Attorney at Law Magazine Publisher Sarah Torres sat down with MotionLit founders and twin brothers Vache and Vahe Garabedian.
AALM: Why do clients come to MotionLit?
Vahe: We are a visual support company providing video production, 3-D animations, medical illustrations and remote trial technician services for plaintiff and defense attorneys in areas of law including personal injury, product liability, medical malpractice, business litigation and class-action mass-tort cases.
From pre-lit stages all the way to trial, attorneys hire my twin brother, Vache, and me—plus our talented staff—to prepare engaging visuals for their claims and trial exhibits. For settlement mediations, attorneys order our signature demand package videos, which is like their mediation brief in an eight-to-12-minute video presentation. Plaintiff attorneys who are ready to settle their cases or bolster higher-valued offers pair demand package videos to their demand letters to show a revealing and comprehensive evaluation of their clients’ “day in the life,” before and after their losses.
We bring the same visual technologies to court to help convey the plaintiffs’ stories and causes of action.
AALM: How far back have the two of you been creating videos, and how did you found MotionLit?
Vache: Vahe and I have been working together since childhood, producing 3-D computer-aided designs for our father’s jewelry manufacturing company in downtown Los Angeles. This is how we developed an eye for good aesthetics and commercial design, along with strong a work ethics in production manufacturing. We took our skills to the entertainment industry for major studios including Nickelodeon and HBO, and that’s where felt our passion for movie-making and storytelling. We scored two major movie deals with HBO and Cinemax networks, followed by worldwide distribution for our award-winning films. During the late ‘90s, we began partnering with local and state attorney associations, filming and selling recorded CLE educational seminars on VHS tapes and DVDs under the name legal educational consortium.
It wasn’t too long thereafter that we created a new video presentation product for the legal industry called settlement video brochure, commonly known today as settlement video, that attorneys use as a tool for their demand packages and mediations. The settlement video was a new medium for practicing lawyers to tell a biographical story of the injured plaintiffs’ lives by filming professionally recorded interviews with friends and family members, and describing their experiences with the claimants. In addition to describing the damages, the videos provide a comprehensive explanation of the disputed liability facts and theories in the case.
This product spread like wildfire. It quickly became a standard practice for pre-trial settlement negotiations, and high-profile law firms including Kiesel Law, Greene Broillett Wheeler, Girardi & Keese, Glickman & Glickman, Grassini & Wrinkle were using it.
From inception, we created a niche and a brand-new video market, bringing the film industry into the litigation world by turning the spotlight on to the clients’ stories.
With the success of our signature videos, we kicked off our career and reputation in the local legal community as the “video masters.” We sold our former business and launched MotionLit, a company that promised an innovative new way of doing business founded on four fundamental P words: product, passion, process and price.
AALM: How did you come up with the idea to interview family members in your videos, and what kind of impact do they make?
Vahe: The idea originally started 20 years ago, while we were shooting day-in-the-life videos and editing expert witness depositions for trial. It dawned on us, “Why don’t we cut together pre-trial deposition excerpts edited together in a collection of witness statements prepared for settlement purposes?” This notion of making shorter videos—which at that time we called a video brochure, included spliced day-in-the-life footage and digitized client testimony—became widely popular and effective. Settlement videos not only sped up the workflow for law firms, but showcasing family interviews to the defendants allowed opposing council to thoroughly evaluate the case more effectively and help establish substantial claims that words alone could not. Non-economic impacts, loss of consortium and emotional trauma experiences would not usually be effectively expressed on paper or in a deposition transcript.
AALM: How does video aid an attorney in making a case?
Vahe: Putting a face on the case reminds adversaries that these claims aren’t just claim numbers—that they belong to real people, who express their love and care, and share memories and experiences of the reprehensible losses endured by the plaintiffs friends, family and community. This information can be invaluable, and we have often received feedback from insurance adjustors and defendants that after watching the video, they were “emotionally moved.” At the very least, settlement videos also allow the representing lawyers to study their own clients and determine who will become designated witnesses on the stand.
AALM: What types of technologies have you introduced to courtrooms?
Vahe: In 2014, Vache and I developed the first-admitted electronic jury tablet system to display exhibits for jurors on iPad tablets. The system allows jurors and lawyers to simultaneously play back and examine trial exhibits right from the palm of their hands in the courtroom, with individually programmed iPads, all synced and streamed together. It is especially effective when the jury is deliberating and viewing exhibits, annotating and reaching a verdict. Our jury tablet was first used in L.A. Superior Court and is now used widely in courts throughout California.
Another of our innovations is color tracking, a video enhancement service that helps clarify surveillance video footage when you’re presenting in the courtroom. Video color tracking is a unique video enhancement technique—a two-step imaging and key-framing process that allows security videos to look clearer and sharper by color-coding or highlighting the subjects’ movements in every frame of the video. When the video plays, you can easily see and identify the subjects moving in the scene. This can turn the tide in a case, especially when we pair it with 3-D accident reconstruction for those involving fights, accidents, slip-and-falls, and night scenes.
AALM: What kinds of support do you offer for attorneys to use the technology in the courtroom?
Vache: We offer a complete trial support solution for attorneys, with visual aids such as 3-D animations, medical illustrations, and day-in-the-life videos, to trial technical support and database software management. We have a reputation in the legal community as one of the most reliable tech-support companies in town. Our trial technicians travel across the country, helping lawyers prepare for their trial from start to finish by providing the technology, editing videos, syncing depositions, printing binders and loading their trial exhibits in an organized workflow to play back in court.
We also offer complete remote technician services with virtual video conferencing for hearings and appearances.
AALM: How have your services saved clients time and money?
Vahe: The general pricing for producing legal videos, animations and demonstrative graphics—ranging from $5,000 to $12,000—is an investment in a case that ultimately brings better value and larger offers on the table. However, we recognize that some lawyers believe that not all cases justify the cost of producing a video or an animation. So because we believe that every case, big or small, deserves the same visual attention, we came up with a smarter pricing structure
Our MotionLit pricing guide is a smarter and faster pricing system that makes our services more accessible to ALL lawyers, allowing firms to justify the cost of the service for their case, no matter what size. We think it’s the best pricing structure in the market due to its “base rate” approach that allows lawyers with any size case to scale up or down depending on their desired service needs or budget.
With over two decades of experience, we’ve mastered the skill of estimating how much time is needed to complete a project, creating an ordering experience that’s as easy as ordering pizza!
Record-breaking verdicts and settlements aided by MotionLit:
$125MM (Briones v. Zink) Gary A. Dordick, Dordick Law
$70.5MM (Cuevas)Daniel Rodriguez, Rodriguez & Associates
$42.2MM (Doe v. County of LA) Garo Mardirossian, Mardirossian Akaragian
$7.3MM (Kim v. First Lutheran Church)Bruce A. Broillet, Greene Broillet & Wheeler