Robins Kaplan LLP
When Robins Kaplan made the decision to hire an experienced audio-visual person eight years ago, the search didn’t last long. They had their eyes on “the guy across the street,” the director of audio visual at Radisson Blu who handled the technology for their annual attorney meetings at the hotel.
That guy was Travis Wilhelmi, who remembers being shocked when the firm approached him. The recruitment turned out to be mutually beneficial though. Today, Wilhelmi wears two hats as the firm’s multimedia engineer and senior trial consultant, providing valuable assistance to the firm and its lawyers in both areas.
As the multimedia manager, Wilhelmi oversees installations and operations of audio-visual technology in all seven of Robins Kaplan’s offices. The main office, in Minneapolis, houses most of Wilhelmi’s hardware and also has a mock courtroom and a conference center that Wilhelmi and his colleagues manage.
In time, Wilhelmi’s role expanded as the firm’s attorneys spotted his expertise as something they could use in preparing for trial. In fact, many of the firm’s lawyers have granted Wilhelmi a “hot seat” in the courtroom.
“Our attorneys might be in the middle of a cross-examination and maybe we have an impeachment clip that we already pre-designated. So if they call for it, I’m the person who says, ‘OK, I’m putting it on the screen now.’ … So you’ve got to be on your game.”
The hot seat can certainly provide an adrenaline kick. But Wilhelmi says his greatest satisfaction comes from his day-to-day work.
“I like that it’s different all the time,” he says. “Trials can be stressful, but then we get some breaks. I know that our LA office is waiting for some equipment, so we’ll be going out there and sort of reprogramming that. It’s hands-on, running cables, plugging things in, drilling holes in the wall. But that stuff is refreshing because it takes your mind off the other stuff. And it’s fun.”