Source of article 2's Company - Magnus Insights.
CYA, 3 little letters about something important – self protection. Cover your ass – there, I’ve said it. I don’t know when I first realized that attorneys sometimes use a mock trial to protect themselves from their client. There are many reasons for a mock trial but it was perhaps the attorney who once told me “My client thinks the case is worth $200,000; I think it’s worth more than the $1,000,000 policy. One of us is wrong and we need to find out now, not in the courtroom.” This was a defense attorney and, over the years, both defense attorneys and plaintiff’s attorneys have made similar references. In one plaintiff’s case, the defendant driver was covered by a $5 million policy. The plaintiff wanted the full $5 million yet his attorney, our client, knew that it would be unlikely for a jury to award him the full $5 million, thus, he hired us to find out. The attorney was correct, based on our research results, and he used that information as leverage with his client to get him to accept a lower settlement. This “reality check” aspect is a common use of mock jury research. But the CYA aspect goes a step further. Attorneys rarely admit this is the main reason for a mock trial, but some have. They are documenting the file to demonstrate that they did their job, even if they were unable to get cooperation from their client (plaintiff, defendant, or even insurance carrier). If a client “won’t allow” the attorney to use all of the resources available, such as experts, or perhaps the plaintiff doesn’t want the attorney to venture into uncomfortable, personal, territory, or the defendant won’t comply with court orders to disclose information, the attorney needs to ensure that the client understands the consequences of his/her/their actions. All of these things have happened in our cases – and they will continue to do so. Therefore, it is important for attorneys to consider the ways to protect themselves – and one way is to conduct mock trials.