Mock Trials and Focus Groups

Trial Phase Focus Group or Mock Trial

We give counsel a detailed opportunity to explore the ways jurors will understand your case broadly, or react to specific aspects of the case such as a single issue, strategic choice, or key witness.

The focus group involves two, three, or more independent juries exposed to case information (via either attorney presentations or summary description from a facilitator) prior to being surveyed and interviewed at several stages on their reactions. Distinct from a mock trial, a focus group is marked by frequent interactions with the mock jurors (via repeated interviews) instead of waiting for deliberations. When you want jurors' overall reactions to the case, choose a mock trial (since the views of mock jurors in the more natural setting of deliberations will be more representative). But when the need for research is based on a desire for more fine-grained reactions to your case, or based on more specific questions about a particular fact, choice, or issue, then the focus group can permit a more tailored answer to your questions. The stages of the focus group presentation can be divided issue-by-issue (e.g., liability, comparative fault, damages), or party-by-party (Plaintiff, Defendant 1, Defendant 2). A focus group can also serve as a precursor to mock trial research to be conducted closer to the trial date.

Mock trial research provides case assessment, a trial run, and a chance to refashion your case into its most persuasive form. Designed appropriately, mock trial research will enable you to discover case strengths and weaknesses, and fine-tune the message. The mock trial involves: 1) two, three, or more independent juries being exposed to summary arguments, ideally including witness testimony, 2) juror deliberations viewed by counsel in closed-circuit, and 3) juror interviews conducted by trial consultants. By viewing the case from the perspective of several independent juries, attorneys are able to use the mock trial research to make more informed strategic decisions in the lead-up to trial, and to structure and sequence arguments and evidence for maximum persuasive effect. Such feedback is invaluable in helping counsel focus its case using jurors' own terms. In addition to answering case-specific questions, the mock trial project will assess jurors' baseline attitudes towards your client and its business operations. This data can help inform future operations decisions, address other disputes, and prevent future litigation.