Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly all judicial proceedings were conducted in person. When cases spiked in March 2020, court practices changed almost overnight, transitioning to remote hearings through virtual platforms such as Zoom. As some courts seek to restore in person proceedings, one thing is clear: attorneys should reasonably expect a certain number of judicial proceedings to remain remote – including jury trials.

Taylor | Anderson, LLP’s Dallas office recently obtained a very successful result in a Zoom jury trial. Though the trial had a familiar structure and cadence, the electronic platform certainly presented new challenges and considerations. Below are some areas to keep in mind if facing the possibility of a virtual jury trial:


Organization is key in any trial but especially for remote jury proceedings. Ensure exhibits are pre-marked, saved in an easily accessible location, and readily available to be shared using the “share screen” function of the electronic platform. Determine a consistent methodology for handling your exhibits. For example, the attorney may share the exhibit herself or ask a team member to open them at her direction. Consider sending the exhibits to parties/witnesses beforehand with instructions to open only as it is introduced or have a team member send the document via email or drop box as you introduce the exhibit at trial. Regardless of the methodology chosen, practice sharing your screen multiple times before pre-trial so you are comfortable. At this stage of the pandemic, courts will likely expect a certain level of proficiency.

Witness Preparation

Litigants are undoubtedly familiar with the importance of witness preparation on testimony and presentation; however, Zoom presents an additional area of concern. Witnesses should be prepared on the use of technology and the virtual interface or have someone present to assist. Familiarity with the mute and video off function is a good idea for witnesses and attorneys alike when not actively participating to limit interruption from outside sounds. If the witness will be shown exhibits, ensure he or she develops a comfort level with viewing the documents on a screen and consider provision of a larger screen if necessary for visibility. As the trial progresses, have a team member remain in communication with the witness to guarantee he or she logs in at the appropriate time to testify.

Finally, have an open discussion as to attire, location, and camera angle. The Zoom era has made casual attire more acceptable. However, witness presentation is just as important with Zoom testimony as it is with in-person testimony. Witnesses should be dressed conservatively and appear in a well-lit, quiet location with consideration of the imagery in the background. Some interruptions and technology failings may be inevitable, but sufficient planning should help to minimize disruptions.

Attorney Professionalism

Though the formality of the physical courtroom may be missing in virtual proceedings, attorneys should be mindful of appearance and presentation. The ability to communicate is affected by a person’s projected image, partially created by clothing choices. Be cognizant of your court’s local rules addressing attorney appearance and make sure to dress how you would as if the case were being conducted in person. Also consider camera angle, lighting, and posture. Standing during opening and closing provides the familiarity of in person proceedings and confidence in the message being sent. Mindful placement of your trial outline, such as directly under the camera, will allow you to maintain an eye on the Judge and witness simultaneously.

While it remains to be seen whether remote jury trials will persist in the post-pandemic era, it is possible that remote judicial proceedings through virtual platforms such as Zoom will remain a part of the legal profession for the foreseeable future.

Implementation of the strategies outlined above was essential in achieving a directed verdict and ultimately a case dismissal at trial. Taylor | Anderson, LLP’s efficient use of technology helped clearly articulate legal and factual issues to the jurors as well as the court. 

Taylor | Anderson, LLP attorneys excel in defending personal injury and transportation litigation.  For more information regarding our services, please contact Oliver Krejs at 214-445-5850; or Sonia Johnson at 214-445-5857;