Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Questions and answers are stock and trade for lawyers during discovery. Asking the right questions makes all the difference in jury selection and in understanding any specialty area or expert. We have covered a few generic questions and answers below, but know that there are many levels of questions that are specific to any particular case. If you have a generic question that you would like addressed, contact us at info@verdictsuccess.com. For questions about specific cases, please call (310) 446-4555.

Jury Research

Q. What is the difference between a focus group and a mock trial?

A. "Focus group" is a marketing term that comes from consumer research. "Mock trial" is a term that comes from the legal community. A mock trial can mean different things to different lawyers - some people use the terms focus group and mock trial interchangeably. There are similar roots. A focus group and a mock trial are both qualitative studies. Generally a focus group uses a small number of people who are asked questions and focused on specific issues. The term "mock trial" identifies a practical study that includes trial lawyers with live or videotaped witness testimony.

Q. How do we know what type of jury research to use?

A. Getting what you want from jury research should be simple. While we assess your goals and objectives, we also consider your research budget. Not every case needs multiple studies; however, not every question can be answered with a single focus group of just 12 jurors. We first clarify your goals and objectives, then design an appropriate research plan.

Q. Can we find jury selection predictors from a focus group?

A. A focus group is a qualitative study with a small number of jurors. Even though the focus group may be representative of the venue, especially if the community is homogeneous, the sampling is too small to find predictors. To make comparisons to the venue, you need more jurors for statistical comparisons and validity. Focus groups do a good job of revealing insight into jurors' perceptions of the case.

Q. Is it valid to use law firm office staff in a focus group?

A. It depends on what you are trying to accomplish with the study. Getting feedback is important for polishing delivery. Are office staff good at giving critical feedback? If you are a do-it-yourselfer without a research budget, go ahead and test your case. Be careful how you interpret the jurors' responses because you cannot scientifically generalize beyond the office pool. Professional recruiters match the venue more reliably and add validity to your population.

Q. What can be done short of the expense of jury research?

A. Trial teams can benefit from brainstorming sessions, graphics, and opening statement clinics. All have been instrumental in helping the trial lawyer turn a case around. Jury Communication, which brings an expert's perspective to the case, is billed at an hourly rate.

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Jury Communication Services

Q. Is jury selection an art or a science?

A. It's both. Because human nature is so complex, jury selection is more an art than a science. If scientific methods have been used for testing hypotheses, selection can incorporate science as well. There is an art to asking the right questions in a survey or questionnaire. We apply communication theories, psychological concepts, and principles of understanding human nature in the courtroom.

Q. Who do I want on my jury?

A. Someone who will vote in your favor! We hypothesize about a favorable jury and about whom you would want to strike. Jury research is a means to test hypotheses about jurors you would want on your jury. If the right questions have been asked in jury research and a large enough group has been used to make the assessment, we can answer this question more confidently during voir dire.

Q. How can a jury consultant who doesn't live in the venue tell us who to pick on the jury?

A. Experience is the key to jury research. Verdict Success finds the epicenter of the jurors' experience that relates to the case issues. We help you ask the right questions and conduct jury research for answers. Unless it is a small county or district, or a particularly sensitive case, we recruit from the venue where the case is to be tried. Having a keen sense of people is as important as local color and custom.

Q. How can a brainstorming session help my case?

A. A brainstorming session is productive when the trial team and the jury consultant have an open mind about the case. Themes are created and recreated when discussions stem from free-flowing ideas. Analogies can be developed, shot down, and refined. Creativity from the session can strengthen demonstrative evidence and graphics.

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