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Objective Data for Better Decisions – Proof for Others

August 23rd, 2018|

I had a conversation yesterday with a client that prompts this post on a topic I’ve had on hold for sometime. When a trial consultant conducts mock jury research, or mock arbitration, or a mock bench trial, the consultant is collecting objective data to report to the client as to the specific results or verdicts by the participants. Using these data, the consultant formulates mediation, arbitration, and trial strategies. That is, we, as trial and jury consultants, in researching the reactions of the fact finders of the case, are building information for the client (attorney) and his/her clients – the

Better Safe than Sorry

August 16th, 2018|

A client of ours recently told me his motto was better safe than sorry. This was in the context of setting a meeting and allowing adequate time for Miami traffic – which can be a real challenge. But, his motto is something I’ve often thought about and attempted to use, tactfully, with potential clients who are on the fence about conducting mock jury research. Over the past 25+ years working with attorneys, I’ve talked with many who were unsure whether it was “worth the money” to conduct jury/fact finder research when they think they have a pretty good handle on

Jurors and the Internet

August 2nd, 2018|

During my recent jury duty experience, I noticed posters around the assembly room entitled “Juror Responsibilities Regarding the Internet and Social Media” produced by the National Center for State Courts and Center for Jury Studies. I am well aware of the issues related to jurors and social media or the internet. And, I think I’d seen a mock up of this poster in the past in NSSC emails. But, being in the assembly room and seeing it on the wall, I had a different reaction than when I’d seen it previously. The poster states: “FAIRNESS TO THE PARTIES IN ALL

Trial Consulting and “The Simpsons”

July 31st, 2018|

The reader may wonder, based on the title of this post, what is the connection between trial consulting and “The Simpsons.” No, trial consulting is not cartoonish, it is not usually funny, and our clients don’t say “D’oh!” like Homer Simpson when they are annoyed. The connection is merely time based and personal. I began my career as a trial consultant working for Litigation Sciences, Inc. (LSI) in August of 1989. “The Simpsons,” after appearing as a short feature on “The Tracey Ullman Show” for several years, debuted as a prime time sitcom on December 17, 1989. Since then, “The

Jury Duty: Hurry up and wait

July 26th, 2018|

A few weeks ago, a multi-colored piece of mail arrived at our house. Melissa got her hands on it when she checked the mail and, sounding like Nelson from The Simpson’s, said “Ha ha; you’ve got jury duty.” I’ll add, again – at least my 4th or 5th time in Broward County. While I’ve written about it before, I had some additional thoughts based on my latest experience. First, the hurry up and wait part. It starts with the security line, early in the day for me; the reporting time is 7:45 a.m. Screening is similar to boarding a flight.

Disconfirming Stereotypes

July 10th, 2018|

Many people, including those who should know better, use stereotypes as a basis for making important decisions. Although, by definition, stereotypes can contain “a kernel of truth” (according to Dr. Gordon Allport, who coined the term), they are often incomplete and sometimes, wrong. A recent conversation with one of my clients prompts this post. The client, a well respected and experienced trial lawyer, called me recently to ask me whether I would agree with the premise that millennials are terrible jurors for plaintiffs in personal injury cases because they are self centered, entitled, uncaring, and cold hearted. I responded that,

Busy is Good!

July 5th, 2018|

Being busy is a good thing when you own your own business, law practice, etc. I find it interesting, though, that other people do not share my perspective. From time to time, when speaking with someone who doesn’t quite appreciate that busy is good, I try to understand why. When this happens, the person to whom I’m speaking is usually not the firm owner, but rather, a staff member. I get it; sometimes the person’s pay does not change regardless of how busy he/she is, though often it does. Several incidents stick in my mind. One was a client’s paralegal

Checking the Price Tag

June 28th, 2018|

The old adage “if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it” doesn’t apply to litigation. In part, this is because, especially in the context of civil litigation, affordability is not decided by the buyer. Buyers (insurance claims adjusters, for example) usually operate as if there is no price tag to check. We have worked with hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of these types of buyers and they have methods they use as a part of their case evaluation to figure what they consider a “reasonable price” to resolve the case – that is, “buying” the claim. It may

Lawyers play chess; jurors play video games

June 21st, 2018|

I “appropriated” the title of this post from a litigation graphics consultant I heard speak recently at a Florida Bar function. I thought she was on to something with this simple, contrasting, perspective. Litigation is a “game” of strategy, and like good chess players, litigators are good at these strategies. They can move all of the pieces as they file and answer the pleadings, take depositions, attend hearings, and participate in mediation, and more. These traditional activities do resemble the strategic actions and decisions in a game like chess. The game changes, however, when it comes to playing “games” with

O.J. Simpson’s Contribution to Trial Consulting

June 7th, 2018|

The topic of O.J. Simpson came up recently in a discussion I recently had about the world of trial consulting. The murder of O.J.’s former wife, and the subsequent trial, was one of the first televised celebrity mega trials. For better, or worse, almost everyone was aware of the accusations against O.J. in that case. The impact on the practice of law in America was tremendous. Millions of people followed every minute of the trial, heard every ruling by Judge Ito, and every argument by the prosecuting attorney, Marcia Clark (who subsequently wrote a book) and the defense lawyers (Johnny