Mock Trials and Focus Groups

Understanding How the Fact Finder Reaches a Decision

Mock Trial Research, sometimes referred to as Mock Jury Research or Trial Simulation provides the most dramatic way to test a case’s facts, theories, graphics, and witnesses. It offers insight into the way jury-eligible individuals make decisions about your case and provides an understanding of how your case will be viewed by jury eligible citizens in the venue or matched venue prior to trial or ADR. Watching deliberations and post-verdict interviews via closed circuit, counsel and client can appreciate first hand, not just the outcome, but also the process by which jurors reached their decision. Mock trial research can be tailored in a variety of ways to meet the specific needs of your case.

Mock Trial Jury Research

A mock trial research:

Tests key evidence, demonstrative exhibits, and witnesses from a juror’s perspective
Assesses jurors’ responses to the verdict form questions and jury instructions
Evaluates jurors’ decisions on liability, causation, and allocation of responsibility
Provides damage calculations and estimates, to assess settlement value and for risk management as well as highlights areas of confusion and where refinement of the narrative is needed
Identifies effective themes, ineffective themes and arguments for both sides as well as Illuminates characteristics of high-risk jurors for jury selection

Trial Simulation Research design

Generally recommended late in discovery, the timing of mock jury research is versatile and can be conducted anywhere from months in advance of trial, to the weekend before trial. The research is custom-designed with Tsongas and counsel. The scope and complexity of the mock trial varies depending on the specific needs of each case. In general, the research is conducted in the trial venue or a matched venue. Three or more panels of jury-eligible individuals are randomly recruited and carefully screened by our in-house recruitment department. These panels watch pre-recorded or live summary case presentations for each party. Counsel is encouraged to present evidentiary and demonstrative exhibits, segments of witness testimony (if available), jury instructions, and verdict forms to the jurors for their use and evaluation. After the information has been presented, each mock jury deliberates to a verdict. Individual measurements of verdict preferences, damages, and other aspects of the case are taken before and after deliberation. After the jury has reached its verdict, a facilitator leads each jury through a detailed interview, exploring issues which affected the verdict and seeking other information of interest to counsel.

Work product

Digital copy of case presentations, jury deliberations, and post-verdict interviews
Comprehensive written analysis or closed-circuit work product
Expert recommendations for strategy refinement, evidence, and argument presentation
Summary of mock juror profiles, including social/demographic, experiential, and attitudinal information

Role of counsel

Counsel prepares plaintiff and defense summary defense presentations and, with the assistance of Tsongas Litigation, records them on video or prepares to present to them live. Counsel prepares draft verdict form, jury instruction, and exhibit books. Closed-circuit viewing allows counsel and clients to view deliberations in real time, and participate in the interview session by submitting questions through the facilitator. After the mock jurors are dismissed, counsel and the research team participate in an interactive, high-energy, post-research strategy session.