When a potential client brings you a case with compelling facts that stack up logically, it might seem like a slam dunk. But winning a trial isn’t solely—or, in some cases, even primarily—about facts. You need to craft a case presentation that anticipates potential landmines in the road: jury prejudices and preconceptions, counter arguments, biases, and emotional baggage.
This is where mock trials and focus groups come in.
Mock trials and focus groups are two tools that help legal teams predict how their strategy and case may be received and can provide insights to better prepare for jury selection. They’re too small in scale to replace quantitative research, but when managed and executed properly, can provide invaluable qualitative information to help prepare your case strategy.
Focus groups are often used as part of marketing strategies—testing how potential customers will react to new products, advertising claims and messages, packaging, etc.
Similarly, a legal focus group allows you to gather people demographically similar to a potential jury and test out their reactions to individual elements or your entire case.
A professional jury consultant acts as a neutral moderator to present aspects you want to test, such as:
How will you get started on building a case? Knowing which thematic paths to follow in terms of arguments and exhibits that will resonate with decision-makers can improve your chances of earlier case resolution or a positive trial outcome.
Focus groups can help you and your legal team by:
Use a focus group when you want to:
Mock trials mimic the total experience of a courtroom trial and last longer than legal focus groups. In short, it’s the closest to a dress rehearsal for the main event.
Mock trials can include:
Mock trial benefits include:
When to use a mock trial:
In of itself, a mock trial or focus group can be interesting and provide food for thought, but making your investment pay off requires converting the event outcome and data into specific actions that benefit your arguments, and, ultimately, your client. Before you get to that point, however, there are a lot of details to arrange.
Once you’ve decided when and how to use mock trial or focus group services, you’ll need to work with a professional trial services partner to:
Once the event is complete, steps include:
Unlike your case, the goal of a mock trial or focus group isn’t to win. Instead, use these events to gather as much feedback and input as possible before adjusting and refining your strategy and plan.
With nearly 30 years’ experience in litigation support, U.S. Legal Support, together with our trial services partners at DecisionQuest and Trial Exhibits, Inc., provides a full suite of mock trial, focus group, and jury and/or venue research study options. With in-person and remote capabilities and real-time participant response technology, you’ll have the first-person testing needed to adjust themes, case storytelling, and key arguments.
Plus, we also offer witness preparation, legal graphics, trial demonstratives, trial presentation, jury consulting services, and more. Contact us today by phone, email, or website request form to discuss how we can help with your trial planning and preparation.
Content published on the U.S. Legal Support blog is reviewed by professionals in the legal and litigation support services field to help ensure accurate information.