How often do you hire an expert knowing most of what they will say, but not how effective it will be in helping you win at trial? If you go into trial without knowing how effective your expert witness is at persuading jurors, you risk not only wasting the money spent on their fees, but also run the much greater risk of getting surprised by an adverse decision at trial.
We recently completed a private jury trial in a major motor vehicle collision, and learned some fascinating lessons about how jurors value less visible injuries such as cognitive impairment.
We have helped thousands of clients win better outcomes in their lawsuits using our Private Jury Trial service over the last three decades. Woven into that success, we have heard two needs from our clients that we cannot meet with an all-day, in-person trial: 1) It's not cost effective for smaller cases, and 2) Because of the cost and time commitment, it's likely they can only do it once in a given case... even as the case evolves and new questions arise.
Settling a six figure personal injury case in an hour probably seems impossible to those in the legal profession who have not yet enjoyed the benefits of First Court's 1 Hour Mediation.
Everyone involved in a lawsuit has some incentive to settle before the end of the year. Whether it's holiday closure (and cash) for injured parties, cash flow and tax benefits for law firms, or cleaning up the books for insurance carriers - our clients of every type tell us this time of year is a good inflection point to try to resolve open cases.
You pay a premium for expert testimony. Why? To persuade jurors. But do you have any way to know if you are investing in the right expert(s)? There is no single rule to pick the best experts for each case, but we have had the chance to measure the effectiveness of thousands of experts over the years, and have identified a handful of key traits we see in expert witnesses that achieve their desired effect – persuading jurors.
Consider this fact pattern and outcome from a case we recently worked on: Plaintiff rear-ends trailer pulling a large load of logs. I repeat: Plaintiff rear-ends defendant. But the jurors assign most of the blame to the defendant… who was rear-ended.Juror's Feedback:
I imagine you have been in this situation: Your key witness is a good man. You know he is honest. In all your discussions he is down-to-earth. Likeable. Not a whiff of arrogance.
If a trial team is not doing jury research, they are essentially relying on their intuition and experience to gain the best possible outcome in your case. This approach can get the job done, but does not guarantee the best possible outcome for clients. Jury research is becoming more and more popular, because it helps reduce risk, improve litigation strategy, and ultimately saves money for the person whose money is at stake in the litigation. Some law firms routinely use jury research for all of their cases. Because of its economical and practical benefits, jury research is valuable for all parties involved in litigation.
There's no way around it - Modern jury research requires excellent software. Effective software allows research data to be organized in a useable manner, engages your team in the research process, and enables participants to give candid responses. The software used in jury research should promote honest feedback and help show the weakness and strengthens of your case.