Advances in 3-D printing techniques have made a splash in the business and academic environments and have been used to create custom parts and models in a wide range of industries. The items produced by 3-D printers have been used to reconstruct fossils, to create prosthetics for patients, to fabricate educational materials, and to produce an impressive list of consumer products. The use of these devices in the legal field, however, has been somewhat limited. Understanding how 3-D printing works can help your legal firm make the most of these new technologies in presenting evidence effectively.
The basics of 3-D printing
Also known as additive printing, 3-D printing techniques create custom objects by building them one layer at a time according to the specifications entered by the computer operator. This contrasts with most other methods of fabrication, which typically involve shaping of or subtraction from materials to create the finished item. Top-end 3-D printers offer exceptional accuracy and precision to allow the production of extremely small parts for industrial or medical use. The precise results provided by 3-D printing techniques have also been used to recreate forensic evidence to assist law enforcement officials in investigating crimes.
3-D in the courtroom setting
Some companies are now offering 3-D services to legal practices to assist in the presentation of evidence in the courtroom setting. By creating models of critical exhibits, attorneys can clearly demonstrate various injuries and other critical elements of their cases:
- Broken bones can be accurately reproduced from X-rays to demonstrate the severity of the impact sustained in an auto accident
- Crime scenes can be reproduced at a smaller scale to reinforce a particular point or perspective
- Fingerprints can be duplicated and enlarged to show points of comparison
Because 3-D printed items are not actual evidence, they can be safely handled and examined by jurors in the courtroom setting. This can allow a more hands-on approach to evidence presentation while ensuring that jurors have access to the most accurate information on which to base their decisions.
Integrating 3-D presentations into legal cases
In many cases, 3-D models are actually cheaper to produce than comparable computer animations. As 3-D printers and printing services continue to go down in price, the use of 3-D models in the courtroom is likely to increase. By establishing a relationship with a reliable 3-D reconstruction firm early on, legal firms can ensure access to these valuable evidence presentation tools and can make a positive impact on jurors. This can establish your firm as a leading resource for top quality representation and can ensure the best possible outcomes for your clients.
New technologies are revolutionizing the way legal firms like yours do business in the courtroom and in the office environment. Remote depositions, iPad projections, and 3-D models can help you to deliver the most effective arguments on behalf of your clients. By staying on the cutting edge of these advances, you can ensure that your presentations make the right impression on every member of the jury.