How Lawyers Will Use Live Streaming Apps to Win Trials

how trial lawyers will use meerkat and periscope by mitch jackson 200During a jury trial, one of the biggest challenges you face as a lawyer is trying to figure out what a jury wants or needs to hear. It’s often difficult to determine how your jury is interpreting the facts and evidence. Currently, lawyers are forced to decode a jurors body language and speculate as to its meaning.

This uncertainty is about to stop. Trials will involve real time feedback from jurors, the judge and almost everyone else, in and out of the courtroom, who may be participating in the event.

I’m talking about real-time video streaming technology now offered by new and increasingly popular apps like Meerkat, Periscope, Hangwith, and Stringwire. I believe this technology will change communication as we know it and alter how we will try cases in the future.

Meerkat and Periscope allow anyone to live stream anywhere in the world using a smartphone. Unlike ordinary video services, these streaming apps allow your audience of almost any size to communicate back to you in real time. These communications take the form of real-time comments, texting and other forms denoting approval like floating hearts and likes. In the future, I expect new feedback forms like video, audio, vibration and color responses to be added to the mix.

I recently used both Meerkat and Periscope to live stream my son’s soccer game to the world. By sharing a video of the game from the sidelines with my iPhone 6, soccer fans were able to view and comment on the play. Some enthusiastically corrected calls made out on the pitch by the referee. One viewer made me smile with his remarks about an AR (sideline referee) interacting with the coach in the heat of battle. The real-time back and forth with my audience created a unique event.

To understand how upcoming live real-time platforms like Meerkat and Periscope will change trial practice forever, consider the following:

You’re in the middle of cross-examination and a live video stream is being shared with your jury, judge and court staff. Depending on the court, the video stream is either projected overhead or to a more personal viewing device, like a smartphone or possibly wearable tech like Google Glass or Apple Watch.

As you ask witnesses questions, the jury is sharing instant feedback indicating they are interested in this particular area of inquiry, even suggesting that you dig deeper. Jurors share comments and give you guidance from their screens. Their input and feedback is instantly relayed to you via confidential text, comments, vibrations or colors. In real time, you can tell what they want to know and what is of interest to the 12 people who will be deciding your case. You are free to use the feedback or completely disregard it.

Let’s say you have an expert on the stand and are presenting a large diagram depicting a bridge showing its components and how it was constructed. As you ask your expert witness to explain different items on the exhibit, real-time comments and questions are streamed directly to you from one or more jurors. They ask for a clarification or possibly a more detailed description concerning an aspect of the exhibit. Depending on the relevance of their questions, you respond by spending a few more minutes with your expert answering the jurors’ questions. The result is a more effective use of your expert providing tailored information to your jury.

This real-time technology will be used by jurors and consulting experts both in and outside the courtroom. This added input will avoid issues being missed by the 12 most important people in the courtroom.

Currently, many trial judges are allowing jurors to submit written questions after lawyers are done examining a witness. Most of the time, jurors ask good questions, and it’s interesting for counsel and the judge to see what jurors are focusing on. If the juror questions are appropriate, the witness is asked questions. The result is a more satisfied and informed jury.

Apps like Meerkat, Periscope, Hangwith and Stringwire could compliment this process in real time and make the courtroom communication process much more efficient and meaningful. Ultimately, these apps could help jurors render a higher level of justice in our courtrooms.

There is no doubt that these types of apps will forever change how lawyers try cases. This real-time interaction during trial will allow an attorney to provide a more effective presentation to the judge and jury.

For trial lawyers, I hope we will have the chance to try a case together using this new technology. Until then, I look forward to seeing you around town, at the next legal convention and on the digital platforms. We can connect on Twitter, Meerkat and Periscope via @mitchjackson


Related articles and links:

How Trial Lawyers Will Use Google Glass To Select Juries and Win Cases! 

Jon-Mitchell-Jackson-Orange-County-Personal-Injury-and-Wrongful-Death-Lawyer-175Jon Mitchell “Mitch” Jackson enjoys combining law, technology and social media to hack and improve our legal system. He has been a trial lawyer for 28 years and was a 2013 California Litigation Lawyer of the Year (CLAY Award) and 2009 Orange County Trial Lawyer of the Year. When he’s not trying cases, Mitch uses social media and technology to help good attorneys become great trial lawyers and to show everyone (not just lawyers) how to communicate better. His law firm website is and his communication tips blog is Outside of law and the courtroom, Mitch enjoys interviewing people from around the world who are disrupting industries and influencing change at Human.Social


12 Ways to Share and Promote Your Live Stream

Mitch Jackson- 12 Ways to Share Content on Social MediaI originally shot this Spreecast before apps like Meerkat and Periscope were created. Having said that, these tips will work for these new platforms and your ability to share your new live streaming content is limited only by your imagination.

[also on Youtube]

How to Use Periscope and Meerkat to Newsjack!

Meerkat and Periscope to NewsjackGetting noticed in business has never been easier and at the same time, harder. While the expense of promotion and media has decreased, the amount of quality content, digital noise and clutter has exponentially increased.

What is Newsjacking?

Over the years, one effective way I’ve used to get my message out there and generate a tremendous amount of positive publicity for my law firm is to share my expertise and unique insights about a breaking news story using blog posts, podcasts and videos. I refined my approach after reading about this technique coined “newsjacking” by David Meerman Scott and the results have been amazing. In fact, David shared a blog post about my firm using this technique (click here) and also in chapter 6 of his best selling book “The New Rules of Sales and Service.”

You too can use newsjacking to get noticed and build your brand and these two new tools will help. Meerkat and Periscope are two live streaming video broadcasting apps that will allow you to do much more than simply show the world what’s in your refrigerator (get on the platforms to see what I mean). With these platforms you can instantly Newsjack to an audience in ways never before possible. After all, an important element to effective newsjacking is to be fast. The lifespan of newsjacking opportunities is short and using one or both of these brand new technologies will allow you to be one of the first to share your thoughts on breaking news events. This video will save us both time if newsjacking is new to you and you’d like to learn more.

At the time of this writing, Meerkat has been out less than a month and Periscope less than a week. I’ve listed several good resources at the end of this article showing you how to best use these new platforms. Keep in mind that this tech is changing quickly so always google similar articles for the latest updates.

Because early adopters often benefit from jumping on, embracing, and using new social channels, I thought you may want to know what I’m planning on doing with these platforms. Because you don’t need both platforms in your life, you may want to first select the service that’s right for you. For me, that probably means I’ll focus most of my attention on Periscope. It’s a bit more polished and part of the Twitter family.

Nevertheless, this article will discuss my approach to using both platforms. As many of you know, I’m extremely active on the social platforms and these two new services have really peaked my interest.

Both Meerkat and Periscope are similar platforms that allow you to share a real time video broadcast from your smartphone that can be promoted and watched on Twitter. Because the link can be easily shared and re-tweeted on Twitter, the size of your audience is almost unlimited. Right now, the services are only available in the Apple App store but Android versions are expected in the near future. Desktop viewing apps are also on the way allowing for anyone to watch your live video stream from a larger display.

While I generally Newsjack about breaking legal stories that are of interest to me, the technique will work for almost any business or industry. Fashion, software, health, and finances are all topics on the newsjacking table.

As an example of how I intend to start newsjacking using Meerkat and Periscope, let me take you by the hand and let’s go back in time to the series of events that resulted in a popular and somewhat controversial post I wrote titled, “Who Is Responsible for the Death of Philip Seymour Hoffman?” This is how I would have incorporated Meerkat or Periscope into my newsjacking efforts.

Philip_Seymour_Hoffman_2011 (1)Real Time Example

I’m driving to work and hear the news about Hoffman’s death over the radio. I think to myself how very sad and tragic this loss is. I didn’t even know he had a drug problem.

Ten minutes later I’m in the office, connected to Wi-Fi (not a requirement but it improves the quality of your live stream and saves data usage with your smartphone provider). I fire up Meerkat on my smartphone and quickly share one aspect of my thoughts about how and why drug dealers should be held accountable for harm, death and damages from selling dangerous drugs. I briefly talk about the facts, tragic loss, and then offer my unique insight as a lawyer as to the felony murder rule and related state and federal laws. I invite my audience to learn more and to share their comments at my post (written, podcast and/or video) that will be coming out in an hour or two. I keep the broadcast short, sweet and pithy to attract and keep the interest of my audience. Hashtags like #meerkat and #hoffman are used for search purposes. I may also use #Katch to have the broadcast automatically uploaded to Youtube (see “how to” articles below).

I then do the same type of real time broadcast using Periscope. I purposefully focus on a different aspect of my upcoming newsjacking story to avoid repetition. For example, using Meerkat I focused on the criminal liability aspect of charging drug dealers for murder. This time I may focus on the civil liability aspect including holding dealers financially responsible for money damages. The end goal is to share with my audience, and their audience after they retweet, notice that a unique perspective on a breaking news story is available. I then use one or more of these methods to promote the underlying blog post over the next week or two.

Back to present day

In some instances my Meerkat or Periscope live stream may be my only newsjacking effort. Using #Katch with Meerkat, I can forever preserve my live stream on Youtube. Periscope allows me the option to upload and save my live stream for 24 hours. I expect Periscope to eventually allow for permanent embeds in live Twitter feeds. This will allow you to then take the embed code and paste it in to your website or blog for others to view. With both platforms I would spend a few minutes reading the articles below and learning how to use both properly while engaging others and providing value. Note that these are two new services and changes are already happening almost daily.

While each platform currently offers different bells and whistles, one of the powerful aspects of each is that one or both can be done in minutes allowing you and your message to get noticed and shared almost instantly and globally. Adding value to a breaking news story in a constructive fashion and sharing your unique twist or expertise will not only give new insight and perspective on a news story, it may also result in you being interviewed later that day or week on the local and national news shows. The last time I checked, that’s a pretty good way to be heard above all the noise.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Also, let’s connect on Meerkat and Periscope. My handle on Twitter is @MitchJackson


How to Use Periscope

Periscope news

How to use Meerkat (new features here)

Meerkat news

5 Ways to Improve your Meerkat or Periscope Live Stream

Smartphone data plans re Meerkat and Periscope (why in most cases I’ll be connecting via Wi-Fi)

Newsjacking (list of articles)