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I am interested in learning more about the field of litigation/courtroom graphics and presentation design. I have been a presentation/cartographic designer for several years and would like to move into this area of information design. Are there any training programs, books or specialized software and do I need to have any specialized skills to work in this field. Any assistance is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
-- Kathy (email)
Some years ago, I found Gregory P. Joseph, Modern Visual Evidence (New York 1989) quite useful in seeing the legal side of visual evidence. Maybe there is a more recent edition.
Medical illustration, product illustration, and animation work are common in the field. See our Enron thread for a display on financial graphics. And the Gotti trial chart in Envisioning Information.
You might work your way through the Google links on the subject. Some of the firms doing litigation graphics provide portfolios of their work (which often seems to be in the style of news graphics, but more tendentious and directed at a very small audience). So take a look at good news graphics (many threads on this board).
It will be helpful for you to build up a big collection of explanatory graphics; collect hundreds of graphics, print them out, look them over, think about them, and continue to build up the file over the years. Many of the graphics in the file might not be from litigation work but rather simply good explanatory graphics.
A useful explanatory technique is annotation; see our Columbia/Boeing thread on annotating a contested document.
There is a chronic tension in litigation work, as in marketing graphics, between advocacy and accuracy. You will probably not have the opportunity to pick and choose among your clients; thus you will not always be working for the forces of good. About the only control over the type of clients you work for will come from the firm you choose to work for; thus you might look over the firm's previous clients in deciding where to work.
-- Edward Tufte
For Edward Tufte: I was wondering how many trials you have designed exhibits for. Also do you consider yourself a graphic designer? Thank you
ET response: 2 murder trials (jury system challenges, exhibits and ET testimony), a big anti-trust case (600 exhibits and 12 econometric models, assessment of exhibits of other side, huge damage award in favor of my client), and, can I count my contribution to the work of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board and to their final report, which you can assess in this thread on this board PowerPoint Does Rocket Science.
ET a graphic designer? No. I do nonfiction, can count, ultimately care only about content, and work solely for mostly pro-bono clients whose values are in keeping with my own. All focus on high science and high art.
-- Lanny Aronoff (email)