Lawyers as Teachers

lawyers as teachers

Trial lawyers, especially those in complex cases involving multiple documents, witnesses and complicated concepts and terminology, are faced with a challenge most teachers also face. The trial lawyer’s job is to communicate their information to the jury in a way that teaches them and allows for understanding and knowledge retention, just as a classroom teacher.

There are several learning styles and effective educators employ them at different times to teach a wide variety of learners. The same concept can and should be applied when a trial lawyer is teaching a jury.

James Reinert, founding partner at Gonnerman Reinert, LLC, spoke of this correlation between the roles of a teacher and a lawyer. “My brother is in education and says one of the most ineffective ways to learn is by verbal lecture only. But that’s exactly what we used to do in trial. We would interview witnesses, talk about medical documents, and present verbal facts. All we really had to give the jury was verbal information. By adding the visual learning style, you make it not only easier for the jury to understand but more interesting, which better holds their attention. This is better for the entire case, for the client and for the jury.”

Using visuals in trial – photographs, video depositions, animations, graphics, timelines, demonstratives and more – allows a jury to learn the information being presented and hopefully retain it in a way that helps them better understand and make a more informed verdict. 

“I view myself as a teacher – my job is to educate the jury. And that job is made simpler by using visuals,” states Jerome Dobson, managing partner of Dobson, Goldberg, Berns & Rich, LLP. “If I’m trying to teach a jury why my client is wronged and they can have a visual representation while hearing me speak, an enormous impact is made on the way they retain and process that information.”

But how does a trial lawyer put this knowledge into practice?

Some firms employ their own trial support teams on staff and have access to cutting edge technology, graphics and support. But many trial lawyers do not have that option. Companies like Alaris Trial Services can provide those resources as well as the peace of mind that someone reliable is handling the details and coordinating a seamless presentation.

Our team offers expert trial consultants, video digitizing and syncing, demonstratives, animations, document management and imaging, equipment rental, installation and support and war room set up and assistance. Our mission is to provide trial lawyers with a tactical advantage in the courtroom by delivering technical support before, during and after trial.

Don’t try another case without considering the impact that visual and auditory learning can have on the way your jury learns and process information.