Source of article 2's Company - Magnus Insights.
So, the reader is probably thinking “duh, right, tell me something I didn’t know.” And, I agree, this should be obvious. Except when it isn’t. The beginning of a trial includes voir dire – asking questions of individuals – to determine which ones the attorney wants to include, or more accurately, exclude from a jury. But, verdicts are not 6 or 12 individual decisions, they are 1 decision, made by 1 jury/group. As anyone who has ever watched a mock jury deliberate knows, getting those 6 or 12 individuals to agree requires compromise. Someone, or several someones, will often have to go along with the group or otherwise “hang” the jury. And, it is this deliberation process, and the back and forth it entails, that enlightens us as trial consultants, and more importantly, our attorney clients, about human decision making. Because we are well aware that not everyone will fully endorse the group decision, we want to ferret out the individual decisions to compare them to the group decision. It is the individual decisions that enable juror profiles to be developed. (The scope of how that works is beyond this post.) Mock jurors are tasked with answering the questions on the verdict form publically, as a group, and, as a simple example, they answer if they favor the plaintiff or defendant in a civil case. They raise hands and vote repeatedly, after discussions/deliberations, to come to a group decision. Ultimately, they answer in favor of one party or the other, while we monitor the process. And, we hear and see who they vote for during the deliberations. I am not giving away any significant trade secrets about our methodology with this next part, but I will say that it is a critical part of our process. Our mock jurors complete individual surveys; one part of that survey is administered after the group verdict is rendered. On the survey, the mock jurors report who they, individually, want to “win.” And, it frequently happens that a juror (or many jurors) voted to agree with the other jurors contrary to their own preference. Deliberations sometimes do not achieve solidarity. We report both the group decisions and individual decisions to our clients in our written report. It is that fact that prompted this post, which might otherwise seem obvious. Recently a client challenged us on the accuracy of our report because 2 mock jurors, who he remembered answering in favor of the defense, listed the plaintiff on their survey as who they wanted to win. We verified the data and confirmed that, indeed, this is what happened. Which just goes to show, while it can work for you, or against you, the individuals comprising the jury have to work together to make a decision not as they would on their own (which you can attempt to ascertain in voir dire), but as a group. The latter is a much more complicated proposition.