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, request a free copy of The Ultimate Guide to Jury Consulting, from our website or contact our offices to schedule a free case consultation of your own.

Jury Consulting Guide

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.

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 Remote Depositions

During the COVID-19 crisis, Magna is offering 45 minutes of FREE witness prep with one of our expert jury consultants *Discounted 10% after the first 45 minutes.

Defending a remote deposition?
The Magna LegalVision (MLV) platform allows you to virtually depose a witness, or defend a deposition, from anywhere in the world. While MLV makes remote depositions easy, there are some tips and tricks to help witnesses and attorneys perform well in a virtual platform.

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. Magna’s consultants are experts in preparing witnesses and attorneys for remote 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 on how to prepare themselves and their witnesses.

In any setting, 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

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 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. Magna 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.

To book a witness preparation session, or any of Magna’s services, contact us at 866.624.6221 or

Is an Online Focus Group Right for My Case?

Thanks to courtroom dramas, the “CSI effect” and Netflix documentaries, there’s often an unrealistic evidentiary expectation in courtrooms. This makes it difficult for the average person to predict jury decisions in the modern world. By using online focus groups, it’s possible to remove some of this uncertainty. These focus groups provide the benefits of analytics in trial prep, and they can help you recognize and correct weaknesses in your legal strategy.

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How Shadow Juries Can Predict a Trial’s Outcome


When Mark Calzaretta watches a jury, hearing evidence in a high-stakes lawsuit, it isn’t necessarily an impartial panel of citizen peers he sees. Rather, Calzaretta sees 10 human beings with emotional biases that, if studied diligently, can help lawyers predict, with startling accuracy, the outcome of a case, often before it is tried.

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Jury Research Tools: Jury Consulting & Case Evaluation

jury research tools

Despite months of trial preparation, there is one factor that litigators cannot really control: how the jury responds to oral arguments. Unfortunately, the jury’s point of view is ultimately what decides the case. Litigators need insight into how those decision-makers will likely respond to certain lines of argument so they can be the best advocate for their clients.

It has always been challenging to predict juror behavior, but that hurdle has increased with many people accustomed to fictionalized evidence protocols on television dramas. Lawyers face a barrier by having to bridge the gap between juror expectation and reality. Fortunately, there are a number of tools available for law firms to maximize their chances for trial success.

Jury Consulting: What Is It?

Jury consulting is a comprehensive service to gain insight into the perspectives of jurors in order to help attorneys to appropriately develop their trial strategy. In a competitive legal landscape, law firms face greater pressure to serve their clients to the greatest possible capacity.

In a trial setting, they are up against a firm on the other side who may already be using investigative techniques to get jurors on their side. Cases that proceed to trial may have high stakes, both for the plaintiffs and defense, leading lawyers to do what they can to win. Jury consulting has become a necessary part of trial preparation, not restricted to just large firms with well-known clients.

Magna offers jury consulting from all angles, employing extensive research and analysis to give lawyers the knowledge they need before, during and after jury selection. Magna’s work makes it easier to pinpoint potential juror biases, so attorneys do not simply make vague guesses based on their own knowledge of the case. Specifically, Magna offers:

  • Community perception studies
  • Change of venue studies
  • Juror profiling studies
  • Focus groups and mock trials
  • Witness communication training
  • Social media research and surveillance
  • Shadow juries
  • Jury Evaluator damages assessment
  • In-Court trial monitoring

In sum, Magna is part of the litigation team from the moment it becomes clear a case is going to trial. By gathering statistically relevant and perceptive information, Magna gives lawyers the tools they need to present their case effectively in a courtroom. Before the case even begins, Magna’s team helps attorneys to get to know their potential jurors, including those who may be less sympathetic to their client or cynical about the evidence presented.

Jury Evaluator: New Tool to Assess Damages

One of the most mysterious, and essential, aspects of a case is the amount of a potential damage award. Knowing what the jury may award is central to risk management and settlement strategy. Without deep insight into the perspective of the jurors, however, a damage assessment is largely guesswork.

Magna’s Jury Evaluator tool takes the guesswork out of damage assessment. Through a proprietary process, Magna is able to assess the reaction of real people from the jury pool to the specific case. Using a combination of real interviews and simulated analysis, Magna gives attorneys a figure upon which they can base their negotiations.

Learn About Jury Consulting From Magna

Magna is a trusted partner of law firms throughout the U.S. Jury consulting services help attorneys to build the strongest case for their clients, upholding their duty as advocates and raising their professional stature. To learn what Magna can do for your law firm, contact us today.


10 Signs Your Trial Needs Jury Consultants

Jury Profiling: Multiple Levels of Jury Research

Jury “selection” does not exist in the United States. Attorneys choose individuals to serve on the jury by “deselecting” from jury service those individuals who they expect to be unfavorable to their side. Identifying and systematically eliminating pro-plaintiff or pro-defense jurors could be your secret weapon in winning a trial.

Traditional jury selection techniques are often based on stereotypical notions about the influence of juror characteristics on verdict behavior. If you’ve ever tried to connect a potential juror’s gender, race, occupation, social status, marital status, age, religion or demeanor to their tendency to vote guilty or award higher damages, then you’ve probably exercised some of these preconceptions. Needless to say, none of these stereotypes has any scientific basis.

In contrast, scientific jury profiling uses empirical techniques and systematic analysis to develop profiles of favorable and unfavorable jurors. In our experience, only multiple levels of research can predict how an individual will approach the case, evaluate evidence, and render a verdict. Statistical profiling ensures that you’re in the best possible position to seat the best jury.

Jury Research Data and Focus Groups

Trial attorneys often pride themselves on their ability to communicate complex legal theories in a simple way. But when you’re living and breathing a case for many months, it is easy for your objectivity to become compromised. Focus groups and other jury research exercises can help fine tune your arguments and begin to identify some trends in jury profiling.

A mock trial or focus group typically involves the observation of small group deliberation, based on the presentation of testimony that closely approximates an actual trial. By analyzing what mock jurors find significant, meaningful or memorable about the case, we can develop early stage profiles about whether certain attitudes and experiences are likely to be pro-plaintiff or pro-defense and helps us to advise the trial team on the effectiveness of their argument and ways to improve.

Mock jury data can be gathered in various ways, including full trial simulations, shadow juries, focus groups, online mock juries and telephone surveys. At certain times, we favor some of these methods and/or combine two or more types of exercises in order to gain the fullest data set to prepare for a trial. It depends on the complexity and value of the case.

When gathering mock jury data, it is important to realize that the quality of the findings is wholly dependent on the quality of the methodology: Put simply, you’ll get better results if the research team is well-versed in the nature of advocacy, presentation, communication, psychology and small group behavior, and designs the study with these factors in mind.

Large-scale Juror Profiling

While traditional jury research data is extremely helpful, it is often based on a relatively small sample size, both in terms of the total number of participants and the number of focus groups. Sample size is a key determinant of how much weight to ascribe to research results. Generally, smaller sample size groups should be interpreted with caution since the group’s characteristics may have been the primary cause of the outcome; they are not predictive in the statistical sense. This is particularly important when evaluating damage awards or responsibility allocations, which are the least reliable types of data.

Because of these limitations, we recommend large-scale juror profiling studies. Massive community profiling allows us to validate the initial profiles developed through our jury research, and determine with statistical certainty what types of jurors are likely to favor the plaintiff versus the defense in your case.

Large-scale profiling is a multifaceted protocol. It starts with one or more large-scale community perception surveys, which we administer with the intent of uncovering community attitudes and biases to each party’s respective position in the case. Research consistently shows that pre-existing attitudes are more predictive of verdict behavior than the potential juror’s experiences; and experiences are significantly more predictive than demographics.

In other words, it is not enough to find out what experiences the potential jurors had, but also what they learned from these experiences. Essentially, we’re using big data about ordinary people, such as their social media activity, to develop a statistically reliable verdict-orientation model based on what motivates people to think the way they do.

The impressions we collect allow us to develop and gain a more nuanced understanding of the kinds of jurors who would be more receptive to the plaintiff’s position than they would be to the defense case. Correlated with mock jury data, this can help us narrow down potential voir dire questions to those which we know are reliable predictors of verdict orientation. The goal is to help the trial team effectively identify and deselect jurors who cannot and never will be persuaded.

Final Thoughts

“Almost every case has been won or lost when the jury is sworn,” legendary defense attorney Clarence Darrow once claimed. That may be an exaggeration, but getting even a small edge can turn the tables in a difficult case. Jury profiling can give you that edge — as long as it’s the right type of profiling. Piecemeal small-scale mock juries have less value than aggregated results gathered from multiple data points and deeper statistical analysis.

Just as you evaluate cases in a critical manner, evaluate the quality of the research service used with the same considered eye. Choosing a consultant who applies multiple layers of rigor to their analysis ensures the quality of your data and assigns a degree of much-needed confidence to the results you have obtained. It can make all the difference.

If you’re ready to learn more about Magna’s jury profiling services, contact MagnaLS today.

The Advanced Technology of Jury Consulting Firms

Technology has become an integral part of the legal industry. A lot of advancements have been made in a short amount of time so law firms and legal businesses are having to adapt to the new technological world. For example, a law firm can improve it’s profitability and productivity if it starts having an online presence. Moving all their data to the cloud and having a website, however, can mean data breaches if they’re not careful and don’t get Legal IT Services to help protect them.

And, we all know that technology has become an integral part of successfully litigating a case. Whether before entering the courtroom learning the strengths and weakness of you case or presenting your case. The most effective legal arguments must convince not only the judge, but also the everyday men and women who make up the jury that your position is the correct one. Those individuals come into the case with their own perceptions and biases, which technology can help you identify and strategize accordingly. Technology advancement is very important as time goes by, lawyers need to keep up with this to help their firm thrive. If their law firm was based on helping businesses/people with bankruptcy, they will need to utilize bankruptcy lawyers marketing strategies to help them get their names out there and bring in clients.

Large and small law firms alike benefit from outside assistance in preparing for a jury trial, including in-depth analysis of which perceptions or characteristics of jurors would be more favorable for your positions. Whether through courtroom observations or monitoring jurors on social media consultants can identify the strengths of your case and/or juror misconduct. Technology consulting firms can help with the development of businesses like this looking to have technology work better for them by advancing their strategies, they can use developments such as intelligent automation, which can potentially increase production within their business. Companies such as SDLC Partners may be able to help with this transformation in their businesses and help with any problems that may come up.

Jury Consulting Technology

Lawyers want to know as much information as possible before starting a case. That information extends beyond researching all the evidence, potential witnesses, legislation and case law – it also means knowing how the people in the jury box might respond to potential arguments. While lawyers may want to believe jurors dutifully follow instructions and put their personal feelings aside, often certain gut instincts and opinions kick in when jurors analyze a case and scrutinize witnesses.

Providing this insight is at the core of the work of jury consultants. Such jury consultants remove much of the mystery from jurors’ thought processes, so they are no longer anonymous individuals who offer no clue as to how they might vote.

Online focus groups, as a jury research program, are a low-cost alternative to a traditional in-person focus group or mock trial that firms of all sizes can use to analyze the strength and weaknesses of their cases. Identifying key themes and storylines that resonate with jurors is key. Using custom software, online focus groups demonstrate how a jury views a case. The technology uses live attorney presentations and jury deliberations within a virtual environment, followed by detailed analysis and reporting.

Online focus groups are only one part of the puzzle. Once actual jurors are in place, attorneys want to know what they are thinking. Social media provides insight into how individual jurors see the world, including opinions and biases that may not have come to light during the jury selection process.

Modern technology allows for the monitoring of social media feeds to see if the jurors are discussing the case before, during or after trial. This measures juror compliance with the court’s instructions and also provides information about how they may be feeling about the issues at stake.

MagnaLS also offers an additional edge. With MagnaLS’s Jury Evaluator tool, attorneys can receive a scientifically based assessment of the valuation of a case at a particular time. JuryEvaluator uses algorithms based upon the panel, combined with a number of other value factors, to give lawyers an assessment of a range of damages for their case.

Benefits of Technology in the Courtroom

As legal cases become more complex and clients have more and more at stake, including their reputations, business interests and financial assets, lawyers on both sides are pulling out all the stops to provide the best possible representation. Jury consulting is increasingly part of the normal course of doing business for corporations and law firms; for many, it is no longer optional but required.

In the competitive legal landscape, technology offers a compelling edge for your client. Often, going to court is not the best option; putting the case into the hands of a jury – who will decide not only liability but quantify damages – can be riskier than settling before trial. Tools such as the Jury Evaluator can help you do a risk-benefit analysis and give the best advice to your client, whether making a deal outside of court or proceeding to the next stages of litigation.

In the legal industry, more and more firms are using advanced technology to win cases or effectuate a good settlement. The benefits of the technology are so vast that it is hard not to justify their use. Firms that do not rely on jury consulting services are, more often than not, falling behind legal counsel who use every possible tool to give their clients a competitive advantage.

Learn How Jury Consulting Technology Can Help

MagnaLS works collaboratively with lawyers to provide jury consulting, court reporting, discovery and other legal services. For the best results for your client, look to an end-to-end provider of litigation solutions with the best technology available, contact MagnaLS today!

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