How to Present Your Case

“The Medium Is Not The Message”

Despite what Marshall McLuhan once proclaimed, the medium is not the message; likewise, the message is not the medium. You must never make the mistake of confusing one for the other, at least not in the courtroom.

The message is the content, the substance. It is what you hope the jurors will take away from your case and use during their deliberations. For trial graphics, the message consists of two elements: the content that you want the jurors to remember and the design (including the layout and format) that best conveys the content to the jury. The themes and variations resulting from combining content and design to create the message in a trial graphic are infinite; examples of just a few are in the example section of this website.

This chapter focuses primarily on the medium —the technology—that you carefully select to present your message. The medium is the delivery system through which you channel your message; it is a tangible thing (e.g., a blackboard or an animation). If the message is what you hope the jurors will take away, then the medium is often what you hope they will not even notice. Said differently, you are in trouble if the jury remembers that you used a magnetic board but does not recall the message you displayed on the board.