Phases of Research
The start of every case presents questions of enormous consequence. The investment required to pursue a civil matter significantly drains resources of both client and counsel. Estimates of pre-trial settlement damages based on historical case experience alone frequently are unreliable. The selection of strategies to pursue in deposition and discovery may seem logical to lawyers, but what will jurors think? Decisions in criminal cases regarding plea bargains similarly ignore the most important questions to be faced in any trial: What is the probable verdict? How will a jury panel react to the charges, defenses and other potential issues? What will they award? How can we shape their response to our case?
We offer an inexpensive means of assessing potential jury reactions to pending litigation. Using field work, focus groups, or mock trials and simulations, litigation issues will be exposed to a qualitative evaluation of group decision processes most likely to occur in the actual trial.
We prefer to conduct our research within the actual venue. All subjects are recruited through a multi-method approach involving public advertisement and random digit dialing. To ensure panels represent the venue, respondents are matched to general population characteristics on three (3) variables (age, gender, and race) using models derived from the U.S. Census Bureau 1990 Census of Population and Housing: Summary of Population and Housing Characteristics for each state, or more recent data when available. Each subject in turn executes binding agreements on release of liability, consent to use image, and confidentiality.
By combining the sciences of human nature with field-tested communication strategies, Trial Practices, Inc. enhances the likelihood of favorable verdicts. Our firm reduces the uncertainty of trial through research and application in all phases of trial preparation. The objective is to identify and apply information on the characteristics, attitudes, and beliefs of potential jurors in order to influence outcomes. Data collection and interpretation are focused on development of responsive themes and tactical lines around which the legal arguments of the case can best be communicated to the jury. Activity may be divided conceptually into three phases (see below), depending on the level of involvement desired.
See Harvey A. Moore, "Applied Sociology and Corporate Legal Practice", The Florida Bar Journal, June 1990, pp. 81-83