Although videotaped depositions have been around for awhile, it is important to remember the tactical advantage they can provide an attorney in a case. Advances in technology have only increased picture and sound quality, providing an even more powerful tool for trials and arbitrations. Even the science shows videotaped depositions and other visual aids are more influential than just spoken words:
- People forget about 2/3 of what they hear (The Wechsler Memory Scale - 1946).
- "Trial attorneys unknowingly present arguments and issues that exceed jurors' capacity to understand . . . being confused or feeling intellectually inferior is psychologically uncomfortable, and jurors may respond with resentment and antagonism toward the presenting attorney." Presenting information visually simplifies and reinforces your point (Enhancing Juror Comprehension and Memory Retention - 1989).
- Those exposed to graphics are more persuaded to act than those who are not (The Persuasive Effect of Graphics in Computer-Mediated Communication - 1991).
- Practicing attorneys and non-lawyers prefer to learn and communicate differently. A majority of non-lawyers prefer visual communications. A majority of attorneys prefer non-visual communications. Thus, litigators should bridge the communication divide by using visual courtroom presentations (A2L's Communication Style Study - 2003).
- Visual aids in courtroom presentations enhance juror attention and improve recall of key events (Visual Evidence - 2010).
- An immersive use of graphics during courtroom presentations (as opposed to far and few between) yield the best result (Broda-Bahm Study - 2011).
Benefits of videotaped depositions include:
- Expert Witnesses - The cost of deposing an expert and then having that expert testify at trial can be cost prohibitive. By videotaping your expert's deposition, you can simply play it back at trial for the jury and/or judge without incurring the cost of having the expert testify again.
- Preservation - Witnesses are sometimes elderly, ill, or illusive, and may not be available for trial. By videotaping their deposition, you ensure a visual representation of that witness's testimony for trial.
- Visual Presentation - Videotaping a witness's deposition also provides a visual representation of what the witness's demeanor and non-verbal cues were at a deposition. When witnesses are aggressive or abrasive during a deposition, videotaping can get the witness to cooperate and answer your questions more freely. If they do not, you are able to show that demeanor in court.
- Day-In-The-Life Videos - Visually capturing the physical nature of how your client was affected by the event in question can prove instrumental in obtaining a favorable verdict or settlement. By laying out the background and facts, you are able to paint a picture in the light most favorable for your client.
Videotaped depositions provide an impactful and compelling story when presented at trial. Not only do they keep the judge and jury focused on the case at hand, but they also increase the recall of the key events that attorney wants them to remember. Videotaped depositions also save attorneys and their clients money by not having to rehire an expert to come and testify at trial.