Mock Jury Trials/Expert Witness on Public Opinion
As communication consultants and researchers, one of the most interesting types of work that do is for law firms. Although we are not lawyers, as communication experts, we do understand how to do audience analysis to construct winning arguments. For this reason, we have significant experience in offering three types of communication research and consulting services to attorneys, as described below.
- Mock Jury Trials — We help trial attorneys develop message strategies and arguments that win cases. These types of projects generally include the following steps, where we:
- Consult with attorneys to determine the respondent recruiting criteria for the jury and to understand the likely arguments of both the prosecution and defense
- Recruit three mock jury groups that are demographically matched (we use three to have a “tie breaker” group)
- Ask pre-mock-trial questions of the mock jury respondents about their opinions or stereotypes, if any, about cases before the mock trial
- Observe and record digital video (for non-verbal communication cues) of the mock jury respondents during . . .
- Both the prosecution and the defense mock trial attorneys’ opening arguments
- Both the prosecution and the defense trial attorney’s examination and cross examination of witnesses and expert testimony (if any)
- Both the prosecution and the defense trial attorney’s closing arguments
- Each of the three jury’s deliberations to reach a verdict
- Then we transcribe verbatim comments for the entire mock trial and for each of the three jury’s deliberations sessions.
- We analyze both the transcribed verbatim and the non-verbal cues from the digital video using our Motivational Linguistics Analysis® to discover key arguments, words, phrases and visual symbols from the mock trial and the jury deliberations that caused the each jury to reach their verdict.
- Prepare a report or PowerPoint presentation of results to the client attorney with recommendations for what key arguments, words, phrases and symbols to use to win the case.
- Public Opinion Research — For certain types of legal cases (e.g., name or trademark infringement or defamation of character), scientific public opinion research is admissible as evidence. We have been hired by attorneys on such cases to conduct public opinion research to be presented as evidence in legal cases.
- Expert Witness — For cases in which public opinion research is admissible evidence, we have been hired as expert witnesses to provide testimony about the validity and the meaning of public opinion research. We have provided expert testimony regarding public opinion polls that we have conducted and regarding the validity of polls that were conducted by other firms.
In every Mock Jury Trial or Expert Witness case for which we have been hired, our attorney client either won or avoided having to go to trial by settling out of court as a direct result of our work.