Good Powerpoint Skills Really Matter

Stark Choices at the First Vioxx Trial (Fortune)
The attorney for the plaintiff presented simple and emotional stories that strongly contrasted with Merck’s appeals to colorless reason.
By Roger Parloff
Friday, July 15, 2005

On the first day of the nation’s first Vioxx trial, in a case brought against Merck by the widow of a man who died of a heart attack that she believes was caused by the painkiller Vioxx, plaintiff’s lawyer W. Mark Lanier of Houston gave a frighteningly powerful and skillful opening statement. Speaking in state court in Angleton, Texas without notes and in gloriously plain English, and accompanying nearly ever point with imaginative, easily understood (if often hokey) slides and overhead projections, Lanier, a part-time Baptist preacher, took on Merck and its former CEO Ray Gilmartin with merciless, spellbinding savagery.

Plaintiffs’ Lawyer Mark Lanier Received Special Powerpoint Training Before First Vioxx Trial
(Illinois Trial Practice Blog)
At his website, Cliff Atkinson, the author of the Powerpoint book Beyond Bullet Points, reports that he went to Texas before the first Vioxx trial to give plaintiffs’ lawyers Mark Lanier some special Powerpoint training.

Once the trial began, the approach to Powerpoint by the plaintiff and defense differed enough that Fortune magazine commented on it..