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Using Multimedia in Legal Proceedings

Documents & Pictures

With the Generative Power of a Computer, Lawyers Can Shape an Adam or Eve to Demonstrate All Sorts of Medical Conditions. And What They See is Good.

David Shuman knows the power of a good medical illustration. A defense lawyer in Charleston, W.Va., Shuman was defending a personal injury case in which the plaintiffs were seeking million-dollar damages. The case depended upon which medical expert jurors would believe.

Days before the scheduled trial, Shuman decided to gamble and take his demonstrative evidence-a series of professionally prepared medical illustrations-to a pre-trial conference to argue a motion. The risk paid off. The plaintiffs' lawyers marveled at the artwork and, more importantly, at the story it told. "We had talked settlement before, but the two sides were far apart," Shuman recalls. "The sight of the medical illustrations told the plaintiffs we were serious and ready to go to trial. Their demands dropped like a rock." AT THE CREATION , ABA Journal August 1994, Mark Curriden.

The most common case materials to present in trial are documents and photographs. In order to present these documents in a digital format to draw, enlarge, or place side by side, it is necessary to convert them into a digital format. Imaging software is used to convert paper documents and photographs into a digital format.

Imaging software’s primary function is to provide the user with the ability to scan a piece of paper, photograph or other document into a computer, resulting in an image of the document. This “electronic snapshot” of the document then is available to view, enlarge, draw on and present in legal proceeding.

For further information on how to turn your documents into images, see Chapter 6, Imaging. Also, see Chapter 8, Presentation Software for document presentation techniques.


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