Masters in Trial
On Friday, November 21, 2014, the Sacramento Valley chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) put on the annual Masters in Trial presentation at University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. ABOTA is a national organization of experienced trial lawyers and judges whose mission is to preserve access to civil jury trials and the right to trial by jury. As part of that mission, ABOTA provides seminars like the Masters in Trial series to train lawyers in effective trial skills and presentations.
The Masters in Trial demonstration brings together some of the most effective and celebrated trial lawyers of the region to put on a “mock” trial in front of a mock jury, while allowing other lawyers to observe and ask questions.
Masters in Demonstrative Evidence
This year’s seminar was entitled “Masters in Demonstrative Evidence” and focused on the visual display of evidence in the courtroom, including the use of technology and visual aids to help jurors understand complicated evidence. Demas Law Group’s John Demas was asked to present opening statements for the Plaintiff’s side of the case. Mr. Demas is a member of ABOTA and is well known for his effective use of technology in the courtroom. During the presentation, he used power point, photographs, and digitally created accident reconstruction to tell the story of what had happened to the Plaintiff and to lay a foundation for the evidence that would be presented in the Plaintiff’s case. The comments of the mock jury and the observing lawyers afterwards made it clear that while the words that a lawyer makes in argument are important, visual images are equally integral to an effective and winning trial strategy.
Ultimately, all of the presenting lawyers for both the Plaintiff’s case and the Defendant’s case demonstrated their mastery and expertise in the courtroom while allowing other lawyers insight into different styles and strategies to use during trial.