Finding the right trial technician, or “Hot Seat” person, can often be a challenge and too often a mad dash on the heels of trial. Those who frequently practice in court know the value that the right trial tech can add to counsel’s ability to tell their story to the jurors. Here are five trial tech tips for the next time you’re heading to trial.
1. Referrals! Referrals! Referrals!
This is the answer to how to find a trial tech. Your best bet is to ask colleagues who spend a lot of time in trial. Who do they know that has a great deal of experience working in cases similar to yours? Experience is everything. However, the “experience” page of a website touting a long list of trials does not guarantee a seasoned professional who’s a rock under pressure. The power of a google search has yet to topple the value of a first-hand account from a trusted source.
2. Great trial techs can be invisible
When a tech does their job well, typically, no one notices. Just like most of us don’t notice when a movie has an amazing score or awesome cinematography. Usually we come away just thinking about what happened in the movie. However, when things go wrong, it gets noticed. If the wrong documents are put up or the right documents fumbled for, it can be cringe-worthy. Judges have become accustomed to documents showing up with virtually no delay. When things go wrong, judges are not about to reprimand the tech, but they will chastise counsel for the error—A damaging blow if it’s in presence of the jury.
3. Know the documents
Trial techs, the good ones that go unnoticed, have a thorough familiarity with the documents in the case. This comes from being given adequate time to review. The best ones make it look easy, but the secret to making it look easy is preparation.
4. Know the rules of the road
Every judge in every courtroom has their own way of doing things. It’s important to know what the court will allow. This is true for many aspects of trial, including technology. Know the courtroom, what technology it has, what the judge will allow to be brought and any preferences that the judge may have. You don’t want to get sideways with the judge, and making sure your documents and exhibits are introduced and displayed properly is a good start.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
The trial tech and counsel need to be in sync. This typically requires a series of practice run-throughs. A good trial tech should be able to anticipate where counsel is headed, even if they veer off course. But, in order to do that, the tech needs to have walked the path with counsel more than once before. That way they know how to get back on course.
Trask Consulting is honored to be named as one of the best “Hot Seat” Trial Technician’s in ALM Media’s 2018 Best Of The Recorder this year!