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Shadow Juries

Daily insight into how the jury is perceiving the case

A shadow jury is a group of jury-eligible people who attend trial, supervised by a Tsongas Jury Consultant. Also know as trial monitors, these jury-eligible individuals are debriefed daily to provide timely feedback to the litigation team. What did they think about opening statements? Did they understand the point of the witness’s direct examination? Was the message of the demonstrative clear? Which party do they favor and why?

Shadow jurors identify misunderstandings and confusion, which can be clarified the next day of trial. A shadow jury can provide:

  • Daily insight into how a jury is likely perceiving the case

  • See if messages are coming across as intended

  • Gauge the impact of specific testimony, arguments, or evidence

  • Receive a credibility assessment of your witnesses

  • Identify misunderstandings or confusion that need to be clarified the next day

Research design

Tsongas provides two types of Shadow Jurors: Consultant Observers and Juror Observers. The Consultant Observer is an experienced Tsongas Consultant who attends trial daily and relies on his or her experience to assess potential juror reactions to the information presented. The Consultant Observer makes daily recommendations to the trial team in order to enhance or solidify the overall trial strategy. Juror Observers (AKA Shadow Jurors) are jury-eligible citizens recruited for the purpose of observing the trial from a lay perspective.

Trial Monitoring can be conducted with a Consultant Observer alone, or with the addition of Juror Observers. When Juror Observers are used, the Consultant Observer conducts a nightly interview with each Juror Observer to supplement his or her own observations and suggestions. When Juror Observers are used, they are told they are working on a jury research project. However, in order to maintain objectivity, they are not told which party is conducting the research. In addition to attending trial at the same time actual jurors do, Juror Observers are instructed to follow the same admonitions given to the actual jurors. For example, they must not discuss any aspect of the trial with anyone (other than the designated Tsongas Consultant).

Juror Observers are individually interviewed each night by a Tsongas consultant about the day’s proceedings and their perceptions of the case. The results of the interviews are provided in a nightly report to counsel. The decision to conduct a Shadow Jury should be made within a month prior to trial. Juror Observers are recruited approximately two weeks before trial, and are usually retained for the duration of the trial.

Work product

The Tsongas Consultant will communicate feedback with counsel on a daily basis, in either written or oral form.

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