In March 2020, courts around the world were forced to make a shift to a virtual method of doing things. According to Kyle Newman, leading New York personal injury lawyer, this had altered the landscape of the legal industry forever. “Most courts prior to the pandemic had never done anything virtually,” Newman explains, “And almost overnight, they were forced to take their entire process online. This has been the cause of a good deal of chaos, but also some unexpected positive outcomes.”
Some attorneys and courts have handled it better than others. For older attorneys, moving to a digital courtroom was not something they’d ever imagined or prepared for, and the impact has been felt by all. Trials that should have taken a few weeks have dragged on months. This isn’t good for anyone. By halting jury trials, cases have continued to pile up despite the incredible efforts of Court staff, judges and attorneys across the Country. This will cause a backlog for years to come, Newman predicts.
As a personal injury and medical malpractice trial attorney, Newman is particularly sympathetic to his clients. “It’s tough to see people who have already suffered so much, continue to suffer, while they await an outcome for their settlement or trial,” he says. Newman is a third-generation plaintiff’s personal injury attorney and neither he nor his father, James Newman, or grandfather, Harold Gordon, can recall anything like this happening before. Nevertheless, Newman is relentless in his pursuit of justice for his clients. At just 37 years old, with over $100M in settlements and verdicts, he isn’t about to let the pandemic affect his ability to serve his clients. Fortunately, he has always been an avid technology user, both in and out of the courtroom, so the shift to the virtual landscape of litigating cases was a relatively seamless transition for him. “If anything, I have come to enjoy the challenge of the virtual legal world,” says Newman. He has fully embraced the digital shift and supportive trial technology that he and his law firm have incorporated in order to best serve their clients.
For more than a decade, Newman has been a user and advocate of courtroom trial presentation software that enables attorneys to organize and present trial evidence with ease. Instead of wasting time and money blowing up evidence to present to the jury, trial technology software allows users to upload evidence to their computer or present via a projector in real-time within the courtroom, or in recent months, over the recently popular video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, or Skype. “Zoom calls were tedious enough without a long, boring PowerPoint presentation,” says Newman. Now with trial technology, attorneys can present evidence more efficiently and dynamically in the virtual setting with the same level of impact and engagement as it provides in the physical courtroom. “This tool has changed the way I present evidence,” Newman reports, “Instead of flipping through dull and lifeless slides, I can react in real-time to the conversation I’m having with a witness or plaintiff.”
Newman is so passionate about the technology that in 2020 he began working on a course that will educate new users on how to use the software and techniques to optimize its abilities within the physical or virtual courtroom.
The shift to the digital has already happened, and it is likely that things will never return fully to the way they were. As with any industry, attorneys and their client’s ability to succeed will depend on their ability to adapt and embrace new technologies and methods of doing things. Always up for a challenge, Kyle Newman looks ahead expectantly to the new virtual future of the legal industry.