Modern Jury Research Technology: Online Solutions for Increased Reliability & Convenience

Both modern and traditional jury consulting practices can help attorneys gain insight into how jurors are likely to respond to case facts before entering the courtroom. However, powerful advances in technology make jury research more statistically reliable, easier to conduct and more cost-effective than ever before.

In this article, we’ll break down how modern jury consulting services work and how they may benefit you ahead of your next big trial date. 


Benefits of Using Modern Jury Consulting Technology

Advanced technology in jury research increases the reliability and understanding associated with potential juror decisions. 

These solutions offer huge benefits when dealing with complex, high-value cases, so it is imperative attorneys understand every tool at their disposal. 

Benefits include:

  • Larger data pools
  • Increased statistical reliability
  • Robust findings
  • Convenient & time-efficient sessions
  • Quick turnaround of analysis
  • Cost-effective
  • Real-time polling
  • & more

Advanced Data Analysis with Modern Jury Research Solutions

With modern jury research, attorneys are able to access larger pools of data for analysis with increased convenience and efficiency.

This benefits legal teams looking to:

  • Gauge a reliable range of potential damages if the case went to a jury trial
  • Test themes, storylines & venue climate in order to prepare the most effective trial strategy
  • Use jurors’ social media & online activity backgrounds to discover potential biases & past experiences during jury selection and throughout the trial

A standard trial jury comprises individuals with diverse backgrounds and views, most without legal expertise. As such, they can be unpredictable. Technical consulting solutions provide a wide range of insights at every stage of the trial process. 


Online Tools for Reliable Jury Research

There are several solutions that offer powerful insight into potential jury outcomes ahead of an important trial date:

Online Focus Groups & Mock Trials with JuryConfirm

Featuring Evidence Analyzer Powered by AI

JuryConfirm is a highly comprehensive virtual jury research platform. Attorneys present their cases to jurors in their trial venue. Jurors then deliberate at length in the virtual courtroom, displaying their video feeds to preserve the ability to read emotions & body language. The Evidence Analyzer uses AI technology to assess juror reactions and provide related insights on your case presentation. 

Evidence Analyzer Powered by AI
Automatically takes notes & monitors jurors reactions & feedback to the presentations

Live Attorney Presentations with Limitless Capabilities
Display & annotate exhibits, videos & other visual aids in real-time

Simulated Courtroom Environment
Interactive juror profiles & live video feed of juror deliberations and attorney presentations

Real-Time Results
Fully customized questionnaires, polling & presentation feedback

Detailed Reporting
Featuring strategic recommendations and key take-aways

This comprehensive, technologically advanced framework provides all the benefits of both remote and in-person mock trials. 

Damages Assessment with JuryEvaluator

Magna’s patent-pending case valuation tool, JuryEvaluator®, offers a scientific and statistically significant damages assessment for your actual case from your actual jury pool.

This research considers the effect of current media climate to provide insight into your case risk, exposure & 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)

Damages Assessment Report includes:

  • Methodology & Respondent Demographics
  • Juror Questionnaire Responses
  • Jury Simulation Data Analyses: Traditional & Pro-Plaintiff
  • Case Script
  • Juror Open-Ended Responses & Analysis with Key Takeaways
  • Damages Analysis & Allocation of Fault

Social Media Surveillance for Jurors with JuryScout

Interpret a juror’s or potential juror’s online activity to discover any past experiences or biases which can affect their perception of your case with JuryScout.

JuryScout uses include:

  • Jury Selection:
    As courts are limiting access to jurors during jury selection, online activity reports can provide additional information to show past experiences, political and religious affiliations & more.
  • Predicting Juror Behavior:
    By creating a personalized matrix of information for each potential juror, JuryScout provides insight into whether a juror has attributes that lead to bias.
  • Post-Verdict:
    Here’s an example: Following an unfavorable verdict on a high-profile case, JuryScout found cached information which located four jurors who violated the court’s instructions. Counsel was able to use this information as part of the appeal.

Which Jury Consulting Method is Right for Your Case?

Be confident in knowing how a jury is likely to approach your case.

Magna Legal Services offers a full array
of litigation consulting services, including risk assessment & strategic recommendations.

Our experienced jury consultants use a multi-phase jury research methodology to ensure the statistical reliability and robustness of our findings

Request a free case consultation with Magna today to see how we can assist you in providing the best possible representation for your clients.

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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.


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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

Related Articles:

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

Related Articles:

Analyzing & Monetizing Construction Defect Claims

Virtually all construction or property related decisions should be made with costs in mind. But some people are afraid of math.

Regardless of whether you’re an attorney, insurance professional, property owner, or manager, you need to be able to focus on the “vital few” issues, and virtually ignore the “trivial many.” This means knowing how much things cost – not to the penny, but rather a reasonable approximation. The best place to start, when working to make smart economic decisions, is on the BIG expensive issues. You begin by chopping a project into logical parts, and estimating the cost of those chunks, so you can see the forest AND the trees. The earlier in the process you do this, the better.

Magna Legal Services hosted a webinar on January 27, 2021 (recording below), which featured expert panelists explaining the framework behind analyzing and monetizing construction defect claims.

“There’s a lot of parties involved [in a construction defect case]. You have to understand the structure and you have to speak the language… whether it’s the folks on the ground or in the board room, you have to be able to do both,” said Paul Danner of Goldberg Segalla.

Aileen Schwartz of Hill International, Inc. says she makes sure to bring in experts early on to prevent dragging out litigation. “I’ve had cases that were brought in and there were no damages against us. If there are no damages, there is no case”, she said.

If the case ends up going forward, it’s important that it is not a jury trial, Aileen noted, saying “nobody on a jury wants to listen to your construction defect claim. They’re falling asleep. You really need a judge who knows what you’re talking about to hear the cases.”

Every party wants to get the case settled sooner to avoid costly and timely litigation. Magna’s Scott Horwtiz said “Magna’s jury consultants are getting involved more and more on the early side of things to test theories and test themes to see if a small amount of money up front could take care of all of this”.

When preparing your case, organization is key. Pete Fowler explained the importance of starting with “a discreet list of issues — whether its one issue, or hundreds of issues.” In conjunction with the list of issues, Fowler utilizes “a sensible list of costs associated with each issue, and a sensible list of all the people who might be involved with each of those issues.” “It gets to be this big horrible matrix,” he added.

Watch the full webinar recording below to hear our expert panel break down these complex cases.

This webinar originally aired live on 1.27.2021

Webinar details:

Panelists:
Pete Fowler, Founder, Pete Fowler Construction
Scott Horwitz, Esq., National Director of Graphics Consulting & Trial Presentation, Magna Legal Services
Aileen R. Schwartz, Senior VP, Sr. Corporate Counsel US & Privacy Officer, Hill International, Inc.

Moderated by:
Paul S. Danner, Esq., Partner, Goldberg Segalla

Presented by:
Peter Hecht, Partner & Executive Vice President of Sales, Magna Legal Services

Learn more about utilizing trial graphics & tutorials for complex cases here.

Click here to view a list of more upcoming webinars & conferences.

Court House

Magna Mock Trial Contributes to Client Win on All Counts

Court House

In preparation for an upcoming patent infringement matter in the United States District Court, Central District of California, the Honorable Judge Josephine L. Station presiding, Magna Legal Services (“Magna”) conducted both a mock trial and hourly consulting services as the case moved towards trial. Legal counsel from the firm Russ August & Kabat represented Pavo Solutions, LLC, a South Korean company that manufactures USB flash drives. Ben Wang, lead counsel with Russ August & Kabat, represented Pavo.

Over the course of the trial, Magna acted in the capacity of a strategic litigation consulting firm, through one of its senior jury consultants, Dr. John Gilleland. Strategic litigation consulting involves a systematic approach to optimizing the jury selection process and helps to refine the trial presentation themes and strategy of one’s case. The jury consultant frequently draws on the information gathered in the pre-trial research effort for additional follow-up consultation, which in this case, included both witness communication training and voir dire/jury selection assistance.

Trial Background and Specifics

Pavo manufactures a USB flash drive with a patented swivel cover.  The suit alleged that Kingston Technology manufactured and sold a product with identical, patented elements.

The Mock Trial Process

Magna conducted a mock trial on behalf of Russ August & Kabat utilizing three (3) separate panels of deliberating jurors. These panels followed a full trial format in which they heard opening statements, key evidence including witness testimony and then closing arguments from each of the respective parties.

The detailed feedback from each of the three deliberation panels helped to guide Mr. Wang’s trial team in the refinement of their case structure and trial presentation strategies. The Magna research team made recommendations ranging from: high-level structural issues for the various trial arguments, down to suggestions for simplification of key witness testimony. If left uncorrected, even the smallest of these issues could have a material impact on the actual trial.

After the mock trial, Mr. Wang said, “This mock trial was particularly helpful; feedback and issues were spotted all the way down to the team’s organization. The feedback at the mock trial turned out to be (identify) a key issue at trial and we were prepared for it, so we managed to keep it out. Having it come up in the mock and forcing us to prepare our response to it, got the judge to say “no-go”.  If we had to do it on the fly, we might not have had the same result.”

Through the mock trial process, Mr. Wang was able to anticipate challenges ahead of time, giving him and his client a distinct advantage in the actual trial setting.

Focus on Voir Dire

Dr. Gilleland’s recommendations regarding voir dire topics were of particular importance when it came to the actual trial. Through the mock trial process, Dr. Gilleland was able to formulate and refine specific questions, which were likely to help identify each jurors’ probable verdict orientation. Mr. Wang was able to take these questions and apply them to the actual trial, resulting in a positive impact on the eventual decision. “It was helpful to have Dr. Gilleland here to provide a first draft of questions for the jurors,” said Mr. Wang following the completion of the trial.

Magna specializes in end-to-end litigation consulting. Through Magna’s consulting process, we help clients set the stage for any of their litigation needs, including: scheduling depositions, language services, medical record retrieval, social media surveillance, graphics/demonstratives, trial technology and jury/bench/arbitration research and consulting. To learn more about our jury consulting process, contact our offices to schedule a free case consultation of your own.

The Viability of Virtual Jury Trials

This webinar originally aired live on 7.1.2020

In May 2020, a Texas court held the nation’s first jury trial via Zoom.

Magna Legal Services held a panel discussion, “Viability of Virtual Jury Trials”, which featured Judge Emily Miskel, who presided over that case, as well as the Civil Jury Project and other expert panelists, as we explore the plausibility of virtual trials.

View the video above to watch our panelists debate the pros and cons of remote trials, and explain in practical terms how these virtual proceedings have actually been carried out.

Panelists:
Judge Emily Miskel, 470th District Court, Collin County, TX
Judge Mark A. Drummond, Circuit Court Judge, 8th Judicial Circuit of Illinois (Retired); Judicial Director, Civil Jury Project
Christine Carbo Marziotti, Senior Litigation Counsel, Phillips 66
Jeffrey Tillotson, Esq., Founder, Tillotson Law
Daniel Wolfe, J.D., Ph.D., Senior Director of Jury Consulting, Magna Legal Services

Moderated by:
Terrell W. Oxford, Esq. Partner, Susman Godfrey LLP

Produced by:
Peter Hecht, Partner & Executive VP of Sales, Magna Legal Services
Canby Wood, Esq., Business Development Manager, Magna Legal Services

You asked, we answered!
Here’s some questions that viewers raised during the program:

Are jurors ok with just using a smartphone in the virtual environment? Can they see exhibits? What about running out of battery and data on their plan?

A:  Yes, most of the jurors used a desktop, laptop or tablet but can use a smart phone if needed. They can see exhibits but understandably they will be harder to see given the size of the screen on most smart phones as compared to a computer, and we heard about exhibits being presented in couple different ways: through a document sharing application as well as through screen sharing. If jurors are using a smart phone we encourage them to have their charger handy so they can keep their phone charged, and if they are not using an unlimited data plan we encourage them to access wifi.

Will this virtual jury selection make it more likely for people with the proper access and data to be called for this type of jury duty?

A: Jury selection will still be conducted as it always has through the Jury Plan in each jurisdiction.  However, having access to technology and data is one of the biggest concerns to ensuring a representative cross-section of jurors for virtual jury trials.

How can we ensure that the jurors and/or parties are not messaging each other in private messages?
How can we ensure the jurors are not attending the trial on one screen and googling the issues being presented on another screen or their phone, and essentially introducing extraneous evidence and biases into their deliberation process? 
Furthermore, should the deliberation process be recorded and have it be available to the court for an in camera review in case of a juror misconduct complaint?

A: The thought is that regardless of whether the trial is being held in a building or virtually, these are human nature issues and they exist in both environments and should be addressed the same way: jurors are admonished and trusted unless evidence is produced otherwise. Also you can tell by watching the participants on zoom whether they are paying attention and focused on the trial, their behavior can be watched and there are tools to determine whether they are focused and participating.

What was used and the process of showing exhibits, arguing for and against the admissibility, and eventually publishing to the jury?

A: Document sharing sites were agreed to in advance and used. And it was important to make sure there was an “IT quarterback” who managed documents as well as participants moving in and out of “rooms”.

Did you find the jury voir dire to take a comparable amount of time or significantly longer/shorter?

A:  The process was actually more efficient but did not significantly differ than what would have likely occurred if in person.

Have any of your pandemic-era trials been hybrid with the attorneys and jury live and all or some witnesses remote?

A: Yes, and it’s the worst of both worlds. It required a lot of set up in advance to ensure technology for both, ensure social distancing, etc. Better to either do completely remotely, or all in-person.

Do we have any data that would help evaluate how long a juror could stay focused during a trial that goes beyond a few days?

A: Mr. Tillotson will be releasing the data from his survey projects in July and this is one of the issues he will address.  

Question to Christine Carbo Marziotti, do you think there is anything appealable based on process?

A: Yes, on due process grounds.

View Judge Drummond’s (Civil Jury Project) newsletter here

Thank you to everyone who tuned in!
Don’t miss any upcoming Magna webinars or conferences:

Witness Preparation for Virtual Depositions

Witness Communication Training

Jurors consider themselves experts on people, so the impressions made by a witness can strongly influence a jury’s decision making.  This is especially true when such impressions are negative.

Witness communication training helps witnesses develop a deeper understanding of the themes, context, and purpose of their testimony.

In-person or online, witness preparation:

  • Reduces or eliminates witness anxiety
  • Clarifies the deponent’s role in the case
  • Helps deponents stay on message
  • Assists in developing a credible conversational tone
  • Identifies and mitigates any non-verbal issues, such as tics, fidgeting or eye-rolling
  • Provides techniques for effectively handling documents and exhibits

Consultants will also explain to witnesses jurors’ expectations for their testimony, and correct behaviors that get in the way of jurors’ positive perceptions.

Magna’s jury consultants help witnesses feel more in control of their testimony while adhering to the rules of testimony and to avoid being “advocates” for their side of the case.  We develop “safe harbors” that give witnesses structure and tools to deal with tough cross-examination questions.  The use of videotape feedback during witness communication training can often help a witness identify what the jurors may perceive.  These tools will allow your witnesses the opportunity to learn and practice strategies in order to best respond to challenging questions and deliver the most effective message at trial.

We use videotape feedback to help witnesses identify what the jurors may perceive. These tools will allow your witnesses to practice strategies for responding to challenging questions and delivering the most effective message at trial.

Defending a Virtual Deposition?

Witness preparation eliminates the added layer of anxiety from the virtual setting by:

  • Practicing. Deponents can feel “alone” without counsel, so a practice session with the platform can help diminish this
  • Reviewing procedures for pauses, objections, and exhibits
  • Instructing deponents where to look for the most natural and effective presentation (particularly if being recorded)
  • Familiarizing participants with the remote platform’s features (chats, mute, viewing exhibits, etc.)
  • Coaching on attire and effective posture

Magna Legal Services has been facilitating remote depositions for over a decade. However, many people are just now taking and defending depositions for the first time in a virtual format. While the Magna LitigationVision (MLV) platform makes remote depositions easy, there are some tips and tricks to help witnesses and attorneys perform well.

Magna’s consultants are experts in preparing witnesses and attorneys for virtual depositions. They will share their practical tips and logistical considerations, explain how remote depositions work and the platform’s capabilities, and will provide advice to attorneys.

Magna consultants will work with your key witnesses and provide them with performance feedback in a non-threatening context making suggestions regarding style, language, and demeanor. .

Witness Prep with a Magna Consultant

To book a witness prep session, or any of Magna’s services, you can contact us here, at 866.624.6221 or [email protected]

Magna is platform agnostic! Please let us know if you have a preference for Zoom, Cisco, Webex, etc.

Virtual Deposition: Magna Legal Services

Why You Should Consider a Jury Consultant

Litigators leave nothing to chance, juries included. While most trial lawyers feel comfortable selecting and working with a jury, a jury consultant is an invaluable addition to your trial team. Magna jury consultants work hand in hand with your trial team to plan, refine, and retool arguments, evidence, and visual communication strategies in order to strengthen your case with the jury.

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