Focus groups and mock trials are really valuable tools for getting a variety of insights into your case. Whether you need a quick and dirty test of the issues or a multi-day exercise to help you decide if you’re really going to take a billion dollar case to trial, we can help.
These exercises come in all shapes and sizes, from a few hours to a few days and a few mock jurors to a hundred of them. The most important thing is choosing a format that does the best possible job of getting you the information you need. We heavily tailor our work to the specifics of each case and the needs of each trial team, from the overall structure of the project all the way down to painstakingly word-smithing individual questions on our questionnaires.
For those who haven’t done one before: Focus groups are generally smaller exercises than mock trials, and accordingly a bit more affordable. They usually involve a group of representative jurors no bigger than 12 people, although you might choose to do multiple groups simultaneously or over the course of a couple days. Focus groups are great for getting high-level feedback on themes, getting a feel for how jurors respond to hot-button issues, deciding whether you can safely make certain kinds of arguments, and doing very in-depth testing and preparation for witnesses. These qualities make focus groups ideal for research early in the life of the case– even while discovery is still open– to help you figure out if you’re taking things in the right direction or missing anything significant. It’s not uncommon for focus groups to reveal that jurors care about issues you hadn’t considered much, or that they simply don’t care about the same things you do, so getting a test early while you still have room to maneuver can be invaluable. Focus groups may or may not involve having the jurors deliberate. Sometimes it’s most helpful to just sit down with them and talk about the issues.
Mock trials involve attorneys giving live, argumentative presentations to a group of people representative of the jury pool in your venue– generally with the assistance of whatever evidence and demonstratives are available. Typically, you might recruit 36 mock jurors, present both sides of your case to them, and then divide them into 3 juries of 12 to watch them deliberate. We’ve done mock trials as small as one jury for half a day and as large as 5 juries for 3 days. Mock trials are useful for getting very in-depth feedback on your case, figuring out how to teach complex information, seeing how jurors respond to your witnesses, evaluating damages exposure, and developing statistically meaningful strike profiles to be used during jury selection. There are no hard and fast rules for how big or small a mock trial to do or how to structure it, but generally we do two or three juries over one or two days.