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CLE: Using PowerPoint, Other Presentation Technology in the Courtroom.

April 9, 2011

At the April 9, 2011 meeting of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice (MSCJ),  member and St Paul Criminal Defense Attorney  Thomas C. Plunkett presented a Continuing Legal Education class to the other criminal lawyer members on Using PowerPoint (and other presentation technology) in the courtroom.

Thomas C Plunkett, St Paul Criminal Defense Attorney
Thomas  Plunkett, St Paul Criminal Defense Attorney

Have a theme to your presentation. PowerPoint helps with the presentation of the theme.  Sound Recorder, Movie Maker and PowerPoint are part of the Microsoft Office Suite.  Inserting a sound into PowerPoint: Left click on insert, left click on movie or sound, left click on file.  Set the sound to auto start.

Movies can be formatted by size by pulling on the handles, hover over than left click to hold.  Layering and linking allows jumping back and forth between slides even though PowerPoint has a linear presentation mode.

The Poor Man’s Trial Director. Keep track of slide numbers.  Create a grid in PowerPoint.  Insert a number in one box of the grid, highlight or select it, change the color, and left click on it to insert to a table or hyperlink to another page in the PowerPoint file.
Portable Scanner Snap Scan (or other portable scanner) saves to PDF format, which can then be dropped into a PowerPoint presentation.  Use a digital camera to save an image.  Then insert with left click image and paste or insert saved picture from pull down menu.  Animate slides by left click Animations, then custom animation, then chose transitions.

Practical tips for use in courtrooms. Survey the courtroom after initial appearance.  Bring a cord or link to projector.  Determine
resolution on projector to coordinate with computer.  Back up program to a CD.  Use PowerPoint to link, compare and contrast exhibits, testimony, and argument – whether documents, video, audio, or graphics.

Remember that PowerPoint and other presentation technology should aid and assist your presentation.  But the technology should not be the focus.  Your theme should be your focus.  Technology can help you help others see your theme more clearly.

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