Trial Presentation: Getting Evidence On A Screen

Attorney Andrew Garza and our court tech set up.
Attorney Andrew Garza and the CT Trial FIrm, LLC court tech set up.

We’re often asked how we do it. How to get your documents on a screen in court? How to display video in court? How to show pictures to a jury? This post is about trial presentation: getting evidence on a screen.

We’re often asked about our trial presentation process. Here’s our secret sauce.

Epson EX3240 SVGA 3LCD Projector 3200  

We tried several projectors. The Epson EX3240 was the best value/quality play that we found. It’s listed on Amazon right now for $399. It has no problem displaying images, videos and documents in courtroom lighting. None.

AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable – 25 Feet

I love wireless setups. I don’t trust wireless set ups for court presentations. Hardwire me, baby. One less thing to go wrong. At $10.69 on Amazon this 25 foot HDMI cable is both a bargain and a must have.

Epson Duet 80-Inch Dual Aspect Ratio Projection Screen

You need a big screen. Don’t make your fact finder squint. This screen is fantastic. It is adjustable. It is easy to carry. Fairly lightweight. And solid construction. A must have.

And get a stand for your projector. This can be a small portable table or a tripod.

If You Are Using An IPad and You Should

The ipad is a fantastic trial presentation tool. Better than my laptop. Here’s why. The Trial Pad app is outstanding. It is the best presentation software that I have used. I strongly recommend the iPad Pro. The extra screen size and RAM make it even more useful. Also the extended battery on the Pro will keep your presentation going.

Assuming you are using an iPad you’ll need these things:

Lightning Digital AV Adapter

This $49 adapter allows you to connect your iPad to the projector via HDMI. At $49 it is a ripoff. But it is necessary,

Trial Pad

This app is just the best. I’ve used others. I’m not going to waste space in this post writing about it. Click on the link above. See what it does. Buy it. Use it. Love it.

Odds and Ends

Get a long extension cord. You’ll never know where the outlets are going to be.

Get a power strip. You’ll want to make sure you can plug in and charge your devices.

Get a big solid tote bag. You’ll need it for all of your cords, power strips, and projector. Basically buy the biggest and most solid tote bag you can find.

And the backbone of all of this is having a paperless office. Click here to learn how to go paperless. 

Reclaiming My Life Week 2

One of the things I love seeing in my practice is the comeback. Every day I’m inspired by my clients. My clients who fight to get their lives back after injury. It is not easy.

This is my second in a series of posts about reclaiming my life and part of my identity as a runner. You can read my first post by clicking here.

I’m a 4 time marathoner with a best finish of 3:52. Now I struggle to run a mile.

The good news is this week I have run 4 times. I use the term “run” in its loosest sense. I slog. A slow jog. But 4 runs in a week is a start.

I’ve created a spreadsheet to track my progress. I’m not keeping track of time right now. Speed is not my goal. Frequency of runs and distance are my targets for right now. Getting faster will have to wait for a bit.

This first week was a struggle. I brought shame along with me for my runs. I constantly had to remind myself to be kind to myself. It wasn’t easy. This week I spent time meditating on being in the present. This has made all of the difference. On my runs, when I get down, I focus on two things: the current step I’m taking and my breathing. Being in the present is the best way I know to fight the baggage.

And every step of the way, I’m thinking about what my clients go through. Exploring these dark places can’t help but make me better understand what my clients go through.

Here’s my awkward video update for this week. Got to run. Till next week.


How Many Jurors In An Injury Case?

A jury is the conscience of the community. It is the most important role a citizen can play in our democracy.

The power of the juror’s vote on a case is a great power. It impacts not only the parties to the case but the community. And what happens in the courtroom echoes throughout the state.

Juries decide how much we value life. Whether or not safety rules matter. And whether accountability and personal responsibility matter.

How many jurors on an injury case?

In Connecticut, we seat 6 jurors and 2 alternates. The alternates sit through all testimony. They only vote if one of the 6 jurors are excused.

Every juror is very important. We are grateful for all who serve.

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4 Simple Steps To A Paperless Law Office

This post is on 4 Simple Steps to A Paperless Law Office.

Paperless law office
ScanSnap – Essential for Your Paperless Law Office

I am regularly asked by other lawyers to help them go paperless. Here’s my 4 step process.

  1. Start by making your new files paperless. So many lawyers get bogged down in how many paper files they have and how long it would take to scan them all. Don’t worry about this. Start by making every file going forward paperless.
  2. Invest in a scanner. I love ScanSnap.
  3. Pick a cloud based service. PC Mag has a list of services you may consider. 
  4. Use Adobe to manipulate your PDFs – add pages, move pages, redact, edit, etc. Adobe Pro comes with a ScanSnap. If you are a Mac user Adobe Pro is not included in your ScanSnap. I love Adobe DC. It is the best buy in SAAS. A steal at $14.99 a month.

That’s as simple as I can make it. What are you waiting for? Do you hate saving money? Have a thing against trees?

I have been paperless for 4 years. I have no file cabinets. No copier. And I use 2 toner cartridges a year.




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What Is The Difference Between Economic and Non-Economic Damages

One of the questions we’re often asked is “how much is a fair settlement for my case” or “how much is my case worth?” 

In order to answer  that question we have to look at what the law can award for damages. In Connecticut, plaintiff’s can be compensated for both “economic” and “non-economic” damages.

What is the difference?

“Economic damages” are compensation for pecuniary losses including but not limited to medical care, rehabilitative services, custodial care and loss of earnings or earning capacity.

Non-economic damages are for all non pecuniary losses including,  loss of enjoyment of life, physical pain and suffering and mental and emotional suffering.

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Reclaiming My Life

One of the things I see my clients struggle with after an injury is accepting who they are instead of comparing themselves to who they were. This is hard. They remember when they could walk. They remember when they could play with their kids. They remember when they could do what they loved.

Then things changed. Through no fault of their own.

Things changed in my life. Not because of injury. Two years ago, I completed my 4th marathon. Then I stopped running.

I can point to a number of reasons why. My kids occupied a larger point in my life. My workload grew. But none of those reasons really matter.

Who I am today is out of shape. I struggle to run a half mile. My running isn’t running at all. It is slogging – slow jogging.

This is the start of my journey to reclaim part of who I am – a runner. As I’m doing this, I’m thinking of my clients. And how I can better understand their stories of reclaiming what they have lost.

Here’s a video. Video is painful for me to do. But this is my story.

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Putting Yourself First

If you are injured, put yourself first.

You are driving along. You are doing the right thing. Another driver chooses not to pay attention. Suddenly your life has changed. The change can range from anything to a nuisance if you are fortunate to life altering if you are not.

I know when I was in a car wreck, the first thing I did was tell the EMTs I was fine. I didn’t need an ambulance. Hours later I was in the ER in severe pain. Pain that would last for days. car accident

We’re often asked “what do I do?”  Our answer is that you do everything you can to get better.

Many folks aren’t comfortable putting themselves first. Right now you may feel powerless. You have been wronged.  And the wheels of justice spin slowly.

The best thing you can do is take care of yourself.

Follow doctors orders. Keep your doctors appointments. Be honest with your doctors. Do the home exercises.

Rest if you need rest.

If you are in pain – tell them. If something new hurts – tell them.

Tell your treating doctors what you were like before. For example, “I never felt this before the car accident”. This will help inform your doctors as to the impact the accident has had on you.

Take care of yourself. Let others help you.

Taking care of yourself is the first step in taking back your life.

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Insurance Company Tactics

Why is it taking so long to settle my claim?  Why won’t the insurance company believe my doctors? Why do I have to go through a medical exam? Why is my deposition taking so long? Why do they keep trying to continue court? Why are they saying I’m at fault when I’m not?

A dog didn’t cause the wreck. That’s insane. I was there. I remember. 

Injured folks everywhere ask these questions.

We know why. We’ve been there.

Insurance companies make massive profits by: delaying, denying, and defending. Claims centers are now profit centers.

“An insurance company can make a lot of money on the small claims,” said Jay Feinman, a professor at Rutgers University School of Law, “because if you save a few dollars on a huge number of claims, it’s worth more than saving a lot of dollars on a very small number of claims.” Link. 

These tactics are so prevalent in Connecticut that we have strategies to deal with them. For example, with some insurers we file suit immediately. We know they won’t pay reasonable value until the time of trial. No need to wait a year to file suit. That wait year is a wasted year. Best to push the case forward.

Our job is to help you take control. We help you fight back.

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A Battle of Values 

What Is Your Vision?

You’re thinking about it. Amidst all of the other “stuff” you are thinking about – the practical stuff – your phone, your practice management system, and your business cards. 

You wrestle with the question of what you want your firm to become. It is a question that will never leave you.

Do you want to be a true solo doing everything yourself? Do you want to build a firm with multiple lawyers and staff? Do you want to work on your business or in your business? Do you want to be the best lawyer in your niche? Do you want to run your own shop because you are in between jobs?

There are no right answers. Your answers may evolve.

I think of my practice as version 4.0.

Version 1.0: When I started, I formed a partnership. In doing so, I transitioned from a paper practice to a paperless one. I began building out technological systems. My practice was a general practice. I did personal injury. I did real estate. I did family law. I did housing work.

Version 2.0: I became a true solo. I went to work by myself for a year. I continued developing my technology. I continued my general practice. I plugged along. Making improvements where I could. I added my first staff member during version 2.0. My assistant who worked 6 hours a week.

Version 3.0: Growth. I hit my stride. I added a partner and an attorney of counsel. My phones are now answered by Ruby Receptionists. I build an office in Glastonbury. I start narrowing my focus to personal injury. My systems become more refined. My use of technology explodes.

Version 4.0:  I launch Connecticut Trial Firm, LLC to reflect my commitment and focus on injury cases. I add another partner. I really develop my systems and begin to automate processes. The future is bright.

Throughout the development of my practice I ask myself: “who am I?” and “what do I want to do with the rest of my life?”.

For the first time, I’m working hard on writing down my vision.

I’m reading the book Traction and trying to fill out this form.  Take a look at both the book and the form. My goal this month is to complete the form.

Looking back, I wasted a lot of time by not writing down my vision. I wasted efforts. I wish I had focused early.

If you are thinking about opening or changing your practice – the first thing you may want to do is ask “who am I?” and “what do I want to do?”

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My Lawyer Shouldn’t Have Settled My Case

My lawyer shouldn’t have settled my case. Are you the victim of legal malpractice?

Do you feel like you didn’t get a good settlement? Or your attorney failed to explain to you the terms of the settlement? Do you regret settling your case?

legal malpractice attorney ct
Did your attorney commit malpractice in settling your case? Contact a legal malpractice attorney in Connecticut.

Did your attorney commit legal malpractice in giving you bad settlement advice?

Did your lawyer commit dram shop notice malpractice? 

Legal Malpractice Basics

Connecticut law favors private resolution of claims through settlements.

Attorneys giving advice to clients as to whether to accept or reject offers of settlement are still required to employ that same skill, knowledge, and diligence with which they pursue all other legal tasks.

The Connecticut Civil Jury Instruction on this issue reads as follows:

In advising a client concerning settlement, the attorney must exercise that degree of learning and skill which the average and ordinarily prudent attorney in that line of practice in Connecticut would apply under all the relevant circumstances. Consequently, the plaintiff must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, not only that the defendant rendered certain settlement advice which the plaintiff followed to his financial detriment, but also that the advice given to (him/her) fell below the standard for lawyers in that field of practice in Connecticut.

Simple regret is not enough.

Legal Settlement Malpractice Factors:

Your attorney may have committed malpractice if:

  1. He failed to investigate the personal assets of the defendant and advised you to settle for the available insurance coverage. We run asset searches on defendants where a policy limit is likely to be reached. This way our clients have a better idea on the possibility of collecting a judgment over the insurance policy;
  2. He failed to present the full scope of your injuries to the defendant;
  3. He advised settlement because he failed to prepare your case.

Settlement Malpractice Conclusion

Settlements are serious business. They are the final resolution of all of your claims against a defendant. Know your rights.

If you find yourself in these or similar situations, I can evaluate your case. (860) 471-8333.