New Partnership Helps Law Firms Present Their Cases With State-of-the-Art Visuals and Trial Tech

Morgan C. Smith and Michael Kelleher

Morgan C. Smith and Michael Kelleher

Michael Kelleher has joined Morgan C. Smith as a co-owner and manager of Cogent Legal, an Oakland-based litigation graphics firm that provides attorneys with state-of-the-art demonstratives and support for trial.

Smith, who founded Cogent Legal in January 2011, sought to partner with Kelleher so that the firm can strengthen its service to trial teams specializing in intellectual property and business litigation.

Both Smith and Kelleher are experienced trial attorneys who oversee a team of designers and technicians to produce compelling visual aids and provide strategic consultation to help litigators prepare and present their cases. A registered patent attorney, Kelleher was formerly a partner and head of the IP practice at Folger Levin & Kahn in San Francisco.

“I enjoy helping litigators tell their stories in court—it is the most difficult and the most interesting part of a case,” says Kelleher. “As attorneys, Morgan and I know the pressures of getting ready for a big hearing or trial, and how time-starved trial teams are. In that environment, I find that Cogent Legal can be a great help to a trial team—we can understand the arguments and issues quickly, and we know what needs to be done to present an argument visually.”

As attorneys, Smith and Kelleher typify a trend in the rapidly changing legal profession of providing specialized services outside the traditional law firm model. Law firms of all sizes increasingly recognize the advantages of working with a firm such as Cogent Legal rather than attempting to create demonstratives and handle courtroom technology in house. Forward-thinking firms also grasp the importance of using multimedia visual aids for case presentations, and of harnessing legal technology for litigation.

Cogent Legal creates graphics such as animations, timelines, charts, maps, illustrations and slide-based presentations for attorneys handling cases from a wide spectrum of practice areas, including personal injury, employment and construction. This past year, a growing number of clients with IP and business cases enlisted Cogent Legal to develop animations of inventions, to visualize data and to create e-briefs, among other things. Cogent Legal was voted Best Courtroom Presentation Provider in The Recorder newspaper’s 2013 survey of legal service providers.

Smith and Kelleher also work together writing posts and producing short tutorials for Cogent Legal’s blog, which shares practical advice and insights on litigation graphics, courtroom technology and legal trends.