Timelines (Part 3)
Timelines have proven to be an instrumental tool in conveying complex information formatted to be easily digestible and understandable. In this series, we look at how timelines are designed and developed for use in the courtroom, in mediation, and/or during the discovery process.
Process to Complete a Timeline
When our phone rings and one of our clients is needing a timeline on a case, typically, it is during preparations for trial. We end up preparing a timeline for the facts witnesses to refer to. Or it’s one that’s prepared in conjunction with one or more of the experts.
Seeing the Facts Clearly
Commonly, the timeline is used in the opening, in order for the jury to get a global perspective on the case, and what the key evidence is proving in terms of answering critical questions about who may be responsible and for how much.
That’s, of course, when use of certain demonstrative aides has been agreed to.
Preparing Timelines During Discovery
In many cases, timelines are developed during discovery and used by witnesses giving their depositions, especially in situations where that witness may not be available “live” at trial, and the deposition is being taken by video for playback to the jury. When taking this approach, your goal is always not to put jurors to sleep by presenting an edited video that keeps their attention.
Testing with Focus Groups
Additionally, preparing a timeline early allows the trial lawyer an opportunity to test it in front any focus groups that might be conducted during the preparation and evaluation of the case.