10 Signs of a Good Jury Questionnaire

by Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.
Expert Jury Consultant

A jury questionnaire is distributed to jurors when they arrive for service. More often than not, this is a highly contested document that all parties want to have a voice in crafting. Knowing what to ask for without overreaching is critical since a judge may revert to a default jury questionnaire.

As in any investigation, answers are only as good as the questions. Accordingly, a jury questionnaire should avoid “garbage in/garbage out” like the plague.  I have seen far more bad questions than good ones on jury questionnaires.  The following is a guide to help avoid questionnaires that ask a lot, but answer little by way of useful information and helpful results.

A good jury questionnaire …

  1. Avoids questions that reveal your good jurors.Perhaps the most frequent mistake is asking questions to reveal friends rather than enemies. For example, why should a civil defendant ask, “Do you think there are too many frivolous lawsuits?” or “Do you agree there should be a cap on damages?”  If someone agrees, you have just given your opponent a gift.  You’ve done their job for them and made it easy to target your good jurors for follow-up questions or a strike, whether for cause or a peremptory.

    Instead, target enemies!  For example, better defense questions leave more room to reveal adverse opinions to your side, such as, “Do you believe that if a case gets to court, it must have merit?”

  2. Is based on data, not opinion or past experience alone.

Read more helpful hints here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/65970/10-Signs-of-a-Good-Jury-Questionnaire?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+a2lc+%28The+Litigation+Consulting+Report+from+A2L+Consulting%29

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7 Questions You Must Ask Your Mock Jury About Litigation Graphics

by Ryan H. Flax, Esq.
Managing Director, Litigation Consulting
A2L Consulting

So, you’ve made the time, effort, and budget commitment to conduct a mock jury exercise to test your case before trial. In my opinion and in the opinion of almost every litigator I’ve worked with, all this time and effort is generally well spent. But if you fail to get the right feedback from your mock jurors, you’ve wasted your time and resources.

What is that “right” feedback and how do you get it?  Your jury consultant should lead the way in this regard (ours has a Ph.D. in psychology and over 30 years’ experience), but the feedback you’re looking for relates primarily to whether the jurors felt they understood your case, accepted your “story,” and trusted your theme – and WHY. If they did and the evidence made sense to them in relation to each of these aspects of your presentation, you’ve likely got a winner, all things being equal.

An important aspect of your case and how it was presented to the mock jurors is your demonstrative evidence and litigation graphics. These will likewise play a key role in your actual trial and its success.  It’s important to test the graphics you intend to use or are considering using at trial with your mock jurors. These graphics will have been carefully, professionally designed to track your mock “clopening” (a contraction of opening and closing) argument and should highlight the important themes, storylines, evidence, and expected testimony of your case.  Here are seven essential questions you must ask your mock jurors about your litigation graphics:

1.  Why Did The Jury Reach The Outcome It Reached?

Full Article here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/65558/7-questions-you-must-ask-your-mock-jury-about-litigation-graphics?source=Blog_Email_%5B7%20Questions%20You%20Must%5D

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10 Things Every Mock Jury Ever Has Said

by Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.
Jury Consultant

For decades and in every part of the nation, mock jurors who are presented with various fact patterns and legal issues tend to have the same reactions. Some are helpful and others are harmful, depending on where you stand in the case.  Knowing that these issues recur over and over can help to prevent those which are unfavorable to you:

 

1)     Why did the plaintiff wait so long to sue?

While there may be good reason to delay filing suit, mock and actual jurors often use the delay between the alleged problem and the filing of a claim as a yardstick of its merit.  The longer the gap, the less credible the claim.  If counsel fails to address this issue, it tends to work against the plaintiff. It is especially damaging, for example, when someone claims an issue in the workplace, but waits until they are no longer employed. To many jurors, this signals  that it was the termination, separation, or voluntary departure that was the issue, not the conduct, such as discrimination, that is the subject of the complaint.

 

2)    That doesn’t make sense.

Lawyers don’t always put their case through the basic “smell test” or test of common sense from the…

Read more here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/65267/10-Things-Every-Mock-Jury-Ever-Has-Said?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+a2lc+%28The+Litigation+Consulting+Report+from+A2L+Consulting%29

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Opinions may vary depending on how you ask that question

Wednesday, July 3, 2013
posted by Douglas Keene

We spend a lot of time asking potential jurors questions and attempting to sort out just what their responses could mean about attitudes and values and beliefs as they relate to our specific case. So it was wonderful to see the new Pew Research Center article on how asking the same question results in different answers depending on how you have worded the question. As it happened, four different major organizations looked at the polarizing issue of the Department of Justice’s subpoenas of reporters’ phone records. CNN/ORC, Washington Post/ABC News, Pew Research, and FOX News all polled the public on the DOJ subpoenas. But, as you might expect, each organization asked the questions a bit differently and, as you might predict, each got a slightly different result. After the differing responses to the differently worded questions on the same issue were published, Pew Research wrote about the reasons ‘why’ each of the four major organizations had gotten the results they had.

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10 Ways to Spot Your Jury Foreman

by Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.
Jury Consultant

While someone ends up sitting in the first seat on a jury and is presumed or named foreperson by the Court, they may very well be one in name only.  In fact, someone else may function as the foreperson.

Guess Who?

Who do you think is the most likely foreperson?  Do you think someone old enough to be her parent will defer to a 20-something pixie in seat 1?  Will an accountant in seat 6 rely on the homemaker foreperson for damages decisions?  Is it the butcher, the baker, or the candlestick-maker?  Unlikely.

Read all 10 tips here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/65718/10-ways-to-spot-your-jury-foreman?source=Blog_Email_%5B10%20Ways%20to%20Spot%20Your%5D

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12 Astute Tips for Meaningful Mock Trials

I have led or helped lead over 400 mock trials in the past thirty years. In that time, I have learned what works and what does not. Below, I share twelve of the best lessons that I believe litigators can take from all of my accumulated experience.

1)     Don’t pull punches on the opposing side.

In mock trials, we often see counsel hone their messages and themes, as well as throw their best ammo at their own side’s presentation, but come up short when preparing the case for the opposing side, whether intentionally or unwittingly.

2)     Use balanced litigation graphics for both sides.

Understandably, in an effort to contain cost, as well as their natural desire to make the best case for their client, counsel often creates more and better-aimed litigation graphics for their own side, but may make an anemic attempt, if any, to create punchy graphics to drive home opposing points.

by Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.

Read more here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/65238/12-Astute-Tips-for-Meaningful-Mock-Trials?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+a2lc+%28The+Litigation+Consulting+Report+from+A2L+Consulting%29

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The Five Do’s and 12,000 Don’ts of Opening Statements

By Rich Matthews

I sat through some opening statements the other day, and can only just now talk about it. Even now, at some points in the story, I feel like pointing to a doll to communicate exactly where and how the two men in the black suits hurt me.

They did some good things – they actually had crafted some themes and frames that might still turn out to be pretty effective. But as an interested professional, I was looking for those things and was willing to sniff through a hill of crap to find the truffles. Fifteen jurors and alternates, I noticed, did not write down a single one of the themes that I thought were good.

What made these opening statements so bad? Well, the common lawyer tropes that make most opening statements so lousy.  Look, just because you have heard something from older lawyers about How To Do Things, it doesn’t mean they are right about it. As I point out to people who proudly declare themselves “old school,” there are usually good reasons they tear down old schools and put up new ones. So let’s go through those vampiric clichés that suck the life blood out of a speech and never quite die.

Read more here: http://juryology.com/2013/05/17/the-five-dos-and-12000-donts-of-opening-statements/