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.

unanswered questions - brainstorming concept

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/

6 Secrets of the Jury Consulting Business You Should Know

By Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.
Jury Consultant
 
1)     Anyone can call himself or herself a “jury consultant.” There are two basic types of jury consultant: those with appropriate credentials . . . and everyone else. Those with appropriate credentials have a background in a relevant field, such as psychology, sociology, or the law, with the training, skills and knowledge to provide bona fide and reliable data collection and interpretation. This includes knowledge and respect for appropriate research design, statistics….

Read more here: http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/65332/6-secrets-of-the-jury-consulting-business-you-should-know?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social&utm_content=279952

 

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Jury Selection… Are You Doing It Wrong?

When I’m called in to assist with jury selection, the first question I’m often asked by attorneys is “which jurors are going to be good for us?”  This question always puzzles me, because jury selection is actually about deselecting bad jurors.  Sure, knowing what jurors are “good” for us is important as far as it goes, but considering the fact that the best jurors for us are likely to be struck by competent opposing counsel, what we need to do is focus on identifying and eliminating the jurors that are more likely to not adopt the themes and arguments of our case based on personality, cognitive and other factors.  The important question then is, how do we identify the bad jurors?  Below, we list a few strategies to keep in mind during jury selection.

1.  Don’t Focus on Demographics

Let’s start with how not to identify bad jurors… by focusing on their demographic information.

April 30, 2013 by

Full article here:

http://www.tuholskiconsulting.com/blog/jury-selection-are-you-doing-it-wrong.html

10 Key Steps After: “I’ve Got a Case I Might Need Help With”

“I’ve got a case I might need some help with.” That’s how it usually starts when someone, usually a first or second chair litigator, reaches out to me at A2L Consulting.

What happens next is not something that I have discussed publicly a great deal. But there’s no reason not to. It actually represents a well-honed process that we have developed over the last 18 years that helps trial teams try cases more effectively. Our process is unique and special.

I want to share an overview of that process, because when you understand it, you can appreciate how we, as jury & trial consultants and as trial graphics experts, help many of the top trial lawyers in the nation prepare for trial.

by Ken Lopez
Founder & CEO
A2L Consulting

Find out what’s next here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/64406/10-key-steps-after-ive-got-a-case-i-might-need-help-with?source=Blog_Email_%5B10%20Key%20Steps%20After%3A%20%5D

10 Key Things to Know About Social Media and Jury Consulting

jury consulting social media facebook twitter blog

As the jury pool progressively ages and more and more jurors hail from the Facebook generation, it has become utterly crucial for litigators to consider social media in the processes of jury selection, jury consulting and persuasion. The statistics of Facebook’s prevalence alone are astonishing.

  • Facebook has more than one billion members worldwide
  • The average person spends about 12 hours/month on it
  • The average person has 229 friends, but for the 18-34 set, the average is 318
  • The average person creates three pieces of new content every day
  • Fifty percent of all users log in every day
  • Fifteen percent of all users update their own status every day
  • One billion pieces of content are shared every day
  • About one-third of the U.S. population is on Facebook
  • Ninety-eight percent of 18-24 year olds use social media
  • The fastest growing demographic of Facebook users is age 35 and older

As we view social media, we must remember that research has shown that – perhaps surprisingly — most people present their real self, rather than their idealized self, on social media profiles. In court, in contrast, jurors may intentionally put their best or worst foot forward, depending on their agenda.  Thus, social media offers a wealth of data about prospective jurors not evident in court.

by Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.

Read more here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/63880/10-key-things-to-know-about-social-media-and-jury-consulting?source=Blog_Email_%5B10%20Key%20Things%20to%20Kno%5D

New Communication Trend: Should Jurors Be Allowed to Ask Questions?

Juror innovation has been something that we as consultants have always pushed for since being invited in courtrooms.  The mere fact that our position exists is proof that our judicial procedures need a little updating.  With the Jody Arias trial being on the media forefront, another brilliant, but debated innovation  has been made public: juror questions.  This topic wildly diverges from the traditions set in our courtrooms, but is something that’s gaining traction in modern day trials

The Jury Expert gave us this insight:

Most states leave it up to the individual judges’ discretion to allow jurors to ask questions of witnesses in civil trials, either through case law, statute, or with no specific rule mandating or prohibiting such a practice. As of July 1, Illinois becomes the most recent state to specifically allow juror questions2. According to the National Center for State Courts State of the State Courts survey3, several states, such as Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, and Wyoming, mandate that jurors be allowed to ask questions during civil trials. A number of states, including Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Nebraska, outright prohibit jurors from asking questions of witnesses at trial4.

(http://www.thejuryexpert.com/2012/05/juror-questions-why-attorneys-should-embrace-allowing-jurors-to-ask-questions-of-witnesses/)

My personal opinion is that all states should mandate this innovation,  but leave it up to the judge’s discretion as to what questions are admitted.  The Jody Arias trial was a great public example of this innovation, yet also demonstrated the need for judicial intervention.  Even though most of the juror’s questions were genuinely inquisitive and offered insight into where the jury stood, I believe some of them were unnecessary.

 

More on this story:

The jurors in the highly publicized Jodi Arais case recently submitted to the court over 100 questions for the defendant to answer even after the prosecutor spent days grilling her over every last detail in connection with her self-defense argument. Arizona is one of just three states that allow jurors to pose questions to witnesses after prosecution and defense lawyers have finished their questioning. From the perspective of someone who’s spent some time in the well of the courtroom, I wish New York judges would in the interest of justice, allow jurors to pose additional questions of the witnesses in civil cases even if one side objects to the practice.

http://www.newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneyblog.com/2013/03/should-jurors-be-allowed-to-ask-questions-at-trial.html

New iPad App Declutters Voir dire

A new app for the iPad is proving to be a contender in the litigation technology world.  Jury Pad from Bench and Bar helps attorneys and consultants alike leave their legal pads, sticky notes and even pens and papers at home and organizes all the relevant information one would need during voir dire.  With the ability to pre-load information from your Pc or Mac ahead of time, this app can be used on the fly or prior to court.

The app also allows you to export all your information to a spreadsheet or text file to share with the rest of your trial team.  A true innovation in trial technology!

Find more information here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jurypad/id580845085?mt=8

iPad Screenshot 1