Fake Surveys

December 14th, 2017|

There is a trend in recent years for every purchase, service encounter, or dining experience to end with a customer satisfaction survey. As useful as feedback can be, it is, obvious to me that many of these “surveys” are better called “fake surveys.” That is, they lack objectivity and they lack validity. As an example, I got my vehicle serviced, and when I picked it up, the service representative forewarned me that his (to remain nameless) car company would be sending me a survey. Further, he said he hoped I could rate him “excellent” in all categories because anything less

Finding Scrooge: Trial-Tested Tips for Seating a Defense-Friendly Jury

December 13th, 2017|

The holidays are a wonderful time of generosity, when we open our hearts and wallets to those we love, and sometimes, complete strangers. But in the legal industry, some litigants shy away from jury trials during the holidays, if for no other reason than to avoid a box filled with jurors who feel a tad indulgent. Civil defendants roll the dice each and every time they go to trial and risk of receiving a multi-million-dollar judgment. (Just ask J&J.) When it comes to money damages, defendants typically fare better when bleeding hearts are not seated on the jury panel –

A Surprising Lesson From Voir Dire

December 12th, 2017|

I get excited when I am called for jury duty. After all, my entire 25-year professional career has been focused on persuading judges and juries. Serving on a jury is a rare opportunity to get a view from the inside. It allows me to confirm everything I routinely watch in mock trials and have learned. For example, see 10 Things Every Mock Jury Ever Has Said. When I get called, and yesterday was that rare day, I watch everything -- from how potential jurors are organized to the racial, ethnic, and gender composition of the pool, and every little choice the lawyers make,

Repeating the Importance of Repeating

December 11th, 2017|

By Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D. The value of repetition as a simple and practical strategy for persuasion at trial cannot be overstated. However, despite the fact that I repeatedly emphasize this point on repetition to clients at trial, the level of repetition is often insufficient. I have found that it is not uncommon for an attorney to believe that he or she is using repetitive language to make a point, but when reviewing transcripts, the use of this language is fairly limited. Saying something a couple of times over trial simply does not cut it. If a particular message is

Jury Selection: Logistics

December 9th, 2017|

So often we write about the social science and theory behind sound jury selection. But there is one element – not sufficient alone, yet necessary to a successful jury selection – that goes unnoted. It is jury selection logistics, the coordination of processes, people, information collection, and facilitation of appropriate decision-making. To oversimplify, jury selection is a critical process whereby a trial advocate and her team are identifying jurors’ experiences and attitudes in order to determine if they have a, or a series of, pre-dispositions that increase the chances that they will be resistant to the case story, themes, evidence, or witnesses. In the

When Preparing to Present, Talk, Don’t Read

December 8th, 2017|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:  In my line of work, I find myself on my feet giving presentations quite often: marketing talks, CLE seminars, strategy sessions. I prepare for those opportunities pretty extensively, but here is one thing I don't do as part of that preparation: I don't sit and review my notes. I do prepare notes, and I do make sure that I devote plenty of time to planning out what I'm going to say, for example, when a given slide is on the screen. That's especially true since I don't believe in text-heavy slides that, in effect, put the speaker's notes

Joint Defense Groups: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

December 6th, 2017|

Quite frequently, defendants in major cases will decide to form joint defense groups. Joint defense groups are intended to provide defendants with significant efficiencies that result from common effort in facing a common adversary, whether in a patent case against the same patent holder, tort litigation against the same set of injured people, white-collar criminal actions against the government, antitrust litigation against the same plaintiff, and so on. But joint defense groups, which by their nature bring together several high-powered lawyers at a single defense table in the courtroom, can present unique challenges. Sometimes, joint defense groups will work as

Do You Know What Question Your Jurors are Really Answering in Deliberations?

December 4th, 2017|

By Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D. In his 2011 book Thinking Fast and Slow, famed psychologist and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman wrote this in his effort to explain the essence of intuitive heuristics: “When faced with a difficult question, we often answer an easier one instead, usually without noticing the substitution.” While the fundamental concept in this quote is not particularly ground-breaking (at least in today’s world of psychological research), Kahneman’s phrasing eloquently hammers home a critical point for attorneys and how they think about their cases. To be clear, Kahneman’s book is not about juries or jury decision-making. It

Nod Your Head

December 4th, 2017|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:  Nodding your head up and down means "Yes." At least in our culture it does. And world travelers will know that this one thankfully translates to nearly all other countries and cultures as well. There are exceptions, like one country I visited a couple of times on consulting trips: Bulgaria. There, shaking your head up and down, our "Yes," actually means "No," and shaking your head from side to side, our "No," means "Yes." And if you ask me if that creates the potential for confusion, I'd nod my head...or shake my head "Yes." But sticking

Patent Rights In The Post-America Invents Act (AIA) World

December 1st, 2017|

On Native Americans, Patent Trolls, And One Hugely Important Upcoming Supreme Court Decision Julie Blackman, Ph.D. Senior Vice President The best way to determine the validity and so the value of patents is in play.  In 2012, the AIA changed the rules of the game, and the value of patents changed abruptly.  An upcoming Supreme Court decision may roll back the changes that have followed from the AIA.  In the meantime, certain Native American tribes have profited more; patent trolls less. Native Americans:  The AIA Does Not Apply (Source:  New Yorker, November 20, 2017, “The Financial Page:  Patently Odd” by