Legal-Graphics, a new division of
Topographic Engineering Co. of Oklahoma City, has plunged into a new
market designing and producing visual aids to assist attorneys in
Visual aids, designed to assist juries in understanding complex
lawsuits, range from simple bar charts to computer animated graphics
displayed in different formats.
Sales generated from Legal-Graphics, founded two years ago,
could boost total company sales by 10 percent within about a year,
said John Pitts, Topographic Engineering marketing director.
Parent company Topographic Engineering, 6701 N. Classen Blvd.,
has posted steady sales of more than $2.5 million since 1987, said
Jim Keating, treasurer of the family-run land surveying company
founded in 1957 by John Keating, now the firm's chairman of the
board. Company sales have increased 20 percent in the three months
since July, compared to the same period last year, he said.
The 32-year-old company, founded in Duncan, primarily provides
topographical mapping for the oil industry. The firm employs 65
people in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas with more than half stationed
in field offices in Oklahoma and is planning to open another office
in Hobbs, N.M.
Sam Anderson, director of Legal-Graphics, said the use of
computer animation in court could explode in about four years in
Oklahoma City courthouses, where use of the technology is now
"The technology is on its way," she said.
Computer animation is a good tool to teach a jury how something
works. In the days of television, pictures bore us - this will keep
the jury's attention."
Many lawyers on the east and west coast have already adopted
computer technology as a tool in trial, noted Anderson, a member of
Demonstrative Evidence Specialists Association.
Legal-Graphics charges $55 to $60 an hour for computer animation
and about $40 an hour for graphics work, plus reproduction and
material expenses. The division employs five people, including
Janice Fowler, a newly hired graphic artist. Anderson said she
expects the division could add another two or three people this
year, depending on demand.
Demand for the new services has come without any marketing, said
Pitts. "It has taken off by word of mouth," he said.
Equipment value totals about $100,000 and includes two
high-powered work stations with graphic capabilities, augmented by 11
personal computers. Other equipment includes Wang mini-computer
equipment and high-speed plotters, which can produce large-scale
maps and legal exhibits up to 36 inches wide and 48 inches long.
The company expects to purchase additional personal computers
and animation software. But Anderson said the company already has
unlimited capabilities because of AutoCAD, powerful computer-aided
drafting, which can produce three dimensional renderings and
Although unfamiliar with the budding technology, U.S. District
Judge Ralph Thompson said he thought it would be permitted in court
as long as the court established trustworthiness in its use. …