The news out of the California justice system is somewhere between dire and disastrous. All signs indicate it’s only going to get worse in California, and attorneys are scrambling for ways to deal with this crisis. What can we in the legal community do? Below, I suggest steps attorneys can
Cogent Legal Blog
This post is written by Cogent Legal’s senior advisor, Kevin L. Nichols, who’s assisting me in the areas of litigation support and communications. Kevin is the founder of two professional networking LinkedIn groups in the Bay Area with roughly 2,500 members combined. Engaging in social networking is somewhat of an
Improv for Attorneys: Theater-Based Skills for More Confidence, Quick Thinking and Creative Problem-Solving
I recently looked utterly ridiculous on stage in front of an audience of several dozen people. In the midst of an improv exercise called “Yes, let’s!” someone shouted, “Let’s climb a mountain!” On stage with no props, I reached skyward and lifted my legs to mime rock climbing. Then someone
These days, the case that gets tried is the exception, and the case that settles at mediation is the rule. A study by the National Center for State Courts concluded that only about 3 percent of civil cases go to trial, while the other 97 percent are settled or dismissed.
Recently, while creating graphic timelines for clients, I explored new ways to use Adobe InDesign to produce interactive PDFs for these timelines. By “interactive PDF,” I mean a dynamic document that has layers of information in multimedia formats (e.g. photos, video, animations, infographics) that an attorney easily can scroll through
Picture yourself in court getting ready to present a first-rate animation created by a professional litigation graphics company. The opposing counsel jumps up to say, “Your honor, we object to this animation since there is no foundation that it’s identical to what happened, it will confuse the jury, and it
Judges really do get to see it all when it comes to the good, the bad and the just plain ugly of attorneys trying cases. Yesterday, I attended The Recorder Roundtable: “From the Bench – Outstanding Trial Work” in San Francisco, where sitting judges offered great tips for all level
Medical Illustrations for Attorneys: How to Make Anatomy Accurate and Understandable to Make Your Case
The other day, a Northern California trial attorney contacted me in need of a medical illustration. He represented the plaintiff in an auto crash case and had to go to trial in about a week. The attorney rightly realized that picturing his client’s spine would be an essential part of
Attorneys sometimes act in trial or mediation as if they’re little more than an evidence machine collecting all the right evidence, excluding all the improper evidence, applying the law and expecting a positive outcome. That might be good enough to win some cases, but any really good attorney is a
I finally joined the ranks of iPad owners. Better late than never, right? I’m normally one of the first to run out and get a new toy, especially if it has the name Apple on it. The iPad was different, though. My initial thought when Apple released the iPad was
My last post on how to avoid “Death by PowerPoint” covered three main points to help attorneys make compelling visual presentations. Now I’ll follow up with three more. Remember, “Death by PowerPoint” is shorthand for any confusing, complicated or downright dull graphics that kill rather than spark the audience’s attention.
When attorneys do a fair amount of work on their own to create visual presentations, they face a risk that I call “Death by PowerPoint.” The symptoms involve overly long, badly constructed, repetitive messes of PowerPoints and other graphics that will kill anyone’s attention. Death by PowerPoint generally happens when
The Expedited Jury Trial Act (Act; Code of Civil Procedure §§ 630.01 – 630.10, AB 2284), which went into effect in California on January 1, allows cases to be tried in a single day. It’s really the first major overhaul of how a trial may be conducted in the State
In the same way that tax laws start off simple and get much more complicated over time, the process of figuring out what a plaintiff in a personal injury case actually receives after a verdict keeps getting ever more complicated. Fear not—this article provides a downloadable Excel sheet that calculates
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Who we are
Morgan C. Smith, president and founder of Cogent Legal, is an attorney who litigated complex, high-value cases for almost two decades.
Michael Kelleher is a registered patent attorney and former partner at the firm of Folger Levin & Kahn where he litigated IP and complex business cases for 16 years.
Andrew Walker is the Co-Executive Director of the Sacramento office, and an attorney with many years' experience in mock trial work.
Deep Athwal is Co-Executive Director in Sacramento, and also an attorney with extensive mock trial experience.