5 Legal Responsibilities Beyond Your Pay Grade

As an attorney, your time is best spent interviewing witnesses, gathering vital evidence and planning strategic arguments to give your client the best possible representation. Your methods will in large part determine whether your client receives the desired outcome.

However, trials are not won or lost on legal minds alone. Many factors, including those that influence juries, are crucial to master in order to get the verdict you want. To make that happen, ensure you have these five areas covered — and consider obtaining an outside jury consulting service with the right expertise to take care of them for you.

1. Courtroom Reporter

Trial transcripts are essential tools for legal proceedings, especially those that go on to appellate court. As a lawyer, your job is not to transcribe the entire trial, but that document is key to future witnesses or arguments you make.

Specifically, a transcript is where you’ll memorialize issues for appeal due to the activities of the judge, jury or opposing counsel. At all levels, a transcript provides accounts of witnesses’ testimonial of crucial events, which you can use to bolster your cross-examination.

If you want to get help from the best, our court reporter are here to help.

2. Jury Surveillance

Ultimately, your client’s fate is in the hands of the jury. At every stage of the trial, from jury selection to closing arguments, you must keep their impressions of your case in mind.

Before the case even begins, you should do your best to select jurors who are most likely to see the case from your client’s perspective.

In order to choose the best jury, you should review their social media activity. This can provide insight into political or social biases that may prevent them from seeing your client’s case in the best light. Social media can also give a window into a juror’s points of view, allowing you to tailor your arguments in ways they will best understand.

Monitoring the social media feeds of jurors takes time that you just don’t have in your packed schedule. It also takes a certain amount of web savvy to successfully complete. Instead of taking it on yourself, consider hiring an outside jury consultation firm to monitor jury social media activity.

3. Trial Graphic Creation

Graphics are another important way you get your argument across to jurors. The right use of visual communication tools can simplify complex issues and help jurors zero in on what’s at stake. If jurors don’t understand your graphics, they miss a large part of your argument.

Surprisingly, it’s the little things that make your graphics hard to read, and the last thing you want is for jurors to feel frustration. Every member of the jury is essential to a successful verdict, and your case may turn on quality graphics, so small font sizes, too much detail or other factors can cost you.

Since you are a lawyer and not a graphic artist, you may want to hire an outside firm to take on the task. Come explore our trial graphics services.

Learn our secrets to creating bulletproof trial graphics.

4. Record Retrieval

Gathering records often comes with hassles, including fees to access records charged by hospitals and other institutions. As a lawyer, you may have additional concerns about the security of such records, especially when they involve your client. This is one task you can easily outsource to a company that has the resources and expertise to get the job done.

Magna, for example, has staff across the country to get the records you need for your case. The company provides record retrieval services not only in major cities, but in every ZIP code across the United States. That means Magna can acquire records from anywhere.

Learn more about our record collection services today.

5. Translation Services

Documents may come to you in a different language. It may be challenging and time-consuming for you to translate them to assess relevance, especially when a crucial legal point may rest on a small detail. Even if you speak a language fluently, you may want to offload the translation job to a team of trained experts.

At Magna, our linguists are fluent in countless languages. After their translations are complete, we certify them, so you receive additional assurance about their quality. In short, our translation and interpretation services simplify your working life so that you can focus on the other strategic issues.

Learn more about our legal translation services today.

Get in Touch for More Information

Teamwork is at the heart of a successful legal case. While you and your legal staff focus on the arguments that will bolster your client’s case, you can hire qualified individuals to perform other important tasks. You will be able to give your best legal work to your client while making sure no essential pieces of your case are missing.

Come explore our other jury consulting and discovery services, and request a free quote today.





10 Signs Your Trial Needs Jury Consultants




How Jury Shadowing Can Solidify Your Victory

Empaneling a shadow jury is an effective method of providing your legal team with real-time feedback on the reactions of the actual jury. A shadow jury is a group of people whose personal characteristics match those of the real jurors on a case as closely as possible. This matching goes beyond mere objective demographics. Through a questioning process similar to voir dire, organizers select shadow jurors for their life experiences, attitudes and opinions that reflect those of specific jury members. The shadow jury attends every day of the trial, hearing the same arguments and seeing the same evidence as the real jury. At the end of each day, the jury consultant debriefs the shadow jurors to find out their reactions to that day’s trial proceedings, and they deliver that information to your team. Based on these ongoing responses, your team may adjust the emphasis, method or framing of your case. The following four points show the key benefits that a shadow jury can offer you:

1. Pinpoint Strengths and Weaknesses in Your Case

Even with the best planning, it’s not always possible to predict how jurors will react to the unfolding of a court case. The opposition presents witnesses that antagonize the jurors against your client, and you may find yourself scrutinizing the jury’s body language to glean what they’re thinking. Shadow juries are able to explicitly convey their responses to you, via the jury consultant, so you aren’t left guessing about the effects of the day’s proceedings. They help your team pinpoint areas that need more explanation or focus your presentation to make it more persuasive. Jury shadowing gives you a new interactive agility, tracking where your jurors’ sympathies lie on a daily basis. The American Bar Association’s Litigation News features an example of using a shadow jury, and points out, “Although the trial team did not know exactly what the real jury was thinking, they were able to make meaningful inferences from the shadow jurors’ reactions to the trial.”

2. Identify Strong Juror Opinions

Using a shadow jury helps you recognize which jurors remain undecided, as well as which ones have settled on a strong opinion early in the trial and are inclined to ignore further evidence. A good way to ensure that shadow jurors are not just telling you what they think you want to hear is to keep the shadow jury “blind.” (In other words, they don’t know which side hired them.) This practice enables your jury consultant to receive unvarnished opinions from the shadow jurors, and to recommend specific trial strategies to you based on each day’s feedback. For example, if you are working to defend a client and your shadow jury finds the plaintiff’s witnesses highly convincing, that may give weight to your recommendation that your client settle the case.
Learn the secret to creating bulletproof trial graphics today!

3. Keep an Objective Perspective on the Case Status

You are saturated with the facts of your case, and you may be so focused on presenting those facts in a certain light that you lose sight of how your arguments are perceived by the jury. Sharing a body of information in a coherent, persuasive manner can be surprisingly difficult, and has many hazards: You may inadvertently skip important explanations, because you assume your listeners already understand the underlying concept. Or, you might engage in a lengthy recital of details which seem relevant to you, but which are so dense that the jury loses the thread of your argument. A shadow jury will be able to give you feedback on what they understand, helping you fine-tune your delivery of information.

The jury consultant adds another layer of perspective, as he or she distills and condenses the shadow jury’s responses. With this expert assistance, you are provided with an actionable set of recommendations regarding the shaping of your argument, and your time is used effectively. The use of this type of intermediary also allows the shadow jurors to express their unvarnished opinions of each attorney’s presentations, and this provides you with valuable feedback. In some cases, jury consultants even bring shadow juries together to “deliberate” before your closing arguments, so that you can have a preview of actual jury deliberations.

4. Recognize the Emotional Cues that Resonate

Every juror (and every shadow juror) comes to the trial with their own emotional baggage. This creates a set of filters that influences how these individuals hear and understand the arguments you give. When you have daily feedback from your shadow jury, it’s easy to recognize when you’ve succeeded in eliciting emotions that will cause the actual jury to be sympathetic to your case. Other essential emotional cues concern the jury’s reaction to the personality of your witnesses and experts. For example, you may find that jurors have a negative response to an expert witness whom you’ve hired, and you may decide to minimize that witness’s time on the stand. Visual cues and graphic images also pack a strong emotional punch, and your shadow jury’s response may cause you to fine tune your use of these exhibits in upcoming sessions.

Shadow juries provide the closest insight you can get into the crucial “black box” of the actual jury. Using this valuable research tool can help you to shape your argument, and the feedback from a shadow jury may also be invaluable in persuading your client that a particular course of action will be in their best interest. Learn more about our jury consulting services and contact us today for a free quote.

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4 Secrets to Ensuring Court Reporting Expertise

secrets-to-ensureing-court-reportingLegal experts rely on information to make their case. It is therefore essential that all kinds of information, from historical documents to eyewitness accounts, be properly documented. Without proper documentation, lawyers may lose crucial pieces of the evidence puzzle. In addition, discovery that is not properly documented may not be admissible into a court or may introduce mistakes into the evidence analyzed by both sides in litigation.

Given the importance of court reporting, it’s no surprise that individuals who perform this work take their jobs seriously. Like any profession, however, court reporting firms and their personnel fall on all points of the spectrum of expertise. To make sure that your legal team gets the benefit of premier court reporting, to safeguard the strength of your case and protect your clients’ interests, ask these four questions before contracting for services.

Do They Use the Latest Technology?

Court reporting has evolved significantly over the past three decades. Expert reporters have remained up-to-date on the latest technology and use it to provide expedient, accurate and secure transcripts. While in the early days reporters would take manual shorthand or repeat testimony verbally into a machine, now they make use of digital recordings.

Court reporters may use a variety of high-tech methods. They may monitor and annotate digital recordings and ensure the accuracy of a transcript. Many court reporters do not need to be in the room while testimony is taken, as they stream the proceedings live over an internet connection. These kinds of innovations ensure there is a human being to confirm the content of the transcripts, while relying on the advances of modern technology. When hiring court reporters, you want them to be fast, reliable and accurate.

Are They Part of a Full Service Agency?

Law firms that contract for court reporting services have a full suite of needs. Complex litigation requires not only discovery, but all elements of investigating and building a case. Instead of undertaking a time-consuming and expensive process to find an agency that provides all necessary services, it’s preferable to contract with one company to supply everything you need.

Look for an agency that is not limited to court reporting services. Ask if they also go the extra mile and provide expert service in the areas of record retrieval, courtroom setup services, language translation services, video services and others. Knowing they offer everything you may need means you won’t be left scrambling before a tight court deadline to pull together essential evidence.

Are They a Member of the NCRA?

Dedicated court reporters understand the necessity of properly transcribing the spoken word. As evidence of this commitment, many court reporting firms and individuals are members of the National Court Reporting Association. This association has existed for more than a century and offers education and training programs to ensure members meet the highest standards of the profession.

In addition to high educational and training standards, members of the NCRA adhere to a Code of Professional Ethics. This sets out obligations for ethical conduct toward the public, the bench and the bar. A firm that hires a member of the NCRA, therefore, can rest assured the court reporting has been done in a fair and objective way that both legal counsel and the court can trust.

What Areas Do They Service?

Litigation work happens wherever evidence needs to be gathered. Often, this means lawyers drive many miles into remote areas or have to go to a trial location mandated by the court. Local court reporting services may not have the resources to get where you need them to be, especially on short notice. Even if they are able to fly into town or drive to the site of the deposition or trial, they will likely bill your firm for travel time and accommodation costs.

Ask whether the court reporting service has personnel ready and available within your state and city, so you don’t have to worry about delays. Magna has a broad reach throughout the U.S., so you can rest assured your professional court reporter will be on hand with reasonable notice.

Magna offers clients many benefits apart from its large reserves of professional talent. The firm has experienced people, having been in the industry for a number of years. It has kept pace with changing times in the court reporting industry, using up-to-date software and technology to offer premier services to clients.

Choose the Right Court Reporting Solution

As legal counsel, you have a responsibility to your client to provide the best possible representation. While in-depth legal research and solid arguments are fundamental to making the case for your client, it is also essential that every witness’s testimony is properly documented. In front of a jury or a judge, a case can turn on a single word, and you want to know that evidence has been deposed and recorded in a way that is accurate and objective.

The choice of a court reporting firm is an important one for your firm. With the right services, you can provide your best work to clients who rely on you to safeguard their interests. Learn more about our court reporting services to see if we’re the right solution for you.





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5 Frequent Mistakes of Untrained Court Reporters

court reporter mistakes

Court reporters are essential team members during any litigation process, tasked with recording the exact testimony of witnesses during a deposition and at trial. Court reporting requires substantial legal knowledge, detailed attention, and professional decorum.

Since legal counsel and decision-makers in a court rely heavily on accuracy, it is essential that the position of court reporter is respected. Part of demonstrating that respect is choosing to hire a court reporter that is trained and committed to meeting high standards of accuracy.

If you are assessing candidates, look out for these signs that a court reporter is untrained.

1. Failing to Review Industry Technology

Court reporting is a complex job. In order to properly document information, court reporters must understand the terminology used in a particular context. Only with that advanced knowledge can they be certain they are recording the proper phrases and abbreviations that leave no doubt about the accuracy of the document they create. Accuracy is part of what attorneys contract for when they hire a court reporting service.

A trained and prepared court reporter will meet the challenge of recording industry-specific terminology. A seasoned court reporter will demonstrate foresight into the particular case by arriving for the session with a list of standard industry acronyms, or will not appear flustered at the use of obscure terminology because he or she will already have sufficient familiarity with the area.

2. Failing to Control Emotions

All participants in the court process, including legal counsel and court staff, are witness to emotionally difficult facts. Often, witnesses convey events that are tragic and upsetting. However, in the professional context, it is the job of the servants of the court to remain committed to the task at hand. This is true even if human nature would sometimes move them to facial expressions that convey sympathy, disgust, sadness or another emotion.

Court reporters must remain unbiased observers, recorders of witness testimony at trial and in depositions. Regardless of the length of an individual court reporter’s experience, he or she should be able to remain calm and focused. Professional decorum is essential in order to make sure the reporter accurately records all elements of the trial. If a court reporter is not composed, it is a sign he or she is unable or unwilling to separate personal emotions from the job.

Worried about finding the right court reporter? Come explore our 4 secrets for ensuring court reporting expertise today!

3. Eating During the Trial

Legal counsel and juries often have to prepare for a long time in court without a break. Likewise, a professional court reporter will use his or her knowledge and experience to assess how long testimony is expected to last. Advanced planning means the court reporter can ensure he or she eats enough before trial begins so there is no snacking while evidence is being presented.

There is a time and place to eat and regroup. During the deposition or trial is not that time. Eating demonstrates disrespect to the court or deposition proceedings, which officials will not appreciate. It will reflect poorly on the counsel who brought the reporter into the situation. In addition, court reporters have to be using their hands at all times in order to not miss any testimony.

4. Failing to Show Up On Time

Court reporters who arrive late will cost you money. An expensive expert may be on-hand, paid by the hour, waiting for the reporter to arrive. In litigation, everyone’s time is valuable. That includes your time as an attorney, as well as that of opposing counsel and the court. Judges and court officials, or other professionals present at a deposition, will not stand to have their time wasted. If a court reporter is consistently late, it indicates he or she does not understand that punctuality is essential to perform the job appropriately. Tardiness reflects poorly on everyone involved.

5. Failing to Be Technologically Prepared

Court reporters should be trained and equipped with the latest software in the industry and prepare in advance for any technological mishaps.

The court reporter will arrive with a fully charged computer so there is no risk of scrambling for a power outlet while the trial is ongoing. He or she will have an alternative option available to perform duties if necessary in case the first computer fails. In all cases, the court reporter will do everything possible to remain self-sufficient and completely focused on the task at hand.

Choose a Firm of Trained Court Reporters

If you hire the right court reporting service, you should never have to witness these lapses in efficiency. An established and credentialed court reporting service offers not only assurances of quality work, but a team of experts that are dedicated to the accurate documentation of information.

Take a few moments to assess your court reporting options before you need to use them and choose the agency that’s right for you. When you are ready, learn more about our court reporting services and contact us for a free quote.





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