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Lessons Learned From One of Nation's First Virtual Trials

Date: 05.28.20

Denver: Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell (WTO) lawyers recently conducted one of the nation’s first remote trials. With more than $1 billion and issues of first impression at stake, the commercial trial for United Power, Inc. before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission is of national significance. 

In a related article, WTO lawyers Joel Neckers, Peter Herzog, Marissa Ronk, and Michael O'Donnell offer lessons learned from the remote trial that involved testimony from 11 witnesses. The trial lawyers share their advice on a range of issues:  

  • creating and maintaining connection with witnesses; 
  • using demonstratives in the virtual courtroom; 
  • the challenges of communicating nonverbally with so many fewer tools available; 
  • video and audio setup; and
  • planning for unforeseeable yet inevitable technical problems. 

The case is United Power, Inc., et al. v. Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, Inc. No. 19F-0621E before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. 

Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell lawyers have taken more than 1,100 trials and arbitrations to verdict or award and more than 300 appeals to opinion all across the nation, with exceptional results for our clients. Established in 1998, WTO currently numbers 110 lawyers. The firm represents sophisticated clients in high-stakes civil trials, appeals, and related litigation ranging from complex commercial to class actions to multidistrict litigation.