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Attorneys urged to learn court technology

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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Ever worried about what happens if you don't know, understand, or use courtroom technology correctly in preparing for trial?

A new video from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana offers a glimpse into the possibilities, from the dramatic portrayal of a federal judge dozing off during trial to a nervous attorney sweating profusely in court when jurors and courtroom staff can't hear him.

After updating its Web site and revising a video on the Video Evidence Presentation System late last year, the court is using the month of April to urge attorneys to view the video and learn about using court technology to their benefit in preparing for litigation. The video is available online here, and the court is hosting two seminars in the next week to help familiarize trial counsel with available technology.

The online video is divided into nine categories and shows a trio of attorneys preparing for a trial before Chief Judge David F. Hamilton. The video uses dramatics to show one of the attorneys covered in sweat while addressing the jury, Judge Hamilton dozing in his chair, and an introduction by Judge John D. Tinder - now on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals - who talks about the importance of technology.

The video gives attorneys an introduction to the VEPS, explains its benefits, and offers tips on preparing for trials, according to court historian Doria Lynch. The court's aim is to have as many attorneys as possible trained on the system.

Jill Zengler, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District, demonstrates how to use the pod and document camera, while John Maley with Barnes & Thornburg explains using the video recorder and witness touchscreens, Kathleen DeLaney of DeLaney & DeLaney discusses laptop connectors, and Offer Korin of Katz & Korin discusses audio devices.

Aside from viewing the video online, attorneys can also attend two seminars this month on courtroom technology. An Inns of Court seminar set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis is called "Enhancing Professional and Trial Skills Through the Use of Technology." Another at 10:30 a.m. April 15 will be an Indiana Continuing Legal Education Foundation employment litigation program on how trial counsel must be familiar with that technology. That seminar is at the ICLEF conference facility at 230 E. Ohio St., Indianapolis.
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