Jury Consulting & Research FAQs
How do I know my mock jury pool is going to be representative of my actual jury pool?
Magna bases all recruiting demographic quotas on the most up-to-date census information. We make every effort to ensure that the jurors we recruit are representative of the trial venue overall. We also take the length and type of case into consideration to help ensure our mock jurors’ demographics align with the likely jury pool.
How do you protect the confidentiality of my case?
Across all research designs, mock jurors are never exposed to any case information without first having signed & acknowledged confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. All participants are also screened for any knowledge they may have of the case or parties/individuals involved. If additional levels of confidentiality are needed, we can change identifying information of those involved.
How much time on my end is needed for jury research?
It depends on the type of research you’re interested in. We have options that will require as little as a couple hours of your time and others that are more involved and are excellent preparation for trial. Discuss with us about the various research options as well as how hands-on you would like to be, or any time constraints you have!
Why can’t focus groups reliably predict damage amounts?
Because of the small sample size, damages’ estimates gained from focus groups are not predictive of what will happen at trial. However, focus groups can still gather valuable information about juror attitudes or certain issues that may increase a jury’s desire to award damages.
Why is it important to have a rigorous research design for your jury research project?
When conducted properly, jury research provides the foundation for case strategy, issue development, and the formation of the juror profiles that will guide jury selection. The integrity of the jury research design, including the representativeness of the mock jurors, determines the reliability and validity of the research’s conclusions. Using quality research design, we can confidently distill the research findings into reliable, clear, and concise recommendations for the client.
Which jury research method is right for my case?
A consultant can help determine which jury research method (or combination) is right for your case. Types of jury research include:
- JuryConfirm® (Online Jury Research)
- JuryEvaluator® (Online Damages Assessment)
- Traditional Focus Groups / Mock Trials
- Juror Profiling Studies
- JuryScout® (Social Media Surveillance)
- Community Attitude/Perception Studies
- Change of Venue Studies
- Shadow Jury Studies
Here are the comparisons and differences between JuryEvaluator, JuryConfirm and traditional focus groups:
- Online survey tool focused on damages assessment. Magna drafts Case Summary script for team approval
- Typically 100 jurors respond to description of case over 3-week data collection phase
- Monte Carlo simulation of multiple jury verdicts
- Baseline determination of exposure/risk
- Report provides verdict range and mean, liability and damage preferences, damages analysis and key takeaways
- Online mock trial designed to test themes and arguments, liability and damages
- Attorney case presentations via webcam, using evidence slides and video excerpts
- Typically 1 to 4 panels of mock jurors recruited from venue for half-day exercise
- Real-time deliberation discussions and case verdicts from recruited jurors
- Executive Summary Reports provides key findings, thematic points and recommendations
- Traditional in-person jury research conducted in-venue
- Full attorney presentations
- Typically 2 to 4 panels of mock jurors recruited from venue for full research day
- Full in-person deliberation to verdict and moderated questions viewed via one-way mirror or CCTV
- Comprehensive Report of findings and strategic recommendations
Does Magna have any statistics/data that measures the success of using jury focus groups or mock trials?
The majority of cases Magna consults on end up settling after the jury research, but of course, some do proceed to trial. In terms of measuring the consistency between mock trial results versus ultimate jury verdicts, we do not have clear statistics because they are not comparing apples to apples.
For example, if the results of a mock trial are not in our client’s favor, the team can re-strategize to address the mock jurors’ concerns in hopes that the case is perceived more favorably by the actual trial jury. This creates an inconsistent result, but in the way we’d hope.
There are also so many unpredictable elements to a trial (witness performance, judge’s rulings, opposing counsel’s style, the particular jurors seated) that we cannot control for or represent in a mock trial, and those elements can have a significant impact on the way the trial jury views a case compared to the manner in which a mock jury perceived it. So again, inconsistencies between mock jury verdicts and trial verdicts can often be chalked up to the volatile nature of trials in general.
For those reasons, the results of a mock trial are not meant to be a crystal ball or 100% predictive of what will happen at trial. Rather, the feedback gleaned from jurors at a mock trial is meant to inform you as to how jurors approach the case – what issues they find important/focus on, what themes and storyline they latch onto and what strengths/weaknesses they identify in each party’s case. This information allows the client to address those case weaknesses and play up the strengths.
All that being said, more often than not, the trial jury verdicts in cases on which we have consulted are consistent with our mock jury verdicts. We have also found that the feedback from mock jurors is almost always consistent with feedback from the actual trial jury through post-trial juror interviews, as well as with shadow jurors, who are mock jurors that observe the trial proceedings and are interviewed at the end of each day. Our shadow jurors typically focus on the same issues that our pre-trial mock jurors focused on during a mock trial, which gives us confidence that jurors’ reactions at a mock are going to be pretty consistent with the reactions of jurors who actually observe the trial, even factoring in some margin for error/differences due to the unpredictability of the trial proceedings.
I wasn’t going to share my presentation with my colleague because I don’t want them to see what I am presenting ahead of time, is this ok?
We prefer you do share because this is jury research, not trial. Sharing the presentations ensures that each of the plaintiff’s claims are answered by the defense, which enables us to test the strength of each side’s evidence. Jury research is less about winning and losing and more about learning which points are most salient to jurors so the trial team can make any necessary course corrections before trial.
Why is the recruitment process of mock jurors a crucial component to jury research?
Confidence in the sampling process brings confidence in the findings and recommendations that emerge from the research.
The cost of locating, screening, and providing a per diem for research participants varies widely across projects. Magna takes pride in our scientifically reliable recruiting processes, compared to many other consultants who cut costs by using Craigslist, newspaper ads, or local temp agencies to locate research participants. Others also rely on “professional” mock jurors who routinely participate in research projects to supplement their income or even use other attorneys in their office. These cheaper alternatives result in research participants who may give the appearance of being a representative sample, but who are not a match with the experiences, attitudes, and demographic characteristics of jurors in the venire. The money you save on the research project may end up costing the client in the end.
Matching the necessary demographic, political, social, and economic characteristics of the community where the trial will be held with the mock jurors is essential. Magna consultants begin every engagement with an analysis of the venue that later informs our recruiting strategy. To recruit a representative sample, a consultant must know the attributes of likely trial jurors and develop procedures for recruiting mock jurors who possess those characteristics. The reliability and validity of juror profiles that are a product of the research is dependent on the quality of the research sample.
Be conﬁdent in knowing how a jury is likely to approach your case — speak with one of Magna’s expert jury consultants.
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