Getting Up Close and Personal: Using Social Media in Jury Selection

September 13th, 2011|

Getting up Close and Personal: Voir dire is often too brief or too constrained by the preferences of the court or the skills of the questioner.  The advantage of revealing and exploring the values and attitudes of venire members to inform deselection choices often is challenged by the limits imposed upon voir dire.  We do know this: Jurors are more candid online then they are in the courtroom. We know from social science research that responses to Supplemental Juror Questionnaires are more revealing and more truthful than responses to oral voir dire. It’s one small step to extrapolate that, in

Take Your Damages Straight Down the Middle

August 30th, 2011|

The Middle is the Place to Be In a recent blog by Ken Broda-Bahm, “When Arguing Damages, “Drop Anchor” Even in Murky Waters“, he discusses Shari Diamond’s recent study derived from the deliberations of Arizona jurors. “In the real world of trials, is the effect of an anchor as simple and automatic?  Based on a recent analysis of the deliberation content of video-recorded trials in Arizona courts, the answer is “no, not so simple or automatic.”  The research (Diamond et al., 2011) shows while anchoring is a powerful force in deliberations, jurors are also very critical consumers of attorney recommendations, and the supposed biasing

Moralizing Judgment: The Impact of Disgust on Juror Decision Making

July 27th, 2011|

Moralizing Judgment: The Impact of Disgust on Juror Decision Making** Br’er Rabbit and Tar Baby ” Br’er Fox went ter wuk en got ‘im some tar, en mix it wid some turkentime, en fix up a contrapshun w’at he call a Tar-Baby, en he tuck dish yer Tar-Baby en he sot ‘er in de big road, en den he lay off in de bushes fer to see what de news wuz gwine ter be…. “Brer Rabbit keep on axin’ ‘im, en de Tar-Baby, she keep on sayin’ nothin’, twel present’y Brer Rabbit draw back wid his fis’, he did, en

Damages and MedMal Defense

February 5th, 2010|

What medical malpractice defense attorney hasn’t struggled with the characterizations of the harms and losses claimed by the plaintiff? The lore from the defense side is that the defense advocate would be foolish confronting damages claims as it would make him/her and the client look heartless, cold and only concerned about the money. The plaintiff’s counsel is not so constrained. Prominent plaintiff’s trial consultant David Ball rightly asserts in the first few pages of his well read book, Ball on Damages, that, “The only goal of trial is to get money for your client.” Not so shy, right? In the face of

Mediation and Jury Research

August 7th, 2009|

There’s this legend that persists about pretrial jury research. No one knows how it started. Those who first told the tale have probably litigated their last and have gone on to emeritus status. The legend persists and it begins with, “There is a tool so fearsome and dear that only the rich and the brave ever even inquire about using it. It’s called the “Focus Group” and is so lethal that one must only use it  just before trial and then only when the consequences of failure are dire.”  Except for a few folks, almost every trial attorney I know has

What in the Wordle!

July 22nd, 2009|

Between micro-blogging on Twitter and consulting in litigation and settlement preparation at LSI, the blogging has lagged. In the near future, I’ll start blogging again, but aim for briefer, denser and more useable off the shelf information for trial advocates. For those of you who want a clear glimpse of the trial advocacy content from  JuryVox Blog and Micro-Blog on Twitter, a picture is worth a thousand words. Use this link…

Twisted Up Inside: Witness Prep Stress

April 29th, 2009|

It’s not enough to review the facts. The fact is your witness can’t listen or learn if they are twisted up inside with worry, fear and misapprehension. Witness preparation is primarily an educational process. From the very first, give your witness information about the context of testimony, the overview narrative of their testimony, the “job” they have within their testimony,etc.  Education and context can relieve much of their concerns, but in many cases it’s not enough. Clients enter into the threatening world of litigation filled with anxieties and misconceptions about the process. The prospect of testimony under oath can be frightening and stressful. This

Voir Dire: Did you worry about money yesterday?

April 15th, 2009|

When Uncertainty and Anxiety Rocks a Person’s Life, Everything is a Threat In a prior blog (Are National Events Affecting Jurors?) we surveyed the impact of pervasive National and Regional events have upon the psyche and sentiment of jurors. The crucible of significant societal and cultural events can and does create a sea change in experiences and attitudes in the day to day lives of our jurors.  We have experienced The Enron Effect, The 9/11 Effect, and The Recession Effect within the last 10 years. These ubiquitous national experiences touched the lives and opinions of many millions of potential jurors. Perhaps more than

Trolling the Polls: Jury Research

April 3rd, 2009|

Much of what you need to know about your venire is out there. It’s reliable. It’s enlightening. It’s free. Preparing your case for trial involves packaging, that is, arranging your case fact pattern, exhibits, and witnesses within a framework and narrative that is readily understandable and readily merges with the values and expectations of your jurors. Any case can enormously profit from the qualitative results from pre trial jury research. The very best approach is professionally conducted focus group/mock trial research, but not every case can support the resources required for this effort.  In this entry, I’ll suggest a readily available, reliable and utilitarian

Encouraging Juror Self Disclosure.

March 26th, 2009|

It’s your room. Work it. They are your guests. Welcome them. Smile…. In the courtroom setting, the venire panelists have most recently been herded about by the court staff and filled out some form and watched some civics class video on jury service and mostly looked around at their fellows and shuddered to themselves about “This is a jury of MY peers? Oh, gawd! What am I doing here and when can I go home?” Your first job is to tell them you will tell them about their job and help them do it. Once they have entered the courtroom