The Border Wall Funding Dispute Could Be Won with Pictures

January 11th, 2019|

No matter where you stand on the border wall dispute that has captivated the nation, you have to admit that it is an important debate. After all, $5 billion is a lot of money and who knows if the wall will really make a difference. But allowing between 200,000 and 2,000,000 people to easily enter the United States every year via the border with Mexico is probably not a good thing either. You probably just automatically identified yourself with one of those two previous sentences and took it as your position, right? The other sentence may have even made you angry

Experts: Complete the Credibility Checklist

January 10th, 2019|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: So you’re picking an expert witness for your case. What kind of person do you want? Someone with the highest credentials from the best institutions? Someone with a lot of on-the-ground experience in this area? Someone who is able to teach effectively? Someone who just comes across as an approachable person who you’d want to have a beer with? The answer to all these questions is, of course, yes. Particularly on a complex case, an expert carries a heavy load and you ideally want someone with all of these qualities. If you had to choose one, or if

Internet Based/Virtual Jury Research: Part 1

January 10th, 2019|

Technology is not the answer to everything. I have recently been reminded of this when talking with more than one potential client who was curious about using internet based “jury research.” Specifically, we’ve recently been asked to bid on mock jury research only to learn that the competitor’s bid was for an online “mock jury.” In another case, the client wanted an online “mock jury” for reasons that did not really make sense; I’ll get back to that. The reason I’m putting parentheses around mock juries relative to the online variety is that these are not really mock juries. There

Why So Many Mediations Fail, and How You Can Up Your Success Rate

January 10th, 2019|

Over the last 23 years, I’ve attended plenty of mediations with clients to help them prepare and present their mediation presentation.  But from what I’ve seen, there’s not much actual mediation going on.  Instead, it usually goes something like this:  Mediator:  You never know what you’re going to get with some crazy jury, so your best bet is to settle this here with me.  Would each side like to make an opening statement?  Plaintiff:  We know what a jury will do.  We’re going to kick your butt.  Defense:  No, we know what a jury will do, and we’re going to kick your butt.  (Both sides adjourn to separate rooms and eat M&Ms.  Mediator’s corns get worse going

How to See Your Case Visually

January 8th, 2019|

Every day we become more and more accustomed to receiving important information in short doses punctuated by striking visuals. Almost all of us carry around smartphones that deliver information in quick and often visually beautiful digital soundbites, but the legal world has stubbornly remained mostly analog. There are many reasons for that, many of them good, but it is increasingly important to think about how to present cases with compelling visuals that will capture the eyes and minds of mediators, judges, and juries. In this post, I’ll go through some ideas on how to analyze your case from a visual

Careful Defendants, the ‘Reverse Reptile’ Could Be a Boomerang

January 7th, 2019|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: The Reptile approach to trying plaintiffs’ cases has been around for a decade. It is now expected that many of those seeking damages in products, medical liability, and other personal injury cases, will use a persuasive approach that attempts to awaken jurors’ reptilian fear response and instinct to protect the safety of themselves and their community. While the approach is not new, defendants continue to search for the best ways to respond. And one question in that search is whether defendants should become Reptiles themselves. Is this a case of “Fight fire with fire,” or is

Ask If Your Jurors’ Causal Thinking Is Based on Facts or Possibilities

January 3rd, 2019|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:  In one scenario, a worker is on a ladder, painting a ceiling at a local mall. The mall’s management did not order enough safety lines and the worker decides to go ahead and paint without one. After falling and being seriously injured, he sues for damages. The experiment indicates that responsibility depends on where jurors focus their “if only” thinking. “If only management had ordered enough lines” points responsibility to the defense, while “If only the worker had chosen not to work without a safety line” points responsibility at the plaintiff. Results in testing that scenario show

Beware of Nonverbal Pseudoscience

December 31st, 2018|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:  The witness on the stand pauses before answering, then looks briefly up and to the right while giving a response. While listening to the next question, she places a finger over her lips, angles her head slightly, and raises one shoulder a bit higher than the other. Does any of that mean anything? To some who hold themselves out as nonverbal communication experts, each gesture and movement can be broken out and interpreted as having a distinct and defined meaning. But, by and large, those interpretations will not be supported by valid and replicable science. That

Share the Stakes in Your Mock Trial

December 27th, 2018|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:  We know that once jurors make it through the gauntlet of jury selection and find themselves seated in the courtroom’s jury box, they’ll often be ennobled by their task and take it quite seriously. But consider the mindset of the mock juror. They’ve come in for a one-day project in a hotel or a one-way mirror research facility, and they know that it is an exercise, not a trial. That knowledge might make them casual. Knowing that their verdicts won’t actually take effect, they could treat the freedom at issue in a criminal trial as frivolous, and the damages

The Top 10 Litigation Articles of 2018

December 27th, 2018|

It's my eighth year writing an end-of-year top-10 style article. That feels pretty great because in that time, we have published more than 600 articles and A2L's Litigation Consulting Report blog has been visited one million times. Wow, right? While our blog readership continues to grow, we have also seen consistent growth in our litigation consulting business focused on jury consulting/mock trials, the creation of litigation graphics for experts and opening/closing statements, and providing in-court trial technicians. The world's top 50 law firms rely heavily on A2L when it comes to their most challenging cases, large-scale contract disputes, battles with