DecisionQuest Mobilizes Its Full Suite of Trial Support Services for the Country’s First Virtual Federal Trial

Houston, Texas // June 18, 2020 // DecisionQuest®, a U.S. Legal Support Company, provided complete consulting, support and management for a virtual United States District Court (USDC) bench trial between leading global technology providers. A strategic trial consulting leader, DecisionQuest provides a full suite of legal graphics, trial technology, and jury research and consulting services to law firms, major corporations and insurance companies nationwide. Founded in 1990, DecisionQuest has consulted on more than 20,000 high-risk trials, arbitrations and mediations, applying scientific research, methodology and the art of persuasion to help clients realize the best case scenario and make informed, critical decisions.

We Were Built for the Virtual Trial World

As more courts begin conducting remote trials in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, DecisionQuest has unparalleled experience in virtual trial preparation and strategy development.

“This was a monumental case for our legal system,” said Leslie Ellis, Ph.D., Director, DecisionQuest. “As the first United States District Court bench trial being conducted completely remote, there was added complexity on top of the usual trial preparation. There were a lot of moving pieces – from ensuring every participant was comfortable with the technology to preparing witnesses in this new environment. For decades, we have been providing consulting, graphics strategy and preparation for our clients remotely. Our breadth of experience in hosting online research provided us unique insight into how to facilitate a virtual trial of this magnitude.”

“The trial team’s preparation allowed everything to go off without a hitch,” said Greg Cassin, Director of Trial Technology, DecisionQuest. “Consulting with the trial team to carefully capture their needs and concerns, the DecisionQuest team created a comprehensive plan mimicking actual courtroom dynamics and layout. We worked with our client extensively leading up to trial, testing arguments, creating demonstratives, selecting and testing equipment. Sparing no detail, our team pulled building schematics of our client’s office to identify optimal camera, microphone, equipment and lighting placement.  While we prepared remotely, we also anticipated social distancing requirements for the duration of the trial. In addition to accommodating complex testimony offered by dozens of witnesses and experts from around the world, there were additional vital considerations that required daily attention to ensure flawless execution. We were there for it all, start to finish.”

Long-Term Cost Savings and Efficiency Gains

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, legal professionals were forced to quickly transition to delivering services virtually. Through this process, firms have realized the cost savings and efficiency gains that conducting remote depositions, jury research and trials afford.  Moving forward, many legal professionals recognize that it’s not always practical, economical or safe for parties to be physically present in the same room. DecisionQuest offers a portfolio of remote capabilities that can be leveraged at any time, from any location, to keep cases on track for a fraction of the cost associated with traditional in-person services.

Jeffrey Herman, J.D., Executive Vice President, DecisionQuest, added “We’ve never shied away from operating virtually. In fact, we’ve developed systems that allow our clients to take advantage of the value of our services remotely. Our robust digital infrastructure allows us to conduct online jury studies, mock trials and focus groups with JuryLive® and juror surveys through CaseXplorer®, leveraging our pool of over 3,000,000 online surrogate jurors. These tools provide our clients with early insight into risk assessment, the ability to gauge jurors’ reactions to arguments in realtime and a platform to test the case strategy before trial. The ability to conduct strategy exercises remotely has saved our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours.”

DecisionQuest Support of the First Virtual United States District Court Bench Trial

Once the court determined the platform they wished to use for the trial, DecisionQuest immediately provided the following:

  • Technology Consultation
    DecisionQuest participated in calls between the court and all parties/attorneys to gather pertinent information related to the trial, including the remote court schedule, connection details, setup requirements, how witnesses would be sequestered digitally, how exhibits would be provided to all parties and public participation protocol.
  • Platform Setup & Training
    DecisionQuest conducted multiple “test run” training sessions with our client and witnesses to review platform functionality, including webcam use, screen sharing capabilities, introduction of exhibits and more. We designed virtual backgrounds and, where that application was not feasible, we created physical backdrops scaled to the participants’ environment.
  • Strategic Remote Courtroom Design
    Our client opted to participate remotely from their office. To ensure everyone’s safety, DecisionQuest reviewed the building schematics along with the client to create specific room configurations that replicated the functions of a courtroom, while adhering to social distancing protocols. In each room, all equipment was strategically placed for optimal use and effect – desk height, camera placement, microphones and lighting were positioned to ensure our client would be seen and heard clearly by all attendees. Comprehensive accommodations were established, including designated rooms for:

    • Main courtroom
    • Observation gallery
    • Multiple witness preparation rooms
    • Secure, tech-free (offline) meeting room

meeting room layout

  • Equipment Installation & Testing
    Days before the trial commenced, and prior to the start of each day’s proceedings, we conducted multiple tests, ensuring all systems and participants were online and operational.
  • Persuasive Legal Graphic Design
    The DecisionQuest graphic consultants developed a visual case strategy with powerful illustrations, animations and timelines to covey complex facts in a clear and engaging format.
  • Trial “Hot Seat” Technician
    DecisionQuest trial technicians remained onsite with our client for the duration of the trial to manage and maintain all technology and provide on-demand support. Our trial technician seamlessly presented exhibits, demonstratives and videos and as needed quickly pivoted based on cues from Counsel.

Main Courtroom Setup for Trial Team:

courtroom set up overview

Court, Counsel & Witness View:

court, counsel, and witness view in a remote deposition

For depositions that need to take place before trial, U.S. Legal Support offers RemoteDepo™.

RemoteDepo™ enables you to facilitate a complete remote deposition using video conference technology. Everyone can participate remotely and interact as if they were in the same room. Communicate in realtime, upload and introduce exhibits electronically, observe witness body language and seamlessly facilitate questioning. The deposition will proceed as normal, including the delivery of the certified transcript.  Participants can join from one of U.S. Legal Support’s 85+ nationwide offices or from the safety and comfort of their own home or office.

For ongoing exhibit storage and accessibility in complex cases, InstantExhibit+™ provides a secure online repository for continuous exhibit storage and sharing.

To learn more about virtual trial support or any of DecisionQuest’s services, please email [email protected].