comments.
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- Thinking of Becoming a Solo Practitioner?
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