Some Assembly (Diagrams) Required

Morrison Bridge Truss

When a legal dispute involves complicated information, technical jargon and/or unique physical assemblies, visual thinking tools can help lawyers better understand the facts of the case and better communicate their arguments to an audience. Buildings, structures and mechanisms can all find themselves at the center of a dispute. Understanding how the parts of the assembly fits together is essential to understanding the issues of such a case.

Often expert consultants are involved in a case to help explain its technical aspects. They typically use specialized language and technical drawings that are difficult for a lay audience (or even the legal team!) to understand. When physical objects or spaces are involved, 3d diagrams become a powerful way to communicate key issues: they can be used throughout a case to test theories, support expert testimony, and leave a strong impression on fact finders.

We work with attorneys and their consultants to develop digital models and custom graphics to help explain how pieces fit together to form a whole. Here are a few representative projects that show what this is all about.

Construction defect cases are especially well-suited to the use of visual thinking tools. These cases practically cry out for digital models and good 3d diagrams to first understand, and then explain, the construction failures at issue. Inevitably, there is a lot of vocabulary that needs to be taught. Clear illustrations make that simple and unambiguous, such as these diagrams of the Morrison Bridge:

In this example, we developed a random-access interface to allow a legal team to demonstrate extensive problems with the construction of a school building:

Here, we created a series of explanatory diagrams to show the theory of how improper operation of an industrial glass melter caused a catastrophic failure:

Sometimes an expert is more comfortable explaining things using a pen to create a "live diagram" in real time. A clean and accurate base drawing can support this effort, making for effective testimony:

But it isn't just buildings and large structures that can be examined in this way. Smaller assemblies, such as this caliper brake, can too:

Ady Leverette was a designer and a principal at Fat Pencil Studio between 2011 and 2018.