Law on Display

The Digital Transformation of Legal Persuasion and Judgment

349 pages

18 illustrations

May, 2011

ISBN: 9780814728451



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Neal Feigenson is Carmen Tortora Professor of Law at Quinnipiac University School of Law and author of Legal Blame: How Jurors Think and Talk About Accidents.

All books by Neal Feigenson

Christina Spiesel is Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School and Adjunct Professor at Quinnipiac University School of Law and New York Law School.

All books by Christina Spiesel

Visual and multimedia digital technologies are transforming the practice of law: how lawyers construct and argue their cases, present evidence to juries, and communicate with each other. They are also changing how law is disseminated throughout and used by the general public. What are these technologies, how are they used and perceived in the courtroom and in wider culture, and how do they affect legal decision making?

In this comprehensive survey and analysis of how new visual technologies are transforming both the practice and culture of American law, Neal Feigenson and Christina Spiesel explain how, when, and why legal practice moved from a largely words-only environment to one more dependent on and driven by images, and how rapidly developing technologies have further accelerated this change. They discuss older visual technologies, such as videotape evidence, and then current and future uses of visual and multimedia digital technologies, including trial presentation software and interactive multimedia. They also describe how law itself is going online, in the form of virtual courts, cyberjuries, and more, and explore the implications of law’s movement to computer screens. Throughout Law on Display, the authors illustrate their analysis with examples from a wide range of actual trials.


  • "In Law on Display, authors, Neal Feigenson and Christina Spiesel offer us a unified and thoughtful way to parse digital images not just about the legal system, but about the manner in which we interpret it... Law on Display is an important book that both the legal theorist and the practicing attorney should read."

    —Christine A. Corcos, International Journal of Semiotics Law

  • “This book should be on the bookshelf of every practicing lawyer. […] In summary, the authors have highlighted a significant lacunae in the education of lawyers and judges – failure to resolve the lack of understanding of the images and types of images introduced into legal proceedings could have seriously adverse effects on the legal system.”

    Digital Evidence and Electronic Signature Law Review

  • “This is a widely informed, wisely reasoned, accessible analysis of how, for good or for evil, digital visual technology is transforming the conduct of trials and the very meaning of truth in the courtroom. It is essential reading alike for litigators and for everyone concerned with the legal fall-out of our culture’s accelerating shift from verbal to multimedia communication and comprehension.”

    —Anthony G. Amsterdam, New York University School of Law

  • “Feigenson and Spiesel combine their impressive talents in law and visual persuasion to provide us with an insightful account of how new media are transforming legal advocacy in powerful new directions. Their critical analyses of fascinating case studies illustrate how cutting-edge lawyers are employing visual and digital media. The authors alert us to the new media’s transformative capacity yet also its manipulative potential, and cogently discuss the ethical and legal quandaries that new media present for the courts. Highly recommended.”

    —Valerie P. Hans, co-author of American Juries: The Verdict

  • “Feigenson and Spiesel persuasively argue for a more critical and contextualizing approach to the growing flood of digital imagery in the courtroom. Given the enormous power of imagery to sway opinions and the innovative ways in which visuals can now be presented, judges, jurors, and especially lawyers are obligated to know how to interrogate these new forms of evidence and explication. Law on Display serves as a timely and comprehensive introduction to digital visual literacy in the legal system.”

    —Fred Ritchin, author of After Photography