The purpose of a Directed Focus Group Discussion is to obtain an early assessment of issues in a case. This is done while discovery is ongoing to pinpoint areas that are most relevant to jurors.
This protocol can also be used closer to trial to refine factual and thematic messages.
A group of surrogate jurors are selected from the trial venue and begin the exercise by filling out a detailed questionnaire capturing demographic information along with determining relevant predispositions. The JuryScope moderator introduces the jurors to the case with a short summary. A member of the trial team presents the plaintiff's case, followed by another member of the trial team who presents the defense's position. Jurors answer a short questionnaire after each presentation to gauge their private reactions to the issues.
After jurors complete their questionnaires, they split into focus groups. JuryScope moderators lead the groups through a discussion of their reactions to the issues. This session provides additional input into why certain issues are important to a jury. It allows the introduction of "what if" facts, data, or graphics to see if and how they influence the jury.
The purpose of a Deliberation Group Study is to test and refine trial strategies and themes.
The goals of the research are:
A group of surrogate jurors are selected from the trial venue. The jurors undergo voir dire and answer a questionnaire designed to measure their attitudes and experiences prior to receiving specific case information.
The jurors view an argumentative presentation of the case facts from the plaintiff's perspective. A questionnaire is administered to evaluate the persuasiveness of the plaintiff's "story." The jurors then view the defendant's presentation of the facts and another questionnaire is administered.
Jurors can be shown videos of witnesses the trial team wishes to test. Following each witness video, a questionnaire is administered to evaluate the jurors' impressions.
The jurors are then divided into groups, given an abbreviated set of jury instructions and verdict questions, and instructed to deliberate to a unanimous verdict. After deliberations, a JuryScope moderator leads each group in a detailed discussion to delve further into the reasons for the jurors' verdict.
Jury selection can be one of the most unpredictable parts of a trial. JuryScope's consultants have selected hundreds of juries throughout the U.S., providing our clients an unmatched level of expertise.
Jury selection assistance includes development of a jury questionnaire, analyzing juror questionnaire responses and in-court assistance.
JuryScope maintains a database of jury questionnaires that have been successfully used in many cases, both in state and federal court. Utilizing this database, we can design a questionnaire specifically for your case. We will analyze jurors' responses to a jury questionnaire quickly and effectively, under the individual circumstances of each case. JuryScope will provide in-court assistance during voir dire and jury selection, regardless of whether a questionnaire has been utilized.
JuryScope has many years of experience working with witnesses and preparing them to testify at trial. If the trial team has a problem witness, a nervous witness, or an important witness, JuryScope can work with that individual, in conjunction with the trial team, to provide him or her with the skills necessary to provide thematic, concise and effective testimony.
The purpose of a Mock Arbitration Focus Group is to obtain a picture of how an arbitration could conclude. By using multiple arbitrators with varying backgrounds, the trial team and client will have a better understanding of key points heading into an arbitration.
The key issues to test could include, among others: what points are most important to the arbitrator, how the different backgrounds of the arbitrators could affect the outcome of the proceeding, and how the arbitrators would reach a decision.
A Mock Arbitration is useful for evaluating the selection of an arbitrator, whether arbitration is appropriate for this particular matter and most importantly, how to best present this matter to an arbitrator to make that person understand our client's side of the case.
If there is insufficient time to conduct jury research or if the trial team is looking for an experienced and fresh set of eyes and ears to assist with trial preparation, such assistance can be provided at any point in the litigation process.
General litigation assistance can include:
For those instances when jury research is not feasible (whether it be due to cost, unfamiliarity with the process, or because of concerns about the efficacy of jury research), JuryScope can be retained for Early Case Review for a fixed professional fee.
The purpose of Early Case Review is to draw from JuryScope's 25+ years experience working with juries to formulate a plan for litigation.
Prior to strategizing with the trial team, a JuryScope consultant reviews case documents to familiarize themselves with the case matter. At a strategy meeting, the JuryScope consultant asks questions and discusses the case in-depth in order to best advise on jury-specific issues to guide the trial team through discovery, the development of trial strategy, motion practice, and evidentiary issues.
We highlight issues likely to be of most concern (most persuasive or most damaging) to a jury. One key goal of the strategy meeting is the early identification of trial themes, which lawyers can then develop through discovery. The strategy meeting is also the appropriate time for the lawyers to present their greatest concerns to the consultant and to discuss how those issues might be managed most effectively, whether it be through jury instructions, motions in limine, a witness, or other mitigating evidence.
The purpose of an Opening Observation Study is to supplement the information from a deliberation group research and/or provide immediate feedback as to how representative jurors responded to the actual opening statements in trial. The trial team can then use this information to identify what trial themes came across to the jurors and what issues would need to be emphasized or explained during the course of the trial.
After the actual jury has been impaneled, a small group of shadow jurors are instructed on the task and the moderator brings the shadow jurors to the courthouse. The shadow jurors are not told which side they represent and are instructed not to talk to anyone at the courthouse. The observing jurors will then listen to all of the opening statements, taking notes if they wish. Following the opening statements, the shadow jurors will meet with the moderator for a debriefing session, capturing their thoughts and reactions to the opening statements.
Strategy Assessment Research is appropriate for cases with a limited number of issues or to fine-tune preparations once a case is almost ready for trial. This format is frequently used to test an opening statement.
A group of participants fills out a proposed jury questionnaire and views case presentations. Often these presentations duplicate what the trial team expects from opening statements. The presentations are done live and can be supported by key demonstrative evidence as they would be in the actual trial. After the case presentations, the participants are split into groups and are instructed to deliberate to verdict using a modified verdict form and jury instructions.
Once a trial has concluded and a verdict has been reached, there may still be additional work to be done. Often the attorneys have unanswered questions they would like posed to the jury. Or perhaps a post-trial motion is appropriate and juror conduct or rationale is important to such a motion.
In those venues where the court allows, JuryScope has years of experience locating, contacting and interviewing jurors following trial. JuryScope will develop a phone questionnaire that is unique, concise and comprehensive to each case.
The purpose of large sample Juror Profiling Research is to obtain empirically-based and statistically-valid juror profiles. This type of work is appropriate in very complex cases where the stakes are extremely high and the client desires more statistical certainty about case risks and juror types before trial. This program is run after initial group studies have been conducted.
In cooperation with its graphic affiliates, JuryScope coordinates effective graphic presentations for the courtroom. Our affiliates are some of the most prominent in their field and can meet the specific needs of our clients.
Telephone surveys can be used for a variety of reasons, including:
The purpose of a Moderated Judge Panel is to obtain an issue-specific review of one or more variables in a case or an overall assessment of the arguments to be made at trial from the view of one or more retired judges.
JuryScope will work with the trial team to identify the most appropriate jurists to recruit for the panel, taking into consideration the venue, the judge assigned to the matter, and other factors such as jurists' experience and background. JuryScope will retain a panel of (a recommended) three judges based on the aforementioned criteria. Prior to the study, the trial team will distribute all necessary materials to educate the jurists on the matter. In addition to a case brief or summary, the materials may include deposition excerpts, written evidence, case law, etc.
The day of the research, a member of the trial team will present the plaintiff's arguments to be tested. Following this presentation, another member of the trial team will present the defense position. At this point, short witness video clips may also be played to obtain jurist feedback on potential witnesses.
Following the presentations, judges will be individually interviewed by a JuryScope moderator. In this interview, the judges will be asked to make a ruling on the case based on the information presented and the materials distributed prior to the study. Each moderator will then lead the discussion with the judge, seeking reactions and insights on arguments, issues, facts, and case law.
In the final portion of the day, the judges will be brought back into the main presentation room for a group discussion where the trial team can ask additional follow-up questions related to the feedback provided in the moderated sessions. Depending on the preference of the trial team, the judges can also be asked to provide a written opinion following the exercise.
The presentations, moderated sessions and group discussion are all recorded for those unable to attend or those wishing to review the proceedings.