Neal R. Feigenson
Professor of Law
BA, University of Maryland; JD, Harvard University
Law School Academic
School of Law and Education 161
Neal Feigenson joined the School of Law faculty in 1987. He teaches torts, evidence, visual persuasion in the law, property, and civil procedure. His research interests include the cognitive and social psychology of legal judgment and the uses of visual media and multimedia in legal communication and persuasion. Professor Feigenson's most recent book, Law on Display: The Digital Transformation of Legal Persuasion and Judgment, written with Christina Spiesel, was published by NYU Press in 2009. Feigenson served as one of the two inaugural Carmen Tortora Professors of Law in 2008-11.
These are some of my recent publications. For others, including works in press, please see my CV or my SSRN page. I'll be happy to provide links to or reprints of any works not readily available; please e-mail me.
Work In Progress
My current projects include: "Experiencing Other Minds in Law," an inquiry into the use of computer-generated demonstrative exhibits to illustrate and/or prove parties' purely subjective perceptual experiences, and "Effects of Demonstrative Evidence and Mode of Presentation on Mock Juror Decision Making in a Civil Case," an experimental study of whether legal decision makers are capable of discerning the difference between non-probative (illustrative) and probative (substantive) visual evidence (with Jai Park and Sandi Soucie).
New book: Law on Display: The Digital Transformation of Legal Persuasion and Judgment (NYU Press, 2009)
Visual and multimedia digital technologies are transforming the practice of law: how lawyers construct and argue their cases, present evidence to juries, and communicate with each other. They are also changing how law is disseminated throughout and used by the general public. What are these technologies, how are they used and perceived in the courtroom and in wider culture, and how do they affect legal decision making? In this comprehensive survey and analysis of how new visual technologies are transforming both the practice and culture of American law, co-author Christina Spiesel and I explain how, when, and why legal practice moved from a largely words-only environment to one more dependent on and driven by images, and how rapidly developing technologies have further accelerated this change. We discuss older visual technologies, such as videotape evidence, and then current and future uses of visual and multimedia digital technologies, including trial presentation software and interactive multimedia. We also describe how law itself is going online, in the form of virtual courts, cyberjuries, and more, and explore the implications of law’s movement to computer screens. Throughout the book, we illustrate our analysis with examples from a wide range of actual trials. To learn more about the book and to order a copy, please visit www.lawondisplay.fromthesquare.org.
Honors & Awards
Carmen A. Tortora Professor of Law, 2008-11 (inaugural appointment); Outstanding Faculty Scholar, 2004 (inaugural award).
New research: Effects of a Visual Technology on Mock Juror Decision Making (with Jaihyun Park), Applied Cognitive Psychology, 27, 235-246 (2013)
This is the first published experimental study of the effects of lawyers' use of PowerPoint on legal outcomes. Two studies explored the effects of lawyers’ use of PowerPoint on liability judgments in a case involving statistical evidence. Participants (Study 1, N = 192; Study 2A, N = 180; Study 2B, N = 189) watched videotaped opening statements for plaintiffs and defendant. In general, defendant’s responsibility was judged to be greater when plaintiffs used PowerPoint slides than when they did not and less when defendant used PowerPoint slides than when it did not. Furthermore, PowerPoint’s impact was greatest when its use was unequal. PowerPoint enhanced persuasion partly through central and partly through peripheral processing. In general, each party’s use of PowerPoint increased participants’ recall of that party’s evidence, which in turn increased defendant’s judged responsibility (when plaintiffs used PowerPoint) or reduced it (when defendants used PowerPoint), indicative of central processing. PowerPoint also functioned as a peripheral cue, influencing participants’ judgments of defendant’s responsibility by affecting their perceptions of the respective attorneys.