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MAKING VIDEO WORK FOR YOUR FIRM

How much do you stand to lose if you fail to communicate your message properly?

Attorneys are constantly sending different messages to different audiences. It may be sending a message to a potential client that your firm is the right fit for them. At mediation, it’s important to explain to the carrier the true case valuation. Attorneys send their jury a much more complex message. It’s important that others are able to comprehend and engage with the message your firm is trying to communicate.
There are a variety of tools for a variety of purposes. While video is a great tool for some needs, it’s not going to be the only tool. The purpose of video is to create an emotional tie between the viewer and the material. There are three common areas where video can really make your law firm stand out.

  1. Web Videos for Marketing
  2. Settlement Documentaries/Day-In-The-Life at Mediation/Trial
  3. Deposition Testimony

WEB VIDEOS
The utility of a web video in 2015 is no secret. When prospective clients are researching law firms, they don’t want to read 100 company descriptions. It’s much easier for the potential client to digest information contained in a video.
There are three main video types when producing video for a website and social media platforms.

  • Head and Shoulders/Talking Head—This is the simplest and cheapest option, involving a simple shot of someone talking to the camera.
  • Traditional Firm Overview—This is a standard web video which introduces people involved in the firm and why the firm is different from others.
  • Conceptual Firm Overview—If you want a more creative video, this is one to consider trying. Usually the attorney has an idea for a video which will distinguish them from videos by other firms.

To see an example of each option at work, visit: www.AJSample1.com.

SETTLEMENT DOCUMENTARIES/DAY–IN–THE–LIFE VIDEOS
The damages in a case are economic and non-economic. Economic damages are easy to determine. Save medical receipts and lost wages, then add them up. Non-economic damages are a bit trickier. How does one prove non-economic damages? The key thing to think about while trying to demonstrate non-economic damages is contrast. It is vitally important to emphasize the difference between your client’s life prior to the event, and your client’s life now. In our experience, there are two ways to easily show this contrast:

  • Settlement Documentary
  • Day-In-The-Life

A Settlement Documentary is an all-inclusive presentation, which presents liability and/or damages to an adjuster or claims committee at or prior to mediation, for the purpose of resolving a claim. It is a visual microcosm of the case, as it would be presented at trial. The elements therein will generally be court admissible – with the exception of the witness statements, reflecting the testimony that will be given at trial. The witness statements are not conducted with the intent of being shown to a jury, and therefore are generally not discoverable.
A Day-In-The-Life video is a court-admissible collection of video clips, usually admitted into evidence during the testimony of a spouse or caregiver. It is intended to illustrate the struggles of the plaintiff in everyday life. The presentation typically does not include any pre-recorded commentary. It is narrated live from the witness stand. Because the material is shot with the intent of being shown to a jury, the unedited camera tapes are generally discoverable and must be shot with great care.
You would be surprised just how effective a video can be at mediation and trial. It really is the best way to show exactly how your client’s life has been changed and why the value of the case needs to increase.

DEPOSITIONS
The third way for a law firm to leverage the effectiveness of video is depositions. Transcripts serve well in having the facts at hand and are searchable; however, the written word does not resonate very well at trial. It is important to keep the jury engaged and able to connect with the witness. The easiest way to bring a witness to life is by using a high-quality legal video production team to capture and edit his or her testimony to an easily consumable video.
It’s important to make sure you know who’s producing your videos. If your production company isn’t offering some of the newest video techniques, the jury is going to have a hard time staying engaged. Make sure you’re being offered the following:

  • High Definition digital image
  • Neutral background spotlights your witness
  • “Network News” lighting techniques
  • Stereo, studio-grade audio

You can use text synchronization to show the video along with the transcript. Studies have shown that viewers are able to understand material when they hear and read the content at the same time. If there are important exhibits, you can use two cameras in the deposition for either split-screen or picture-in-picture. One can stay on the witness as they look at an exhibit, while the other can show the exhibit itself.
To see an example of what your depositions can look like when you hire a professional legal video production company instead of having the videographer chosen for you; visit: www.AJSample2.com.

CONCLUSION
I hope this article has been of some service to you. Stop leaving money on the table and start using video to create that emotional response that will help your client get what they really deserve.
There are two very important things to always keep in mind when you’re thinking of working with a professional video production company:

  1. Insist upon seeing samples of a video company’s work, and compare.
  2. When you talk to a company, what kind of ‘vibe’ do you get? Do you have chemistry with them?

Just as all law firms are not the same, all video production companies are not the same. Make sure that your firm is working with a high-quality video team that knows what your message is and the best way to tell it. The difference can be significant in your client’s compensation.

Rob Fulton

Rob Fulton is the founder of Image Resources, an Emmy award-winning legal video production company. Since 1994, Image Resources has produced settlement documentaries around the country and helped attorneys recover of over $1 billion for their clients. They also produce web videos, day-in-the-life presentations and video recorded depositions. For more information, visit www.i-r.com.

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About the Author: Rob Fulton is the founder of Image Resources, an Emmy award-winning legal video production company. Since 1994, Image Resources has produced settlement documentaries around the country and helped attorneys recover of over $1 billion for their clients. They also produce web videos, day-in-the-life presentations and video recorded depositions. For more information, visit www.i-r.com.

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