Jury Consulting Frequently Asked Questions

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:


Here are the comparisons and differences between JuryEvaluator, JuryConfirm and traditional focus groups:

JuryEvaluator®

  • 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

JuryConfirm®

  • 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

Focus Group

  • 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.


Request a free case consultation

Give us your information below to request a complimentary case consultation with one of Magna’s expert consultants, or to request more information.

How Virtual Depositions Work

Virtual Deposition Procedure


A deposition is pre-trial testimony that is given under oath. The opposing attorney asks questions & the deponent answers them. The court reporter records everything that is “on the record” to create the official transcript, which can be used in trial.

A virtual deposition is when participants connect remotely through an online platform. Depositions conducted remotely can still be just as effective and actually have many benefits like being more time efficient & cost effective.

Although virtual depositions (also known as remote depositions or internet depositions) have been around for quite some time, they rose to popularity after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and are likely to remain a common litigation practice.

Click here to read key tips for attorneys to nail their next virtual deposition

Taking a Virtual Deposition with Magna Legal Services

How a Virtual Deposition Works


Equipment

  • All you need is a computer or tablet with a webcam. Most home internet connections are more than enough for a stable connection.
  • If a participant doesn’t have the equipment needed, you can rent it. Magna offers a state-of-the-art flight pack system that we can ship anything needed (tablet with stand, internet jetpack, etc.), even for last-minute depositions.

Logging on

  • When you schedule your virtual deposition with Magna, we’ll send each participant their link & instructions for joining in the body of a calendar invite.
  • Participants have the option to join the session before the deposition start-time to get comfortable with the platform.

Platform Features

  • Here are some features that will be available to every participant on the session:
    • Mute/Unmute Yourself
    • Show/Hide your video
    • View Participant list
    • Chat Feature – Allows you to chat with all participants or chat privately with the session host or deposition manager. You can also share & save documents in the chat.
    • Screen-Sharing
    • Virtual Backgrounds (or blurred backgrounds)
  • Only the host, videographer (and sometimes, the court reporter) are able to record virtual depositions.

Click here to request a demo of the Virtual Deposition platform

Certified Legal Videography

  • Only recordings with Certified Legal Videography are admissible to be shown in trial.
  • If you need an official video deposition, a certified legal videographer can man the record button and will notify participants when going on and off the record.
  • The end result is just what an in-person videotape deposition might look like, showing the witness & exhibits. This can be also synced with the transcript from the court reporter.
  • Some attorneys may have preferences for what they want the video output to look like or include. In this case, they should confirm with the videographer beforehand the style of video they want.

Swearing in the Witness

  • Given the current situation, many venues have passed laws allowing for the court reporter to remotely swear in the witness. If the law is currently ambiguous in your venue, the parties must simply agree that the court reporter (or notary if needed) can swear in the witness remotely.
  • At the start of the deposition, the court reporter will ask the witness to raise their right hand and take an oath, which will sound something like “Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

Tech Support

  • When picking your virtual deposition provider, you’ll want good tech support to avoid delays or connection issues.
  • In addition to testing each party’s equipment prior to the session, Magna provides continuous tech support and monitoring for all of our virtual depositions. If any tech issues arise, your tech will be available instantly via the platform’s chat feature (or can be reached by phone or email).
  • Magna also offers free platform training prior to the session for any participant who would like it.

Sharing Exhibits

  • Most attorneys can agree that virtual depositions make using exhibits a whole lot easier.
  • Paper copies of exhibits are not needed as each party will be able to view and access the exhibits online.

Attorneys have 3 options for managing & sharing exhibits:

1. Attorneys can share exhibits themselves throughout their presentation using the platform’s screen-share function.

In this case, attorneys should plan and organize all exhibits ahead of time, making sure files are named appropriately and are easily accessible.

2. Have an assistant/ colleague present the exhibits for them.

In this case, the colleague will receive their own link to join the virtual deposition and will have the same abilities as the other participants

3. Use a deposition manager to handle exhibits (easiest option).

Magna can also integrate with Agile Law!

Sharing exhibits on a virtual deposition - Magna Legal Services

Deposition Manager

  • A Deposition Manager, which we call Magna LitigationVision Plus (MLV+) is an experienced trial tech that will provide seamless support throughout your virtual deposition. They’ll handle:
    • Presenting exhibits, demonstratives and videos
    • Managing annotations in real-time, including zooming, call-outs, highlights, and markings
    • Creating & managing break-out rooms
    • and more
  • If you choose to use a deposition manager, you will send all the exhibits you may want to use to the MLV+ manager prior to the deposition so they can compile the database.
  • All exhibits you send to the MLV+ manager will also be shared with the court reporter, saving you that extra step and allowing you to get your transcript back quicker.

Viewing/ Screen Options

  • Each person can choose the screen view that they are most comfortable with (speaker-view/ gallery view).
  • You will also have the option to “pin” the witness or any participant full screen.
  • When sharing exhibits, you can have the witness remain large while the document is smaller or vice versa.

Break-Out Rooms

  • Break-out rooms can be used for private meetings with your deponent, co-counsel or others.
  • A deposition manager can handle creating break-out rooms, moving people in between rooms and ensuring confidentiality.
  • Participants will not need separate links to join break-out rooms and are able to re-join the main room at any time.

Realtime Court Reporting

  • Magna offers realtime court-reporting for virtual depositions. Attorneys can view realtime transcripts in a number of ways depending on your preference and equipment (on the same screen or on a second monitor or tablet).

Scheduling

  • Magna Legal Services offers nationwide coverage and easy scheduling 24/7 (online, by email or by phone). Click here to Schedule a Deposition.
  • Options available include:
    • Your choice of platform (Zoom, Cisco/WebEx, Microsoft Teams or other)
    • Deposition manager
    • Realtime court reporter
    • Certified legal videographer
    • Platform training (it’s free!)
    • Interpreter or translator
    • Witness preparation session with a Magna litigation consultant
    • Conference room reservation
    • Custom virtual backgrounds
    • Video/ transcript sync

Accessing Transcripts & Recordings

  • Attorneys can receive their transcripts electronically or hardcopy. If you have Magna Online Office, you can access all of the transcripts and exhibits on there as well.
  • Video recordings will be sent to you electronically via an email link or you can request a hard copy DVD.

Remote Depositions with Magna Legal Services


Magna LitigationVision (MLV) is Magna’s virtual deposition platform, which gives you the ability to depose a witness from anywhere in the world. MLV provides clients with real-time video access to depositions, mediations, arbitrations, hearings, meetings, and other proceedings.

Click here to schedule a deposition or click here to contact Magna today!

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A Guide to Professional Interpreting & Translation

What is The Difference Between Interpreting & Translation?

Interpreting is oral translation (spoken).


MODES of Interpreting:

Consecutive

The speaker and interpreter take turns talking. The interpreter waits for the speaker to finish, then renders the speaker’s words into the target language.

Most common for: events with few participants: meetings, depositions, trials, etc.

The interpreter usually sits next to the speaker but should be “invisible”—speaking in the first person as the speaker, not “he/she said.”

Simultaneous

The speaker and interpreter talk at the same time. The interpreter listens and interprets the speakers’ words at the same time, usually with a 1-2 second lag.

Most common for: conferences and other large events. Interpreters are often in soundproof booths with microphones, while the participants listen on headphones to avoid disruption.

Translation is done in writing.


Types & Formats of Translation:

Language Combination

English to Spanish, Spanish to English, French to Italian, etc.

Subject Matter

Legal, medical, technical & other industries

Translation Volume

Anywhere from a single page to millions of words

Format

Word, Excel, PDF, desktop publishing, etc.

Skills Unique to Translators

  • Usually work only in one direction into their native (or strongest) written language
  • Excellent reading comprehension in one or more languages
  • Great referencing and researching skills
  • Excellent writers in their target language

Types of Professional Interpreting

Legal Interpreters

  • Used for trials, hearings, depositions, attorney-client meetings and more
  • Accurately interpret both conversational vocabulary and specialized legal terminology
  • Maintain a high ethical standard in order to remain neutral and avoid potentially miscommunicating an intended message
  • For international parties, legal interpreters also need to be knowledgeable of the litigation processes and terminology used in each region

Medical Interpreters

  • Used to communicate medical & healthcare concepts for businesses, insurance professionals and litigators as well as between patients and their healthcare professionals
  • Require intimate knowledge of medical terminology, concepts & procedures
  • Require understanding of cultural norms
  • Follow ethical guidelines which protect confidentiality and prevent counseling

Conference Interpreters

  • Have years of highly specialized education and training
  • Understand terminology and concepts for various industries
  • Able to listen for a period of time and accurately repeat everything that was said while preserving the tone and intended message
  • Many belong to professional associations with rigorous membership requirements

Sign Language Interpreters

  • Used to communicate between signed language and spoken language
  • Many are industry specialized to communicate medical, legal and other specific terminology
  • Utilize facial expressions, body language and lip movements to enhance communication
  • Some specialize in tactile signing for those who are both deaf and blind

Need an interpreter? Click here


Types of Document Translation

Legal

  • Patents
  • Bylaws
  • Claim documents
  • Contracts

Medical

  • Clinical trial documentation
  • Accident reports
  • Medical bills
  • Healthcare records

Technical

  • Technical manuals and drawings
  • Engineering specifications
  • Software documentation
  • Websites
  • Standard operating procedures

Business & Government

  • Responses to international RFPs
  • Employee training materials
  • Human resource documentation
  • Financial reports
  • Customs documentation
  • Business correspondence

Click to here read “Updating & Translating Contracts and Important Documents”


High Quality, Certified Translations

Magna Legal Services provides document translations in any language combination, subject matter and volume. Communicate confidently with accurate, high-quality translations that preserve the right context and tone.

Translated Documents: Professional Language Services with Magna

Translation Services include:

  • Translations into and from any language conducted by college-educated, vetted native linguists with subject-matter expertise and knowledge of cultural norms
  • Rush turnaround as needed
  • Document review and summary translations to determine relevance before full translation
  • All translations are edited and proofread by at least a second, and in some cases, a third equally qualified linguist to ensure accuracy
  • Certification is provided at no additional cost.
  • Multilingual glossary management to ensure consistency and comprehension
  • Custom-tailored translation solutions, so you only pay for what you need!


Whether you need one language or many, full translation from scratch or review/editing of existing translations, or a combination thereof — Magna can handle it all.

Please contact us at [email protected] for a free quote or click here to learn more.

Legal & Professional Interpreting Services

Magna provides interpreters on-site for any language, anywhere in the world for all types of events, including conferences, depositions, trials, meetings and medical examinations.

Our interpreters are all college-educated, certified professionals with extensive experience in legal, medical, technical, and business fields. You can be confident that the interpreter assigned to your event is a vetted professional with the necessary language skills and professionalism to ensure your success.

If your looking to book an interpreter or would like to know more, contact us at [email protected] or 866.624.6221

Learn More About Magna's Language Services

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Using Social Media Surveillance to Support Your Case

Litigation Support: Social Media & Online Activity Monitoring

There are 2 main ways social media surveillance can help your case:

  1. Using a claimant’s, plaintiff’s, defendant’s, witness’ or expert witness’ online activity to determine how it meshes with his or her statements
  2. Interpreting a juror’s or potential juror’s online activity to discover any past experiences or biases which can affect their perception of your case.

Let’s look at the facts:

  • Utilizing social media surveillance is more beneficial now more than ever – the pandemic had more people spending time online for socializing, work, school and virtual events.
  • Approximately 72 percent of U.S. adults use some form of social media, making online platforms a great source of information to use during discovery, jury selection and throughout trial.
  • Between the recent election, shift in the economy, social justice movements and debates surrounding the pandemic, a person’s online activity can give you the insight you need concerning their views and any biases they might have.

What Is Social Media Surveillance?

            Social media surveillance is the process of collecting and interpreting information gathered from online platforms. This can be used to see the type of content someone posts or interacts with before, during and after a lawsuit or investigation. Social media surveillance can be used to see if the information a subject shares in court, aligns with the content they post on online platforms.

Online Activity Reports

Social media surveillance services such as Magna’s ClaimScout & JuryScout will gather information and compile detailed reports to obtain case evidence and/or enhance your trial strategy. Magna will also monitor the subject’s online activity throughout the duration of the trial and post-verdict.

ClaimScout & JuryScout Monitor:

  • Facebook, Instagram and other social networks
  • Blogs and journals
  • Online communities
  • Twitter and other microblogs
  • Message boards
  • Digg, Reddit and other social news sites
  • Business networks
  • Personal websites
  • & much more

Social Media Surveillance for Claimants (ClaimScout)

Scout out whether a claimant, plaintiff, defendant or witness is telling the truth about their claim. ClaimScout can be your online eyes and ears. Using our proprietary methodology, Magna can monitor a person’s internet activity to determine how it meshes with his/her claim.

Online activity reports help trial attorneys determine how the claims made in a case align with the subject’s online behavior and social media presence.

Social Media Surveillance for Jurors (JuryScout)

  • JuryScout can access information on jurors during jury selection, trial and post-verdict.
  • JuryScout can monitor a juror’s internet activity to ensure they are following court instructions, and also gain valuable insight into their thoughts and activities throughout trial as well as post-verdict.

Jury Selection

As courts are by and large limiting access to jurors during jury selection, social media research can be used as a compliment to traditional jury selection services (such as voir dire questionnaire development and public records searches). Social media information may provide additional information on venire panelists which when compiled, may show political and religious affiliations, biases, and more.

Predicting Juror Behavior

By creating a personalized matrix of information for each potential juror, online activity reports can provide additional insights into whether or not a juror has attributes that lead to bias. Additionally, jurors may be monitored during trial and/or post-verdict to see if they are posting about aspects of the case and/or communicating amongst one another during trial.

Post-Verdict

Here’s an example: Magna was retained post-verdict for a high-profile case involving sexual harassment of an employee. Following an unfavorable verdict, JuryScout was able to go back and look at cached information and located four (4) jurors who violated the court’s instruction not to research or discuss the case. Counsel was able to use this information as part of the appeal.

Social Media Surveillance with Magna Legal Services

Looking to use social media surveillance to support your case? Magna Legal Services’ award winning ClaimScout & JuryScout services are a click away. Click below to get started.

For more information or to request a free case consultation, contact us anytime at 866.624.6221, or email us at [email protected]

Additionally, ClaimScout & JuryScout reports can also include information regarding:

  • Address Summary
  • Others using SSN
  • Date/Locations where SSN Issued
  • Census Data
  • Bankruptcy Indicator
  • Property Indicator
  • Corporate Affiliations Indicator
  • Bankruptcy
  • Liens and Judgments
  • UCC Filings
  • People at Work
  • Driver Licenses
  • Vehicle Registrations
  • Property
  • Professional Licenses
  • Voter Registration
  • Hunting/Fishing Permits
  • Concealed Weapons Permits
  • Associates
  • Relatives
  • Neighbors
  • Criminal Records
  • Sexual Offenders
  • Phones

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Virtual Depositions: Benefits & Tips to Succeed

The 2020 pandemic forced litigation into a remote world, but virtual depositions are here to stay.

Litigation came to a halt at the start of the COVID pandemic, but when there seemed to be no end in sight, reluctant litigators were forced to continue their business remotely.

Safer-at-home restrictions quickly modernized the legal world. Litigators started conducting proceedings virtually and soon embraced the benefits that came with them.


Benefits of Virtual Depositions


Limits Travel

  • Virtual depositions can be conducted from nearly any location, avoiding the challenges that come with getting people to one location. This benefits parties who have limited time, are caregivers, or otherwise have travel limitations.


Reduces Costs

  • Virtual depositions cut costs associated with:
    • Travel accommodations for attorneys, deponents, court reporters, videographers, etc.
    • Conference rooms
    • Stenographer, videographer or interpreter hourly rates
    • Food, beverage & other necessary accommodations
    • Printing and shipping costs (eliminated due to electronic exchange of all documents)
    • Reduces fees and per diem rates for court reporters


Decreases Scheduling Conflicts

  • Litigation moves faster due to decreased scheduling conflicts.
    • Remote proceedings save time and eliminate the hassle of traveling, making it much easier to find a time when all parties can meet.


Greater Court Reporter Availability

  • To overcome the recent shortage of reporters, Magna Legal Services can provide a dual-certified court reporter to a virtual deposition even if they are out of state.
  • Court reporters can be available on much shorter notice.
  • Court reporters have more flexibility in their schedule due to the lack of travel; this allows attorneys to be more specific in deciding which court reporter they will use.


Enhances Privacy

  • Break-out rooms allow all parties to meet privately.
  • Magna Legal Services’ online platform, Magna LitigationVision, is fully encrypted and secure, protecting all log-in data and ensuring the privacy of every session.


Time Efficient

  • Limiting travel allows court reporters to get transcripts back to attorneys quickly, increasing the rate at which attorneys can close cases.
  • Video recording and editing can be sent electronically, avoiding delays.
  • Break out rooms make it faster for parties to have separate conversations whenever necessary.


Increases Organization

  • Everything is stored online, making misplacing exhibits and other important information a thing of the past.
  • All parties can receive instant access to electronic exhibits.

Click here to read how virtual depositions work.

Tips for A Successful Remote Deposition


Prepare for Connecting

  • Have your link to join the deposition handy, and make sure your witnesses have their links as well as instructions for the event. When you schedule your virtual deposition with Magna, we send your link in the body of a calendar invite so you have it on hand.
  • Ensure you and your party have contact information needed in case of any connection issues. Magna’s MLV techs are available by phone, email, and chat for the duration of your deposition.
  • If you and/or your witnesses are using virtual backgrounds, make sure they are set up in advance.


Plan Exhibits Ahead of Time

  • Organize all exhibits ahead of time to avoid delays or mistakes.
  • Name files appropriately and keep them easily accessible.
  • Consider using a deposition manager with Magna LitigationVision Plus (MLV+) to assist with seamless transitions between exhibits.
    • Send all necessary documents to MLV+ manager so exhibits are organized prior to the deposition. They will also share these documents with the court reporter.


Use a Deposition Manager with MLV+

  • Magna LegalVision Plus (MLV+) provides comprehensive session management operated by an experienced trial technician. MLV+ managers will provide seamless support throughout the entirety of your event. An MLV+ manager will handle:
    • Presenting exhibits, demonstratives, and videos
    • Real-time management of annotations, zooming, blow-ups, highlights, and markings
    • Creating and managing break-out rooms (including moving people between rooms, controlling room access, and ensuring confidentiality)


Prepare Your Witness Thoroughly

  • Virtual depositions allow for an up-close look at a witness’s facial expressions, make sure your witnesses are aware of this and are properly prepped.
  • Consider using an expert consultant to help your witness feel more in control of their testimony. Witness communication training can help witnesses develop a deeper understanding of the themes, context, and purpose of their testimony and correct behaviors that get in the way of positive perceptions.


Take Planned Breaks

  • Use a deposition manager with MLV+ to plan breaks ahead of time so all parties are aware of when they will have time to break and regroup.


Stay Concise

  • Virtual depositions involve looking at a computer screen for hours on end, so it is important to get to the point quickly in all aspects of a deposition in order to keep focus.


Avoid Technology Issues

  • Providers like Magna Legal Services will test all equipment and ensure that it is ready to be used, this will help avoid any connection issues and decrease technology related delays.
  • Rent necessary equipment or a hot-spot internet connection with Magna Flight Packs.
  • Perform platform training with MLV prior to the deposition (MLV works on all virtual meeting platforms).
  • Magna LitigationVision provides continuous tech support and monitoring during a deposition. If any tech issues arise during a deposition, a tech support professional will be available instantly with MLV’s chat feature.


Limit Distractions

  • Aim for a distraction-free environment to avoid delays and maintain professionality.
  • Use custom virtual backgrounds if needed to help limit any peripheral distractions.


Communicate Transcript Requests

  • Provide order requests and any special requests to the court reporter prior to the end of the deposition.

Virtual Depositions with Magna LitigationVision


Magna LitigationVision (MLV) is Magna’s virtual deposition platform, which gives you the ability to depose a witness from anywhere in the world. MLV provides clients with real-time video access to depositions, mediations, arbitrations, hearings, meetings, and other proceedings.

Virtual platform features include:

  • Schedule a Court Reporter, Videographer, or Interpreter to Join Remotely
  • Connection Using Computers, Tablets or Smartphones
  • Ability to Display and Annotate Your Exhibits
  • Instant Tech Support and Monitoring
  • Free Platform Training Prior to Proceeding
  • Remote Facilitation of Breakout Rooms
  • Free Custom Virtual Backgrounds
  • Certified Trial Directors/ Exhibit Managers (MLV+)
  • Certified Legal Videography
  • Technology agnostic – use your preferred platform

Virtual vs. In-Person Jury Research

Three Reasons Why Virtual Jury Research Is as Robust and Effective as In-Person 

Article by Taylor Lyden
Originally published in MA LAWYERS WEEKLY 2020 

In this new age of regional lockdowns and social distancing, counsel have had to adjust trial preparation significantly.     While some jurisdictions are slowly opening and attempting to safely hold trials, many places are still in the early phases of re-opening and still prohibiting gatherings of more than 25 people or requiring quarantine upon entering from certain states.  This has forced people to consider alternate forms of jury research to stay on track for trials scheduled for this fall and winter.   Enter online, or virtual, jury research. For those unaccustomed to online jury research, the prospect can be daunting, to say the least.  You may worry that you won’t get a representative jury, jurors won’t pay close attention, they’ll struggle with technology, or they won’t be able to have meaningful discussions of the evidence.  As a leader in the field of jury research, Magna pioneered virtual jury research.  For over a decade Magna Legal Services has utilized a virtual courtroom for online jury research in addition to the more traditional in-person mock trials, and our experience has taught us that online deliberations are every bit as robust and effective as their in-person counterparts.  With thousands of mock trials to draw from, below are three reasons why we have concluded that there is no substantive difference between virtual and in-person deliberations for jury research.   

  • Jurors “get to the point” more quickly online because they are less inhibited. Online videoconferencing has a way of leveling the playing field for jurors.  Each juror deliberates from the comfort of their own home (whatever that environment may be), and each is provided with the same amount of virtual real estate on the other jurors’ screens.  Because jurors cannot be physically large or animated, loud and dominant jurors tend to be less aggressive to others online than in-person, and wallflowers tend to be more confident in speaking up in the group.  Additionally, through years of both online and in-person jury research, we have found that psychologically, there is a feeling of protection afforded by a computer screen for jurors, and this protection allows them to speak their minds openly.  Online jurors tend to benefit from an anonymity effect whereby jurors don’t know each other and don’t have to spend time sizing each other up.  Because of the reduced inhibitions online, jurors more quickly express and advocate for positions that may be seen as unpopular among the other jurors.  In an in-person exercise, jurors have spent the day together and have formed some early impressions of others from eating together and taking breaks together.  When they sit in their smaller groups in deliberations there is more [perceived] pressure to perform a certain way.  Peer pressure can be an exceptionally strong force in the deliberation room.  In virtual research, the metaphorical shield of a computer screen goes a long way in staving off these pressures.  This can be instrumental in avoiding jurors “giving in” to those around them because they are nervous or anxious about speaking up. The added layer of comfort and protection provided by remaining in one’s own home also helps overcome any initial hesitation a juror may have for the online format.  This is not to say that the sociology involved in an in-person deliberation hinders the discussion or changes the outcome; it can simply take longer to get where they are going. 
  • Modern webcam and voice technology allow for easy access for a cross-section of the community.  Since the world turned virtual in a matter of weeks in the Spring of 2020, technology companies have scrambled to keep pace with the demand of the throngs of people suddenly telecommuting.  The result has been considerable advances in videoconferencing that allow for near seamless interactions among participants in multiple locations.  According to the FCC, only 6% of Americans don’t have access to high-speed internet in their homes, and the majority of this 6% is comprised of Americans living in very rural areas1.  Gone are the days of dial-up internet and “Can you hear me now?” voice connections.  Though Magna uses its own proprietary software and courtroom design, recent advances in technology and vast accessibility of high-speed internet have allowed for a number of options for online jury research.  Whatever the platform, jurors can converse smoothly, as if they were in-person, and the prevalence of webcams (now standard on nearly every phone, computer, and tablet) have provided an experience where jurors “feel” like they are together.  Our experience using Magna’s patented JuryConfirm technology has taught us that even when jurors are using technology they have never encountered, they are able to become proficient in its use very quickly and it is not the distraction many fear it will be.  Finally, many jurors have reported that viewing the evidence virtually is as easy or even preferable to in-person as they are able to view the materials more closely and clearly.   The combination of all these factors has meant that virtual trials are accessible to almost all Americans and jurors are able to effectively communicate and discuss the substance of the evidence and argument, rather than worrying about technological concerns.   
  • Jurors are now just as comfortable talking online as they are in person.  Because working, schooling, and socializing from home became the norm for so many so quickly, jurors have recently racked up countless hours in front of their screens communicating on video.  These days just about everyone has used Zoom Meetings, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect, FaceTime, Skype (or similar online meeting platforms) for either work or social purposes, and indeed have come to find videoconferencing to be the “new normal.”  The novelty of transforming “real life” into a virtual setting has worn off as online formats have proved successful in countless situations.  The technology advances outlined above have meant that even the most self-described “technology illiterate” jurors are able to join in the conversation with ease, and the initial learning curve of getting used to talking on a conference call line has already passed for most.  Finally, special features such as “follow-the-speaker” technology have provided a more natural feel in online group settings, allowing for increased ease in following the conversation as it bounces quickly between participants.   

Conclusion

In sum, as more and more attorneys and parties find themselves faced with virtual jury selection, trial, and/or deliberations, we look back at our experience over the years to help allay any fears that online deliberations are less effective than those in-person.  While there are some unavoidable limitations, we feel that benefits of online deliberations can, in many instances, outweigh any drawbacks.  In other words, you can rest assured that jurors will still take your case seriously, carefully evaluate evidence and arguments, and have thoughtful and meaningful deliberations to a verdict.  Additionally, if you find yourself headed back into the courtroom (virtually or in person), remember that online mock trials and jury research can be a great and cost-effective way to test the waters and may just help draw open the curtains on a key to your case that you may have missed.   

Click to Read Article on MassLawyersWeekly.com >>

“Can I smoke in here?” and Other Virtual Deposition Fails

PUBLISHED IN MA LAWYERS WEEKLY FEB. 2021

By: Courtney Collins and Meagan Donohoe

The legal profession’s transition into the online sphere in 2020 was abrupt, disconcerting, and sometimes painful, but it is finally official:  we continue forward, but [mostly] virtually. Hearings, mediations, arbitrations, and most commonly, depositions have vacated their more traditional law office settings and imposing courtrooms in favor of bedrooms, closets, and even vehicles. Mercifully, after months of forced practice, it’s safe to say that most of us in the legal profession have a pretty firm grasp on the technological side of things (even if we still forget to unmute ourselves from time to time). But while everyone was focused on learning the online platforms and adjusting to the new reality, something was lost, and that was decorum. Although there is a certain comfort associated with appearing for a deposition from home—which can alleviate some anxiety a witness might experience in a less familiar and more formal setting—the pendulum seems to have swung wildly in the other direction over the past several months, with some virtual depositions looking more like a cocktail party of friends and acquaintances.  Legal proceedings should not fall prey to the new world of t-shirts and flip flops and other work from home habits.

Tips for Supporting Witnesses in Virtual Depositions & Proceedings

It is critical that witnesses are afforded the same level of support and guidance from counsel while appearing virtually as they would be if they were present in the same room. In fact, in some ways, these witnesses require an even higher degree of support to be successful.  Sprinkled with cautionary tales from real depositions over the past nine months, this article offers tips and best practices for supporting your witnesses in a virtual world.    

Be Present – In Mind and Virtual Body 

It’s no secret that many deponents, especially first-timers, can have a difficult time shedding those pesky deposition-jitters. Although being deposed from a familiar place affords a certain sense of security for many, there is also a reassurance that comes with sitting in arms reach of your attorney at that long wooden table that is just not attainable in the online space.   The witness knows counsel is on her side when she is right next to her—everyone is “in it together.”  However, just because you can’t be physically present for your witness, doesn’t mean that you can’t provide that same level of support in other ways; it simply must be more intentional.  

All witnesses, especially inexperienced ones, like to feel safe and protected – and that can only happen virtually with a present and attentive counsel. Far too often we see defending attorneys fail to appear on camera, leaving their witness feeling alone and exposed in the virtual space. Of course, no one can control if their computer decides to act up on deposition day, and sometimes calling in off-camera is the only option; however, when possible, counsel should be on camera and engaged, supporting their witness. This entails more than just showing up on screen.  It also means not appearing visibly distracted with other work during questioning, not eating lunch, and not jumping on and off camera or walking around. Witnesses, especially nervous ones, pick up on these subtle cues more than one might think. To put it simply, your virtual witnesses should receive the same level of attention as your in-person witnesses would—if you wouldn’t bring other work, snacks, or take calls in a pre-pandemic deposition room, you shouldn’t do it in the online setting, either.  

Lead by Example 

Since depositions have moved online, we’ve also witnessed a steady decline in general respect for what a deposition actually is.  We have seen: a witness smoking a cigarette while providing testimony, another witness appearing shirtless from bed, one witness answering questions while driving his semi-truck for work (cue an accident?), and a plaintiff unable to complete his own deposition after smoking marijuana on a break. It goes without saying that behavior like this, even if not recorded on video, often results in less than optimal witness performance and would have never been deemed acceptable in the pre-pandemic era. To combat this witness mentality that virtual is synonymous with “anything goes,” it is important to remember that even in the online space, witnesses look to their counsel for cues and guidance. Attire is one example where counsel can set the tone. We have regularly seen attorneys appear sprawled out on their couch (we are not kidding), wearing backwards hats, and even well-worn t-shirts, thus setting a low standard for others. It all starts with the lawyer, and clients/witnesses will quite literally, follow suit. This is not to say that attorneys need to show up to a virtual deposition in a tailored three-piece ensemble, but the nature and seriousness of a deposition should not be minimized simply because it is occurring online.  At the very least, it is worth a pre-deposition conversation with the witness to note that proper attire is required: clean, decent, and not revealing.  

Additionally, don’t be afraid to nip any negative behaviors in the bud. Remaining quiet while your witness lights up a cigarette only serves as affirmation that this action is acceptable. While an initial moment of silence may be an understandable consequence of shock or surprise, failing to address these types of behaviors in a timely fashion is a mistake, and will likely just lead to additional bad conduct down the line. Simply request a break, get on the phone with the client, and remind them that this is a legal proceeding.   

Create a Focused Environment for Online Depositions  

Simply because technology enables participation from almost anywhere, does not mean that should be encouraged.  Failing to address the location and environment with your witness often results in witnesses connecting from unusual or even public places. We have seen witnesses participate in depositions while serving customers at work, walking down a noisy street, working out on the treadmill, and even while riding a crowded city bus. These types of environments not only disrupt the flow of a deposition, but also make it nearly impossible for a witness to bring their “A-game,” as the chance of distraction is ever-present.  

At the end of the day, most fact witnesses have never participated in a deposition before, much less a virtual one. Simply instructing a witness to download Zoom on their mobile phone and click a link a certain time leaves too much up to chance. Take the same measures when scheduling a deponent for a virtual deposition as you would for an in-person meeting. Pre-pandemic, a witness would only be put on the calendar for a date/time that they were free to come sit in an office; similarly, a virtual deposition should only be scheduled for a time where the witness can be in a quiet space, free from distractions. 

Hosting a Successful Virtual Deposition

Although anything can derail a deposition or legal proceeding, virtual or not, the above tips help to move cases forward without sacrificing quality.  Virtual does not equate to casual.  Recommitting to the seriousness of a deposition under oath and guiding your clients through how to best handle this will ensure an easier path forward, as virtual has likely made a permanent imprint on the legal community.   

Click to Read Article on MassLawyersWeekly.com >>

The Benefits of Outsourcing Medical Record Review

Medical Record Review: Litigation Support from Magna Legal Services

Medical Record Review — To Outsource or Not to Outsource?

In any legal proceeding involving healthcare, patient medical records are going to be pivotal. However, acquiring, organizing, and analyzing all the records can be extremely time-consuming.

This is why outsourcing medical record retrieval and reviews as a lawyer can be a beneficial and cost-efficient strategy. American businesses of all kinds are increasingly turning to specialist third-party contractors to increase the efficiency of a wide range of functions, and record review is one of them.

With an independent medical record review service, you’ll get all the medical information you need in one accessible, easy-to-navigate document. Handing this function over to a specialized provider will free up time for your in-house team to focus on building a winning case, rather than devoting dozens of hours to menial research.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s involved…

Record Services + Litigation Support

There are a number of situations in which lawyers need access to a comprehensive rundown of a patient’s medical history. If, for example, you’re representing the plaintiff in a medical negligence action, you’ll need to know about every significant health issue they’ve had.

Historically, attorneys or paralegals had to compile these documents themselves, liaising with healthcare providers, sifting through huge quantities of data, and picking out the most relevant details for inclusion in reports. Nowadays, more and more firms are opting to contract their record services to transform their records into the insightful and easy-to-understand information they need.

Nurse Review for Medical Records

A Nurse Review gives you a chronological breakdown of your client’s healthcare history with a focus on litigation support. Compiled by nurses with valid licenses and LNC credentials, the reports provide a summary of the medical records and highlight their most important details. They even provide an overall interpretation of the person’s combined medical history.

Magna works with nurses from a broad range of medical specialties. Whatever type of medical records you need reviewed, one of our experts will know exactly how to approach the job.

HyperNav Records Navigator

HyperNav Records Navigator is a useful tool that takes the pain out of accessing and referring to medical records. HyperNav organizes all patient records chronologically in a single PDF file, using hyperlinks and bookmarks to make the most important data easily accessible. The Summary Table and Index Table also allow you to scan the document quickly to locate the information you need.

Record Retrieval

Before you compile the perfect report, you’ll first need to actually obtain the documents, which can be more tedious than expected. In some cases, such as where a patient has received care from multiple facilities in different areas, this can be its own challenge.

Magna’s medical record retrieval service allows you to request documents from every zip code in the United States, as well as internationally. We have established relationships with over a million healthcare facilities across the country, allowing for the fastest turnaround time in the industry. Besides medical records, Magna’s experience also covers retrieval of social security records, pharmacy history, police records, and other types of documents.

Benefits of Outsourcing Medical Record Review

There are a number of factors that make record retrieval and review great candidates for outsourcing.

Specialization

Outsourcing medical record reviews doesn’t just make life easier for you. It also puts the task into the hands of someone better equipped to do it.

Magna’s Nurse Review service is carried out by medical professionals with years of training. They have experience when it comes to identifying health issues and perceiving their relevance in a broader context. They understand medical jargon, can easily navigate record documents, and know exactly where to look if there’s a crucial piece of information missing.

Time Efficiency

Dealing with medical records isn’t just grunt work – it’s a skill. You could develop it yourself or train members of your team to do so, but that takes time. Since time is something attorneys rarely have in abundance, it makes sense to hand the job over to someone who has existing expertise in it.

Having a dedicated expert carry out your medical record reviews will allow for you to build your case quicker and more efficiently, especially in cases with extensive or complex medical history.

Cost Savings

You might be tempted to “save money” on record retrieval and review by having your in-house staff do it, even if it takes time and compromises on quality. However, you’re still paying your team for their work, which they could be directing toward other goals.

By outsourcing, you’ll recoup more than what you spend in the long run. This isn’t a modern concept; it’s based on the economic theory of specialization, which has been around for over two centuries!

Cost transparency is also a factor here. If you contract a service, you’ll see exactly what it costs up-front and can plan around that expense. It is far less straightforward to work out what medical record reviews will cost you if you train your in-house team to provide them.

Record Services & Discovery Support with Magna

We take care of our clients, and you’ll feel the difference! We’re here for you 24/7, 365 days a year.

To request a record with Magna, click below or contact Magna directly at 866.624.6221 or [email protected]

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Online Jury Research: COVID’s Effect on Juror Perspectives & Damages

How the Pandemic Affects Juror Perspectives
… and how to adjust your litigation strategy accordingly

By conducting a series of nationwide surveys, Magna consultants examined COVID-19’s impact on prospective jurors’ attitudes and beliefs. Let’s look at the facts:

In today’s world, many jurors feel the need to be the “guardians of the community” by forcing companies to change their bad behavior with large damage awards. Litigators and those in the insurance industry refer to these as “reptilian jurors“, who are responsible for the increasing frequency of “nuclear verdicts”.

Our research has shown the below trend in recent juror perspectives:

Factors that drive up verdicts include:

  • Juror Vulnerability, Fear, Volatility, & Polarization
  • Rising Costs & Uncertainty of the Future
  • More Millennials on Juries
  • Bad Testimony or Misidentification of Corporate Representatives
  • Anti-Corporate Bias – “Profits over Safety”
  • Not Setting a Floor or Providing a Low Damages Anchor
  • Not Addressing Key Issues/Themes in Jury Selection/Opening

Now more than ever, it is important to know how juror perspectives changed in your specific venue for your specific case issues.

It’s not a question if the pandemic will affect your cases… it’s a question of how it will affect your cases.

In general, many potential jurors now are more vulnerable – both health-wise and financially – than pre-pandemic, which can make people more plaintiff-friendly. However, depending on the venue, the most vulnerable, most risk-averse (i.e., most plaintiff-friendly) may be less likely to show up for jury duty or to be seated on a jury at present.

Luckily, there are some research tools to give you the current data you need to adjust your litigation strategy.

Test Your Damages
with JuryEvaluator

What is your case worth now? JuryEvaluator offers a scientific and statistically significant damages assessment for your ACTUAL CASE from your ACTUAL JURY POOL. This research will consider the effect of COVID-19 and current media climate, to provide insight into your case risk, exposure and value.

  • Research conducted in your case venue using your actual case facts
  • Research captures present-day surrogate juror attitudes and biases
  • Statistical analyses provide a reliable range of potential damages if the case went to a jury trial (economic, non-economic & punitive)
  • Optional Juror Profiling analysis

Online Focus Groups
with JuryConfirm

How has COVID impacted juror perspectives in your venue? Test your themes, storylines, social climate & more with JuryConfirm, Magna’s patented online focus group platform.

  • Evidence analyzer powered by AI
  • Live attorney presentations with limitless capabilities
  • Simulation of court room environment with interactive avatars and live video feed of jurors and attorneys
  • Live (video) juror deliberations with more panels than ever available before
  • Real-time results: Fully-customized questionnaires, polling & presentation feedback
  • Detailed reports featuring case evaluation, theme development, and jury profi­les

Nationwide COVID-19 Study Results

Magna Legal Services conducted a series of nationwide surveys to assess evolving changes and shifts in juror perceptions in this brave new world.

Study includes 5,000 respondents
& 100+ questions about:

  • Technology
  • Finance
  • Law Enforcement
  • Insurance
  • Life Sciences

Learn about our findings:

  • Halo effect
  • Business Interruption Coverage
  • Reptilian Influence
  • Crisis Fatigue
  • Juror Vulnerability

Complete the form to download your FREE copy of Magna’s COVID Study results >>

Contact our 24/7 Hotline for a FREE Case Consultation: 877.220.1821

or, email us at [email protected], or fill out our contact form

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Magna Legal Services Acquires Kim Tindall & Associates

Magna Legal Services Adds Kim Tindall & Associates to the Greatest One-Stop-Shop for Legal Support Services

Magna Legal Services (Magna LS) and Kim Tindall & Associates (KTA), two ALM award winning court reporting and medical record retrieval industry leaders, announced today the combination of their firms. KTA was founded in 2009 by Kim Tindall. The two companies will combine operations on April 1, 2021.

With more than 500 employees, 3,500 court reporters, 5,000 interpreters and 40 litigation consultants in 20 locations across the U.S., Magna LS and KTA together will be one of the largest litigation support and consulting firms based on both size and services offered.

Both companies are known for providing exceptional service to clients. The combined company is designed for customers — a company with increased capabilities and geographic reach coupled with a commitment to delivering outstanding service. “The combination will create 80 years of industry experience and match strength with strength in both our court reporting and medical record retrieval divisions. Additionally, our KTA clients will now gain access to a wide variety of litigation support and consulting services. I am very excited for our clients, staff and court reporters,” said Kim Tindall, President of KTA.

Tony Vaglica, COO of Magna LS, will be working closely with the KTA team. He added, “The addition of five KTA offices (San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Houston and New Orleans) along with their team of freelance court reporters will streamline operations throughout Texas and Louisiana.” Magna LS has existing offices in Houston and New Orleans.

Founding Partner and Executive Vice President of Sales at Magna LS, Peter Hecht, added,

“The big winners in this merger are the clients from both Magna LS and KTA. We will be able to increase service levels to our Magna base in Texas while offering new powerful litigation support tools for the existing KTA clientele.”

Both Magna LS and KTA built their businesses to support clients from Discovery to Trial.

Magna Legal Services’ CEO, Mark Williams, is excited about the addition of KTA as well. “We are delighted to welcome the KTA team to the Magna family,” Williams said. “Kim and her team have extensive industry experience and have created one of the fastest growing companies in both the court reporting and record retrieval sector. Their success shows through their highly-positive customer reviews and ratings, as well as their rapid growth over the past few years.”

End-to-End Litigation Support Services: