Photo: Robert Couse-Baker, Flickr Creative Commons
Lawyers often have default strategies when it comes to picking jurors: “I never pick students.” “Give me a blue-collar worker any day.” “I prefer businessmen for IP theft cases.” “I’ve been dealing with jurors a long time. I can tell which ones like me and which don’t.”
These “intuitive” strategies are often part of an attorney’s reasoning for passing on a jury consultant firm, relying instead on their own experience. However, time and again research has shown that these untested jury theories often backfire. A juror may be nodding in apparent agreement with your entire presentation, only to vote against your client. Jury-watching alone cannot predict the outcome of a trial.
This Complex Creature Called ‘Human’
One of the problems with these “intuitive” approaches is that they pigeonhole jurors into a single category. It is important to remember that jurors are individual, complex people whose lives have many sub-categories (job, marital status, religion, race, education, etc.) that all influence how they view a case.
Suppose you are trying a case that involves medical malpractice that resulted in the death of a child. As you are representing the parents in this case, you are pleased to have a housewife on your jury, but are concerned about the pediatrician. To your surprise, the housewife votes against your clients, while the pediatrician votes in their favor! In post-trial interviews, the housewife reveals that she found the defense’s case compelling, overriding her original emotional reaction to the case. Meanwhile the pediatrician was a case of “defensive attribution.” She recognized the defendant’s action was something she easily could have done, so she voted for the plaintiff in order to avoid identifying herself with the defendant.
Predict: Reliable Jury Research
When it comes to people, traditional wisdom and experience are not always reliable indicators of how they will behave. People are a complex intersection of motives and behaviors, and they can have completely different reactions to similar cases. That is one of the drawbacks of traditional jury consultant firms: they rely on statistics drawn from cases similar to yours, rather than being able to run the exact details of your case past a wide array of potential jurors. Using generalized data is like a doctor using another patient’s diagnosis to treat you. You may get better, or you may be a lot worse off.
With Predict, our premier jury research tool, you get tangible feedback on the specifics of your case from a large pool of potential jurors. Predict allows you to keep testing your case from different angles to narrow down the case narrative and demonstratives that will be most beneficial to your case. More effective and less costly than mock juries or jury consultant firms, Predict is the reliable jury research tool you have been looking for.
For more information about Predict, contact Paul Null at 866-277-3247 ext. 105.