jury focus groups

You are concerned about a claim or defense and want to know if you can overcome it at trial. You want to know how a jury will react to your case. Your client. Your arguments.

The Winning Litigator® can help you answer all of these questions.

A Jury Focus Group or Mock Trial can help you make better decisions about your case before a mediation or trial.

  • Determine the most efficient method of conducting discovery
  • Evaluate methods of presenting evidence, to determine which pieces of evidence are the most important, and what manner you want to present them
  • Determine which witnesses are likely to be the most persuasive and the order in which you should present them
  • Prepare hard-hitting presentations for mediation based on the information you’ve learned in the jury focus group
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of an in-court demonstration, before you get to court
  • Determine what portions of depositions or video jurors will see as the most powerful and persuasive
  • Evaluate the claims and defenses brought by your opponent
  • Discover the underlying attitudes or deeply held beliefs that jurors hold even before the trial starts

Jury Focus Groups demonstrate the decision making process by jurors in your case.

  • Learn which theories of the case and arguments are the most powerful to jurors, and which you should abandon
  • Discover what obstacles lay in your path for receiving a larger award of damages, and then eliminate those obstacles
  • Determine what types of jurors are likely to be the most sympathetic to your theory of the case and your client, or to your opponent’s case and client
  • Understand which jury instructions will be confusing to jurors, to better determine how to argue those instructions or propose alternative ones
  • Understand a jury’s impression of your client and its impression of your opponent
  • Determine how committed a jury will be to your theory of the case and what evidence will move them to your opponent’s side

Let us show you how to harness the power of Jury Focus Groups, Mock Trials and Jury Research in your own practice. Once you use these powerful litigation tools, you will never want to do without them.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The principal difference between a Jury Focus Group and a Mock Trial is that when you use a Jury Focus Group, the presentation is not set up as a trial, using people playing the roles of witnesses. Instead, with a Jury Focus Group, there are presentations of facts and evidence made by a neutral Facilitator, who can answer questions and “focus” the “jurors” on a variety of issues both large and small about virtually any issue that you would like to explore. These presentations are created by the attorneys in consultation with the Facilitator so that there is a “plaintiff side” and “defendant side” presented to the jurors.

At various points in the Jury Focus Group presentation, the jurors are asked to complete questionnaires evaluating various aspects of the case, while in a Mock Trial, jurors typically do no formal evaluation until the end when they deliberate to a verdict. Jurors in a Jury Focus Group also engage in a deliberation, and discuss their individual and collective views. Often a Jury Focus Group will be observed by the attorneys involved in a case, and occasionally, by their clients.

Here are some of the many litigation advantages you experience by using jury focus groups and jury research:

  • Determine the most efficient method of conducting discovery
  • Evaluate methods of presenting evidence, to determine which pieces of evidence are the most important, and what manner you want to present them
  • Determine which witnesses are likely to be the most persuasive and the order in which you should present them
  • Prepare hard-hitting presentations for mediation based on the information you’ve learned in the jury focus group
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of an in-court demonstration, before you get to court
  • Determine what portions of depositions or video jurors will see as the most powerful and persuasive
  • Evaluate the claims and defenses brought by your opponent
  • Discover the underlying attitudes or deeply held beliefs that jurors hold even before the trial starts
  • Learn which theories of the case and arguments are the most powerful to jurors, and which you should probably abandon
  • Discover what obstacles lay in your path for receiving a larger award of damages, and then eliminate those obstacles
  • Determine what types of jurors are likely to be the most sympathetic to your theory of the case and your client, or to your opponent’s case and client
  • Understand which jury instructions will be confusing to jurors, to better determine how to argue those instructions or propose alternative ones
  • Understand a jury’s impression of your client and its impression of your opponent
  • Determine how committed a jury will be to your theory of the case and what evidence will move them to your opponent’s side
The goal is not to “win” in a focus group, but to understand the evaluative process and expose the thinking around the issues of your case.  In fact, some of my biggest case wins have come following Jury Focus Groups that have exposed significant deficiencies I was able to remedy.
There are definitely costs associated with using a Jury Focus Group. Some of the costs include payment of the “jurors”, costs associated with the Facilitator, use of a meeting room, copying costs of materials handed out to the jurors, refreshments for the jurors throughout the day, costs of a videographer (if you’d like to videotape the exercise and deliberations), costs associated with jury recruitment, and various other incidental charges. All of these expenses will be discussed with you in advance.

We work on a per project basis, so once we have agreed to accept a project, we cap our costs and fees so you don’t face any unwanted surprises or cost overruns.

Costs can be managed in a variety of ways so that they don’t become overwhelming, and are tailored to the needs of the case.

A Jury Focus Group panel can be any size. If it is too small, the information you get may not be quite as statistically relevant. If it is too large, it may be difficult to present all of the information to such a large group and understand the thought processes of all of the jurors. We have found that an ideal panel tends to be between 8 and 12 jurors. Sometimes, we will have a larger group for the “presentation portion” of the Jury Focus Group, and then split the large group into two smaller ones for the purpose of facilitating the discussions and deliberation. Much depends on the discussions with the attorneys and clients, the goals for the Jury Focus Group, the budget and other case-specific considerations.
Yes. Jurors participating in the Jury Focus Groups sign confidentiality agreements. They are not permitted to take home any materials from the Jury Focus Group. And, like any other aspect of a legal case, the information developed in a Jury Focus Group is part of the attorney work-product. The entire process, from the names of the jurors selected to the actual results, are confidential.
Definitely. You could use what we sometimes refer to as an “Online Juror Attitude Survey.” Using this method, we prepare written materials which are emailed out to participants who are screened in the same way we screen jurors for Jury Focus Groups. The materials include the written statements of each side’s case, and some key pieces of evidence. Jurors are asked to consider the presentations and then fill out extensive survey questions evaluating the positions of the parties. These survey responses are synthesized for the parties by the Facilitator,and the questionnaires and individual answers are provided to the parties as well. As with a Jury Focus Group, these surveys can focus on almost any aspect of the case.

One big difference between The Winning Litigator’s Online Jury Attitude Survey and the work of virtually every other litigation consulting group is that we contact each of the jurors by phone after they have completed their survey and interview them to expand their results. In many instances, we are even able to videotape our online juror interview to make the tape available to you and your client to review afterwards.

We have picked many juries, and can assist you in getting ready to pick a jury — and help you pick the jury at trial. We can work on developing voir dire for jurors, and can also accompany you to the trial to participate in the voir dire process. Contact us to set up a complimentary consultation to discuss this option.
Any case which may eventually end up before a jury, and in which there are any factual disputes or questions for a jury to resolve, can benefit from use of a Jury Focus Group.
Jury Focus Groups can be used at any point in the life cycle of a case — from before discovery through trial. In fact, there are many great reasons to use a Jury Focus Group before a case is even filed, or before discovery commences. Most attorneys elect to put on a Jury Focus Group following the close of discovery and before trial. Set up a time to talk with us, and we can discuss the best timing for your case.
There are occasional instances in which it is helpful to have a client attend a focus group and observe the deliberations and discussions from a distance — often through the use of a one-way mirror in a special room designed for focus group observation. In our experience though, it is often better for the attorneys to attend, and then, following a debriefing and discussion with the Facilitator, present the findings to the client. We often videotape the entire presentation so the client can watch it afterwards.
When we recruit jurors for a Jury Focus Group, we are looking for people with no obvious bias against one or the other of the parties in the case. We look for jurors of various socioeconomic backgrounds, ages, educational levels, professions — and other characteristics you would find on a typical jury panel in your jurisdiction. We try to use jurors who are from the area in which the case is actually pending.
Jury Focus Groups typically last for a full day of 6-7 hours, including breaks in the morning, afternoon and for lunch. In some instances, we can do a focus group in a half day of 3-4 hours, depending on the complexity of the case and issues to be presented to and explored with the jurors
Yes. Using the information in a mediation is a great way to educate the mediator and your opponent about the strengths of your case, though there are some strategic limitations you might want to consider in how you use it. In some instances, it may be wise to inform only the mediator of your use of the Jury Focus Group. You can also use the findings in a Jury Focus Group to persuade your client to settle, especially if the jury’s evaluation of the case points up factual or legal obstacles that it will be difficult to overcome.

SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION about jury focus groups

Just click on this button and you'll be able to choose a time to consult with us about your jury focus group needs.