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Using Focus Groups and Mock Juries in Injury Trials


Did you know that many large online streaming services, and many movie studios, use focus groups to screen TV and movies, before they are released to the public? The point is to get a neutral opinion on the show or movie; often the focus group likes, dislikes, or brings up something that the producers of the show had never thought of.

Mock Juries

Law has focus groups as well. In the legal sense, a focus group is a mock jury that hears the basics of a case, and then gives its feedback to the lawyers, so that they can refine arguments, and see what arguments or evidence or points of attack work or don’t work.

The focus group can reveal what demographic may be best to use in jury selection, and can reveal concerns that potential jurors may have about the case. It may reveal what evidence jurors find credible or believable, and which they don’t.

The focus groups are usually demographically similar to the jury pool in which the case will be heard, although of course, there is no way of exactly replicating what will be the ultimate demographic makeup of the eventual jury.

How the Mock Juries are Selected

Focus groups can be expensive, and time consuming, and often are only used in very large, very complex injury cases. Nowadays, many private companies will gather, screen and conduct the focus group for the attorneys; all the attorneys have to do is present the “mock case” to the focus group.

However, it is possible to do a smaller focus group, at a lesser cost. The group may not be as scientifically accurate as one that is conducted by an actual firm, but it can still be valuable to the attorneys nonetheless.

Finding the mock jurors to sit on the focus group may be done through agencies or firms that specialize  in this area—although sometimes it can be as simple as putting an ad on Craigslist or similar services, and taking whomever applies.

Focus groups can be done early in the case. This can help attorneys determine what kind of discovery they will do, and where to focus their energies in the discovery process. It can also show, early on, if there are important things about the case that are weak, or unpersuasive.

When it comes to compensation, it can also give attorneys and clients an idea of what dollar figure a typical jury would feel is fair for the case.

Mock juries are also done right before trial, as a last minute way to refine arguments before trial.

In rare cases, the Defendant and Plaintiff may agree to share in the cost, and usage of, the focus group, using the focus groups’ opinions to help shape settlement negotiations.

What will the jury think of your case? Get answers to your questions. Call our Boston personal injury lawyers at The Law Office of Joseph Linnehan, Jr. today at 617-275-4200 for help and a free consultation.




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