Focus groups are essential tools that determine case strengths, weaknesses, and areas of ambiguity. They are the platforms in which strategies and arguments can be modified before the actual jury decides the case outcome.
Focus groups assemble 10-30 jury-qualified residents of the case venue to listen to summarized presentations, fill out questionnaires, and either answer direct questioning from a moderator, deliberate, or a combination of the two.
Mock trials are more in-depth focus groups and more closely mirror trial procedure. Generally, 10-30 jury-qualified residents listen to opening statements, witness testimony, review graphics and other evidence, and then closing arguments. Jurors then deliberate on the actual verdict form; after which they are debriefed by a facilitator. Questionnnaires are given at variuos points in the study to measure juror attitudes and opinions on case arguments.
The goal of witness preparation is to have the witness not only effectively communicate, but also come across as intelligent and credible. Prepared witnesses know how to listen, understand when to speak, and can communicate their thoughts clearly and concisely under pressure.
At LTC, witness preparation involves:
Identifying the witness communication strengths and weaknesses
Maximizing the witness strengths/minimize weaknesses
Giving the witness an understanding of their role during trial
Providing the witness with communication techniques to maintain composure, be clear and understandable
Planning supporting graphics
LTC can offer ideas for trial graphics, including animations, boards, timelines, powerpoints, and photographs, as well as, oversee their development.
Jury Selection/Voir Dire Development
Depending upon the venue, LTC consultants develop a supplemental juror questionnaire in order to obtain background information, attitudes and biases before voir dire begins. In addition, an LTC consultant assists the lawyer with identifying favorable and unfavorable jurors for de-selecting jurors.
For Voir Dire assistancs, lists of questions are developed based not only on case issues, but also juror experience that may affect their attitudes toward your case.
After the jurors have made their decision, understanding why they made their decision can be a great learning process. This can be obtained in two ways:
Juror interviews - After jurors give their permission to be interviewed, they are asked a series of questions regarding their jury service and reactions to the case. Their insight into their decision-making may provide answers to future cases, similar cases, or a re-trial of the same case.
Client debriefing - At the end of every trial, it is important to review what things bolstered the case outcome and what things hindered it for future trials. LTC consultants review every process of trial and provide the highlights as well as lowlights to improve trial communication for future litigation.
LTC has traveled extensively all over the country in various venues. Case and venue knowledge are important when seeking a jury consultant.
Sample of Recent Venues