Picture This: A Click Can Make Your Case

How many words is a picture really worth?

By: Merle Haas, Esq.

Attorneys are wordsmiths, good at making logical, compelling arguments and backing them up with legal authority. But sometimes words don’t go quite far enough. I credit a recent success as well as another strong brief to the judicious use of photographs supplied by my clients. Both cases involved satellite dishes, improperly situated. I could have filled volumes describing the strictures of the Master Deed and the placement of the offending dishes.  But not only would I have lost my audience; even worse, I would never have approached the clarity and conciseness expressed in a simple photo of the scene.

Pictures not only enhance an argument; sometimes, they avert confusion. In arguing recently about obligations vis-à-vis a back porch, I did not realize that the porch in question was an enclosed, three-season porch. Once I was shown a picture of the porch at issue, I quickly revised my argument about who is responsible for snow removal.  It was a case of the client not knowing what I did not know, and me assuming that this porch – which was not well described in the governing documents – was a typical exposed porch, open to the elements.

These days, it is easy and instantaneous to take and send a photo. If there is even a remote chance that it will help your argument or aid your attorney, by all means point and shoot!