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Legal Technology

Enhancing Trial Presentations with Audiovisual Evidence

By Michael Murray

Audiovisual evidence provides a novel and effective way to deliver major material advantages in your case.

audiovisual evidence

The Growing Importance of Audiovisual Technology in Litigation

Remote depositions and video capture of testimony have become commonplace in litigation, along with electronic exhibits and video annotations. Our daily exposure to short-form AV content on sites such as Instagram and TikTok demonstrates how drawn we all are to receiving information in short sound bites enhanced with visual content. This means incorporating AV content into litigation can be highly beneficial. Multimedia formats can enhance the information being presented, compared to verbal narratives alone. And using audiovisual evidence is an effective strategy to help all parties, including the potential jury, understand and remember information.

To seamlessly integrate AV evidence into a case, however, requires some expertise and specialized tools. Since this is not available in many law firms, litigation support providers play a crucial role in acquiring, producing and managing AV content. As AV technology becomes more widespread, content and distribution tools will become increasingly efficient and easier to use.

Audiovisual Content’s Emotional Impact

AV-based evidence provides a novel and effective way to deliver material advantages in a case. Proven to enhance the emotional impact as well as retention, AV evidence can have a significant impact in influencing the party or jury consuming it.

Currently, AV evidence in litigation primarily features video witness testimony, typically in expository settings or depositions. People naturally pay more attention to content that stimulates their senses, so this type of evidence is often used to highlight the human impact of a case. Other artifacts, such as physical site inspections and aerial videography of a facility, are also increasingly being used. And, as tools such as 3D modeling, interactive virtual reality tours and video annotations continue to develop, AV content will have an even greater impact in coming years.

The power of an argument is significantly amplified with visual or audio aids, which allow for a more convincing demonstration of the emotional elements in a case. We expect AV evidence to become more prevalent in litigation as it becomes more accessible.

Discovery: Developing Your Audiovisual Evidence Strategy

Since audiovisual evidence has such a powerful impact, it is vital that the factual evidence aligns with the argument being presented with such materials. Litigators should consider AV content from the beginning of the discovery phase and throughout the case, ensuring its cohesion with other evidence while focusing on the story that supports their case arguments.

A cohesive blend of AV evidence and verbal arguments can then be achieved through strategic planning: Litigators should first identify the most compelling arguments, develop an AV strategy and fill in any gaps during the discovery phase. Throughout the process, tools such as video annotation software allow users to mark up video the same way as text, offering features like drawing, bookmarks, notes and searchability within an AV presentation. This provides the control needed to create a powerful audiovisual display of evidence that can be enhanced with verbal arguments.

When using media as evidence, the litigation team must ensure the content’s source is reliable and that the editing methods can be supported — you want to avoid any evidence being dismissed over quality or completeness concerns. Adversaries can exploit any such oversights to argue against the video evidence or strengthen their counterarguments. This is an area where a qualified legal provider can be invaluable.

Tools and Strategies for Proper AV Usage

A skilled provider will have the expertise to work with you to ensure the technology used aligns with and supports your legal documentation and arguments while adhering to the court’s rules on evidentiary sources and reliability. Litigation support providers can also help with the setup for presenting AV evidence in court, should you require it.

Adhering to the best procedures and practices is crucial for proper AV content use, not only to ensure your exhibits are admitted but to make sure AV evidence is secure as well. Without proper security certifications or documentation, litigators risk cybersecurity breaches. To protect against liability, always engage reputable service providers with strong data security practices.

Ensuring that you have the right resources and expertise on your side can help you create the most compelling evidence possible for your case.

Photo by TheRegisti on Unsplash

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Michael Murray

Michael Murray is the director of client solutions for Veritext Legal Solutions. Murray stays on top of litigation technology trends and provides informative and entertaining CLE programs, educational instruction, and product demonstrations to legal professionals across the nation. Follow him on LinkedIn and @Veritext.

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