Trial technicians – those responsible for managing and presenting evidence to Judge and Jury — are also called “hot seat” operators. Any delay in presenting the requested exhibit can seem like an eternity. One miscue on their part, such as bringing up the wrong exhibit, can immediately result in a mistrial: Hence the term, “hot seat.”
Although they are indispensable to the presentation of a case, the best trial technicians are essentially invisible. Hire the right one, and your trial will feel like a well-choreographed play. Hire the wrong one, and you could spend a great deal of your trial feeling anxious something will go wrong. Here are five questions to help you choose:
1. How much will it cost?
Make sure to get “real numbers” in any estimates you receive. Check to see whether there are hidden extras, including overtime, travel, equipment, weekend or holiday charges, project management fees, etc.
2. Are you capable of producing on-site graphics?
Any “hot seat” technician should be able to make minor changes on the fly. There is not always time to engage a graphics team, regardless of where they might be located.
3. Have you ever been involved in a trial similar to this?
Your “hot seat” person will be comfortable, and thus more effective, in familiar surroundings. Although it would be unrealistic to expect experience with the exact case type, things like the size and value of the matter, venue type, data formats, and general type of litigation are all helpful qualities.
4. What sets you apart from your competitors?
This can apply both to the company, and the individual(s) assigned. However, hiring a well-known company does not necessarily mean the person they assign is the best for you. Make sure it’s a good fit from top to bottom.
5. What extra value do you have to offer the trial team?
In some cases, the answer may be zero, and that is fine. In others, similar case experience, case feedback, jury monitoring, or other extras may help make the decision whether or not to hire.