COVID-19: Continuing to Prepare for Trial
With jury trials suspended, there’s no better time to invest in preparing for the surge of cases we all will undoubtedly face in the future. Litigation Insights is responding to our clients’ litigation needs remotely, by providing tools for theme development, witness preparation, jury research, graphics, and other strategies to put you in the best position for trial or mediation.
For instance, we continue to offer the following services remotely:
Online Jury Research
|Was your mock trial, focus group, or witness prep indefinitely postponed due to COVID-19? With video and screen-sharing platforms, it isn’t necessary to put all your preparations on pause. Although online jury research has its limitations,1 in the absence of alternatives, it can still be a valuable tool for testing your arguments, evidence, and witnesses on jury-eligible residents in your trial jurisdiction. In fact, with many people out of work or working from home, our access to representative mock jurors is unprecedented. You can make the most of these circumstances by conducting virtual mock trials, focus groups, and witness feedback sessions.|
LI’s Online Mock Trial platform includes:2
- Strategy session with senior LI consultants to assist with refining your case themes.
- Jury feedback, in the form of polling questions and video discussions/deliberations.
- 24 jurors divided into three groups of 8, or 16 jurors divided into two groups.
- Immediate viewing of jurors’ leanings and case-specific assessments.
- Jurors virtually deliberate to a verdict form. Actual videocam of jurors – not avatars.
- All deliberations are videotaped and transcribed.
- A “client view” that includes seeing the presenters, presentations, and polling questions.
- Ability to chat with moderators and to submit questions for consultants to follow up with each jury.
- Dedicated Platform Tech to ensure jurors are connected and to handle any technical issues.
Remember that while plug-and-play software can be cheaper, it’s not money well spent if the research isn’t executed with jury psychology and social science methodologies in mind. No trial team wants to adopt strategies or make decisions based on unreliable findings; thus, it’s important you and your clients understand the capabilities and limitations of online jury research, and that you have the guidance of professionals like Litigation Insights to execute the process and interpret the results.
1 When deciding to use an online format, we can discuss the pros and cons to ensure it is appropriate for your case.
2 While we detail here our Mock Trial protocol, we have all the same capabilities to conduct online focus groups and witness feedback sessions.
Witness Preparation and Communication Training
|With video-conferencing sessions between the witness, attorney, and communications consultant, your fact witnesses, experts, and corporate representatives can develop thematic messaging and refine their testifying skills to improve jurors’ perceptions of their credibility – all from the comfort of home.|
Community Attitude Survey
|With more generations using online communications, we can now obtain this feedback from web-based surveys at a fraction of the cost. Poll a large number of jury-eligible residents in your jurisdiction to learn the attitudes, experiences, and opinions that may influence how jurors view the facts of your case. Jurors’ evaluations of your abbreviated case scenario provide insight into how the case is perceived by laypeople and which arguments they find most persuasive.|
|Our design experts develop effective demonstratives designed to teach, persuade, and convey your case narrative in a way that jurors can absorb, remember, and repeat. Following a telephone or video conference to discuss the themes of your case, we can prepare timelines, PowerPoint graphics, animations, and more to help you tell your case story at mediations, before judges, and at trial. Getting a head start on these visuals allows time for any necessary revisions down the road.|
Case Evaluations from a Jury Perspective
|When online jury research isn’t an option, you can still benefit from a third-party assessment. Following a deep review of your case documents and depositions, our consultants provide a case evaluation that identifies strengths, weaknesses, and ambiguities from a jury perspective – based on the thousands of mock and real jurors we’ve worked with. We then offer themes and strategies to address any concerns that emerge.|
|While themes are best developed through jury research specific to your case facts, our trial consultants have an acute understanding of what themes tend to persuade jurors, having already tested myriad themes and their outcomes through years of jury research and numerous trials across genres of litigation. By providing the trial team with pithy, jury-friendly themes and phrases, as well as recommendations for conveying those themes, we can help jurors understand and retain your case story throughout trial and deliberations.|
Video Deposition Editing
|Managing volumes of video depositions and transcripts can be overwhelming. Our technology consultants can ease this burden by assisting with video file conversions, editing depositions, synchronizing to programs like Trial Director or Sanction, and loading mountains of information into trial-presentation software. Completing such steps during this hiatus will allow you to move quickly once deadlines and trial dates are reset.|
Juror Questionnaire and Voir Dire Development
|We anticipate courts will be cramming to make up for lost time. When you’re in the midst of preparing for multiple trials at once, you’ll be relieved to have a jury questionnaire and voir dire script already in your back pocket. Litigation Insights offers assistance drafting jury questionnaires and voir dire questions based on the specific issues in your case. With flexible cancellation policies, we can get a jump start on preparing for what may be the most important part of the trial.|
No matter what we face in the weeks and months to come, the show must go on. We are all in this together, and the Litigation Insights Team is here to support you.