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June 23, 2023 Book Review

Creating Winning Trial Strategies and Graphics, Second Edition, by G. Christopher Ritter

Reviewed by Margaret M. Andresini

Every attorney is a wordsmith accustomed to selecting the most effective language—whether written or spoken—to explain, persuade, and advocate on behalf of his or her clients. But language is not the only arrow in an attorney’s quiver. When properly crafted, courtroom presentations and trial graphics, from flowcharts and checklists to maps and chronologies, can be an invaluable aspect of an advocate’s trial strategy. But what are the best ways to visually organize information for a jury? Should the same presentation graphics be used during one’s opening and closing arguments? How do trial graphics comport with evidence law?

Creating Winning Trial Strategies and Graphics, Second Edition, provides comprehensive answers to these and other questions while teaching attorneys how to produce visual aids to help jurors, judges, and others understand and recall a case’s relevant facts and law. Keeping pace with technological advances, the second edition provides a newly created website replete with resources, graphics, case studies, and visual lectures. Additionally, the second edition dives deeply into Flash, an Adobe-owned technology that enables users to navigate diverse media, while also offering more checklists, bullet point summaries, and short videos to help readers quickly digest the book’s key concepts. Like the first edition, the second edition focuses on helping trial lawyers become skilled teachers who use visual aides to make complex concepts and fact patterns accessible to all.

The book is comprised of ten engaging chapters full of practical advice, short personal anecdotes from the author, and—appropriately—compelling visuals. Chapters one through three focus on the types of information from which juries, judges, and others benefit and how best to present such information. Chapter four centers on the importance of using narrative stories to advocate for a client’s position, while chapters five and six provide best practices for enhancing such narratives with persuasive graphics and strong organizational structures. Chapter seven is devoted to evidentiary considerations, with an eye toward the practical evidentiary issues that can arise from using graphics during a trial. Chapter eight delves into 13 standard form classifications of trial graphics, providing explanations and examples of each, while chapter nine focuses on the best graphics to use during opening statements, expert testimony, and closing statements. The book concludes with chapter ten, which explains how to choose the proper technological medium, from blackboards to models, noting the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Creating Winning Trial Strategies and Graphics, Second Edition, remains a comprehensive resource for trial attorneys looking to enrich their trial strategies to include compelling and effective graphics and visual aids. I recommend this book to all trial attorneys because it provides sound guidance sure to elevate the coherency and persuasiveness of their courtroom advocacy, including by making clients’ positions easier for juries, judges, and others to understand and remember.

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Reviewed by Margaret M. Andresini

Margaret Andresini is a summer associate in the Insurance Recovery, Litigation & Counseling practice group at McCarter & English, LLP. She is entering her final year of law school at Seton Hall University School of Law, where she is a part-time student. The views expressed in this review are those of the author and not necessarily those of the firm or its clients.