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The Future of 3D Printing in the Courtroom

Future of 3D Printing in the Courtroom | Cadence Legal

Once upon a time, it was standard practice for litigators to use physical props in the courtroom. From car parts to medical devices, attorneys would bring real-life objects into court, along with their bankers’ boxes full of evidence and discovery.  Times changed, and as laptops and tablets replaced some (though not all) of the notebooks and binders that litigators used to bring with them to trial, projectors became essential tools, and trial graphics made props largely a thing of the past. Now, somewhat ironically, 3D printing in the courtroom may actually be taking us back to the days of old.

Using 3D-Printed Props for Courtroom Demonstrations

Trial graphics and other electronic demonstratives certainly have their benefits – there is no disputing that. But, in certain circumstances, a physical prop may actually be a better trial tool. While computer imagery can reproduce even the most-minute things with incredible detail, sometimes, it is still easier to understand something if you can see what it looks like in real life.

In some cases, as compared to showing video animations or slide after slide, having the jury look at a physical object can be more impactful, as well. Some people have difficulty visualizing a three-dimensional version of a two-dimensional representation, and it is well known that both variety and effective imagery are critical to making a lasting impression at trial. This is why it is generally best to avoid bullet-point lists, long blocks of text, and stock images in your PowerPoint presentations.

Is 3D Printing in the Courtroom the Next Level for Trial Graphics?

If visual representations of information are more impactful than text (which they are), then shouldn’t it follow that tangible, three-dimensional objects are even more impactful than a projected two-dimensional graphic? Certainly, in some cases, a chart or graph will continue to be the best option for conveying a large amount of information in a small amount of space and time. But, in others, we could definitely see a 3D-printed object hitting home, where a complex sketch or animation might leave some jurors scratching their heads.

Putting the Evidence in the Jury’s Hands

Imagine that you are a personal injury attorney. You are representing a client who suffered a skull fracture in an auto accident. Fault isn’t in question, but you need to convince the jury that your client suffered severe emotional trauma and immense pain and suffering.

The x-rays certainly tell the story: There is an unmistakable crack in your client’s skull. But, wouldn’t it be better if the jury could see the crack up close, even feel it with their own hands? What if they could see the thickness of the skull and think about the amount of force that it must have taken to cause that amount of damage?

Welcome to the world of 3D printing in the courtroom.

Trial Consulting and Trial Graphics Experts | Cadence Legal Technologies

Cadence Legal Technologies provides trial consulting services, and creates one-of-a-kind trial graphics for litigators nationwide. If you would like more information about using 3D printing for your next trial, give us a call at (804) 916-1545 or contact us online today.