Trial Consulting Services
Adding Value at Each Step & Tying it all Together
Our desire to be of service is at the core of what we do. That’s why we tailor our services around your needs. Wherever you are in the legal process, our team will help you assemble the pieces of an actionable trial strategy – one that most resonates with jurors.
Attention To Detail
Verdicts are driven by the life experiences, biases, and leadership qualities jurors bring with them into the courtroom. Focus groups and mock trials are designed to help you empathize with jurors and see the strengths and weaknesses of your case through their eyes. These research exercises shed light into how relevant life experiences and worldviews serve as a filter through which jurors evaluate evidence when reaching a decision. The exploratory nature of this research provides an opportunity to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case, learn which themes most resonate with potential jurors, and test different strategies. The findings can be leveraged to make informed decisions when preparing your case and witnesses for trial.
Focus groups are less structured than mock trials. These informal exercises can be most impactful early in the discovery process. The exploratory nature of the focus group method affords you the opportunity to test competing strategies and formulate a compelling story which can guide you during the discovery process. The trial story is presented in layers as the moderator discusses the impact of each topic on the group. Participants provide feedback as each phase of the story is told.
Mock trials are more structured exercises which are most appropriate toward the end of the discovery process when the trial story is nearly finalized. These “dry runs” help shed light on how prospective jurors interpret opening statements, evidence, and closing arguments. They provide insight into how jury instructions, verdict questions, and group dynamics influence the final verdict. Mock trials help you fine-tune the narrative, case themes, demonstratives, and arguments as you move closer to trial.
These research exercises utilize a condensed mock trial format with larger sample sizes to test your case and better assess potential damages. With a larger sample size, we can provide greater statistical confidence of the expected value of your case. Should the matter not settle, the larger sample size allows for a more precise profile model of the most pro-plaintiff and pro-defense jurors.
These studies are designed to assess the extent and nature of media coverage surrounding a high-profile case and the impact, if any, on the jury pool. The findings offer evidence for the Court to determine if your client’s fair trial rights have been undermined and whether any remedial measures are appropriate. These remedies can range from improved voir dire conditions to a change of venue. Phase I involves collecting the coverage and determining if a community attitude survey is justified. If necessary, a survey will be conducted to assess case recognition and bias in the jury pool (Phase II). Phase III includes a content analysis of the news coverage and social media, drafting a declaration, and testimony during a venue hearing.
These surveys are designed to assess case-relevant attitudes and potential bias among members of the jury pool. They can be used to measure the extent of case awareness, knowledge, connections to the parties, and opinions about the dispute. We sample a representative group of participants from your venue so that we can address these concerns with a specified degree of statistical confidence. Community Attitude Surveys also afford the opportunity to learn how jury-eligible respondents feel about your client, whether they accept or reject your trial story, and whether or not they are predisposed toward a certain verdict. The data can be leveraged to identify biased residents in the community, strengthen your trial story, and develop a statistical juror prediction model.
Our online-based mock trials and surveys are designed to test both party’s trial stories, case themes, and supporting arguments using jury-eligible participants from your venue. This exercise can also be used to pretest your juror questionnaire before trial. With a larger sample compared to other research exercises, the data will help you evaluate potential exposure, liability, and case value. You will also receive a thematic analysis of evidence and arguments that most resonated with plaintiff and defense-oriented mock jurors, and a statistical analysis of which juror attitudes and experiences are significantly associated with verdict preference.
Are your witnesses credible and prepared to effectively communicate their part of the trial story? Through our workshops, we empower your witnesses by providing them with practical tools for telling their story through direct and cross-examination. We address their fears and help demystify the process to reduce their anxiety. Our consultants evaluate your witnesses from the jurors’ perspective and work to help them appear more likeable and credible on the stand. Witness workshops are also designed to help experts come across as objective educators rather than paid advocates.
Through repetition and observing video playbacks of practice direct and cross-examination, we are able to teach witnesses how to eliminate negative non-verbal communication and how to handle “reptile” questioning and tough cross-examination. Whether a witness is defensive or has a language barrier, we can help them bridge the gap and build a rapport with jurors.
The trial story is the foundational structure that weaves together your themes and evidence. It is vital to present a compelling and engaging narrative that connects with jurors’ attitudes and life experiences and is easy to follow. A persuasive trial story that appeals to a broad audience requires careful development, testing, and revision. All of our services, starting with early exploratory research and continuing through the trial process, are focused on helping you craft and refine your case narrative. At each stage of the journey we continue to revise, question, and analyze the strongest and weakest elements of the story. We address how to best surface key players’ underlying motives and help witnesses so that they are prepared to persuasively convey important themes to the jury. Whether you need a limited workshop to fine tune your opening statement or a multi-stage research plan designed to build your story from the ground up, we are prepared to help.
The journey jurors go through as they listen to trial testimony and work together as a group to reach a verdict is heavily influenced by their attitudes, life experiences, and leadership qualities. The attitudes and life experiences jurors carry with them into the courtroom serve as a filter through which they weigh competing trial stories and evidence. We carefully craft voir dire questions and juror questionnaires to help you identify the prospective jurors who will be most, and least, receptive to your trial story and themes. We focus on strategies for achieving successful cause challenges and protecting favorable jurors.
Our systematic and scientific scoring method takes into account how jurors may interpret competing trial stories and the influence they may have on their fellow jurors during deliberations. By shifting the tracking and evaluation process to us, you can focus more on introducing trial themes and building a rapport with the jury.
If resources are available, we can also build a juror prediction model based on data collected from surveys, focus groups, or mock trial research. Statistical analysis allows us to identify the attitudes and life experiences significantly associated with case leanings. Juror prediction models can be particularly valuable in Federal Court where voir dire is limited.
With decades of litigation experience coupled with our backgrounds in psychology, decision-making, and behavioral analysis, we can offer valuable perspective as the trial unfolds. We offer recommendations on how to better convey case themes, enhance demonstratives, develop tutorials, and identify pitfalls that need to be addressed in front of the jury. We also carefully observe the jury to see how they react to opening statements, witness testimony, and closing arguments. Are jurors attentive at critical moments or are important issues failing to land? How might we change course to present a more persuasive story? Through trial observation, we provide feedback on the jury so that your team can focus on presenting a persuasive and coherent story.
A shadow jury provides real-time feedback from a small group of community residents in your trial venue. We work to find participants with backgrounds, attitudes, and life experiences similar to the strongest leaders on the actual jury. Shadow jurors follow the case as it unfolds and are monitored by a consultant. The group enters and leaves the courtroom whenever the jury does and is debriefed at the end of each day. The team is provided with a report each night on how shadow jurors’ case leanings and opinions are developing over the course of the trial. How persuasive were today’s witnesses? Are certain key issues or points confusing? What follow-up questions or issues should be emphasized in direct or cross-examination? Real-time feedback helps you make informed strategic decisions, craft witness examination questions, and prepare closing arguments. Shadow jurors can be used for the limited purpose of eliciting feedback on key milestones including opening statements and central witnesses or for the duration of trial.
Post-trial interviews offer a chance to gain insight into how the jury evaluated the competing trial stories, reacted to witnesses, attorney presentation styles, and ultimately reached a verdict. This introspective process can help identify opportunities to build a stronger rapport with jurors, impact future cases, and discover potential appellate issues. Jurors are often reticent to discuss their true thoughts and feelings with the attorneys involved in the case. It can also be difficult for attorneys deeply invested in the outcome of the case to conduct an unbiased, objective interview with jurors. We have decades of experience in survey design and interview techniques which help us avoid potential pitfalls and elicit honest, candid feedback. Through a carefully crafted script we will learn how jurors responded to witness testimony and came together as a group to reach a verdict. Post-trial interviews will provide you valuable feedback and demystify the deliberations process.
Our seminars are designed to help you empathize with jurors by seeing the trial experience through their eyes. Balancing social science research with real-world examples, our CLE workshops offer engaging and practical strategies around jury selection, witness preparation, storytelling, social inflation, damages, and more.