Animation Entrepreneurs Make A Legal Killing

Fortune Small Business:

An animated video shows a woman jogging by the side of a road – until a wayward car sends her flying into the grass. In another, a motorcycle crashes into a truck parked in the bicycle lane at twilight. In a third, the pipes in an attic tilt, causing moisture to collect and creating mold that spreads spores through the house and into the inhabitants’ lungs.

You won’t be seeing those cheery flicks at your local multiplex, but you might in a courtroom. Legal Art Works, based in Jacksonville, produced them to help its clients win – or stave off – multimillion-dollar litigation payouts.

Animation has long served as a powerful tool in the courtroom. What better way to explain a complex series of events to a jury? The cost, however, used to be prohibitive for all but the most high-profile firms. Now cheaper, faster computing power has led to a litigation-animation boom.

According to the American Bar Association, 25% of firms with 50 to 99 attorneys used the technology in 2007, vs. 4% in 2006. More than 20 small businesses currently provide one-stop shopping for accident reconstruction, medical illustration, and animation services.

Legal Art Works charges between $5,000 and $20,000 for its videos, 25% of which is pure profit. Founded in 2003 by Jeff Davis, a former medical illustrator, the company’s revenues have doubled every year, hitting $500,000 in 2007.

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Photo by Legal Art Works.

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