Timelines (Part 2)
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.
Establishing a Time Frame
Each timeline covers a certain period of time, whether a few seconds or decades. Often, an overview timeline of the key themes of a case is produced. Imbedded within that, are timelines that focus on more specific time frames or subject areas.
Develop Outline of Major Themes
As with any demonstrative exhibit, the timeline is designed to assist the jury with forming clear conclusions about what the evidence shows. Typically, even the largest of cases boil down to settling a few key issues, relating to liability, causation and damages.
From the onset of the case and as discovery unfolds, an outline of these key themes is helpful. Individual themes flow from one to another, and each are summarized in three sentences or less.
Organize Key Evidence
As you pull key evidence out of the case, it is organized under each of the key themes. Once it is summarized and visualized on the timeline, an overview emerges of what the preponderance of the evidence proves.
Weight of the evidence is just that, as much as is available, but succinctly presented.
Timeline Elements Broken Down
Of course, timelines contain time increments, whether seconds, hours, days, years or decades. Then, key evidence is added. It appears as highlights of key documents, quotes of critical testimony, photos or videos of credible physical evidence and graphics relating to key data or expert reconstructions.