Litigation

"Designing written submissions to ensure impact and ease judges’ reading"

The Brief

Our client, a defendant in a noteworthy litigation case, came to us with a request : transform their counsels’ written submissions in a highly technical litigation to ensure a clear and impactful demonstration of their case. The purpose was to make technical and somewhat tricky digital issues easily accessible to judges, who may not be experts in these fields.

The Process

We were involved from the first draft of the written submissions and worked hand in hand with the two renowned law firms representing our client – one specialized in litigation cases and the other in the specific legal field at stake.

Applying user-centricity, we analysed the ways judges approach written submissions. Based on our litigation experience, and user research, it was clear that judges suffer from excessive workload, antisocial working hours, and excessive length of written submissions. “I just can’t read more than 30 pages per party” has become a usual “off-the-record” verbatim.

Before some jurisdictions, there’s even an official limit of number of pages.  Thus, our goal was to ease judges’ work by ensuring brevety, giving them “mental oxygen” through cristal-clear information, graphics and overall layouts. We also made the navigation easier between text and supporting exhibits, allowing judges to check evidence more quickly.

The Results

An entirely redesigned set of written submissions, with several graphic changes to ease reading and enhance key facts and exhibits. We cannot share the full version but we entirely confidentialized an extract.

We used a clickable Word format, to ensure judges could directly access the relevant exhibits from within the written submissions. We also used a thread to make sure judges would know how far along they are in their reading, and would easily navigate between the various arguments. Finally, we also made key facts stand out in the layout of the submissions and visualized key complex arguments, to ensure maximum impact.

KPIs

Case is still ongoing, we are waiting for the outcome !

"Creating an impactful overview of complex processes and legal issues"

The Brief

In this litigation case, our client asked us to enhance timelines and process in their written arguments in a procedural matter. In this complex procedure, it was essential to bring forward a brief yet accurate flow of events and key dates, while remaining fairly classical in style.

The Process

The first step was to identify key facts and dates in the external counsels’ written submission, those in particular which would evidence that the other party did not meet a number of validity conditions. Thanks to our extensive litigation experience, we first created an architecture of key dates and facts, with logical connectors. Working hand-in-hand with external counsels, we had these logical connectors validated, then created a visual timeline to support our client’s written arguments. We also ensured that the timeline would integrate seamlessly within the text, in a way which would make the graphic design almost unnoticeable, but just naturally clear.

Obviously, it was key to empower external counsels to remain fully in control of their document until the very end. Final edits at 2am before the deadline, we’ve been there! Thus, we worked in Word document, the most familiar to lawyers. As Word isn’t a design tool at all, this was an additional challenge. Our super talented designer made it and even enjoyed having to go back to the very essence of design: information structure with very little adornment! We also chose a minimalist design, almost imperceptible, to align with courts standards and ensure judges would remain in a familiar environment.

The Results

Redesigned submissions that gave both lawyers and judges mental oxygen.

The written submission is crital-clear and concise, standing out in comparison with the opposing party’s lengthy and wordy arguments.

We created a seamless document, in which visual timelines & processes integrate naturallyin the text – not just as exhibits. We also used subtle changes in colors and fonts to highlight key dates and exhibits.

We were thrilled by our great collaboration with the external counsels involved ! One of the litigators on the case shared with us that our methodology and approach had helped him “analyze the case differently and to see it from a new perspective”. In other words, design enables better thinking!

Key Facts

  • 3 weeks deadline
  • A Word document to keep external counsels in control
  • Client asked us to design the following submissions

"Visualizing complex money flows in criminal cases"

The Brief

Criminal cases often involve complex money flows or financial schemes. How to untangle the facts? How one of the most respected French banks got involved in bribing Lybian officials for hundreds of $ millions to sell derivatives?

We visualised the facts in the case French prosecution vs. Société Générale SA, May 24 2018 (Convention judiciaire d’intérêt public (CJIP) conclue entre le Procureur de la République financier et la Société Générale SA)

The process

Using data visualization and timelines, we created a powerful visual description, highlighting the characters involved, their ties and hierarchical links. We created an overview to ease navigation between the different actors and facts of the case, using  different sizes and colors to create a clear visual effect.

The Results

A clear and concise overview of the different parties involved and that can be used as a supporting document for training, to which you always refer back when analyzing the case.