Decision Analysis offers a variety of additional communication and strategic services:
Communication Strategy: Frame and Theme Development, Presentation Design,
Opening and Closing Statement Development
Decision Analysis consultants can provide strategic communication recommendations to assist the attorney deliver persuasive and memorable opening statements and closing arguments or design an overall strategy for presenting the case. Jurors remember and identify their own experiences best with a clear, cohesive, and compelling story of the case in delivered consistently in opening statement, witness testimony, demonstrative evidence, and closing arguments.
After analyzing our pre-trial jury research and discussing the specific themes and objectives of the statement, testimony, argument, or motions, we will recommend language, delivery, production values, graphics, and story structure for the case presentation. Communication theory, linguistics, theatre, and educational psychology provide the conceptual framework around which we will build our specific recommendations to create an interactive case presentation that positively impacts the decisions of the jury or judge.
Storyboarding the Case with a Graphic Designer
In cases with complex evidence and industry terms, it is often not enough to clearly explain the case to the jury. It is important to create a visual story in order to give meaningful context for testimony and evidence. This means creating an actual storyboard of the case we want to present, a series of visual signposts for a judge or jury, or plotting the key documents and demonstrative evidence that illustrate the core narrative of the case. Storyboarding goes beyond timelines, pie, and organizational charts. It takes the themes and tutorials needed and creates a set of visually compelling images that consistently reinforce your strongest evidence.
Shadow Juries and In-Court Monitoring
The goal of Shadow Jury research is to obtain daily feedback on the trial from a group of recruited respondents who are demographically similar to the actual jurors sitting on the case. This gives the attorneys valuable day-to-day information on how jurors are receiving the case; the prevailing strengths and weaknesses of the case and outstanding questions or misunderstandings jurors may be forming during trial. Although Shadow Juries are not intended to be predictive of verdict outcome, this juror feedback can be useful for trial counsel to respond and make adjustments to their presentation of evidence.
Shadow Jurors would be recruited with a mixture of demographics similar to the juror profile of jurors in the venue pool for the case. After jury selection, the select number of Shadow Jurors would be retained to represent the most reflective mix of characteristics of those on the actual panel. They would sign confidentiality agreements and be given extremely strict instructions and guidelines as to how to conduct themselves in court. They are to have no interaction with the parties, the actual jurors, court personnel, attorneys, or witnesses in the case. Counsel would be given guidelines on how to address the issue with the Court and how to handle the presence of the Shadow Jurors in court. Shadow Jurors would take notes like real jurors in the trial and leave the courtroom whenever the real jurors are dismissed, doing so in an inconspicuous manner. If another level of confidentiality is required, a request can be made to have Courtroom View Network cover the trial. In this circumstance, Shadow Jurors can be located in a conference room where they can view the proceedings via streaming webcast. This allows us to control the information that the Shadow Jurors are exposed to so they do not inadvertently hear rulings from a Judge, arguments from attorneys, or accidentally learn which side has retained them for the research. This control and neutrality is important to obtain their most objective feedback on the trial.
At selected breaks and at the end of the day, the Shadow Jurors would fill out a short summary sheet of impressions and give a short individual interview with a Decision Analysis consultant. The consultant would, in turn, report on the impressions to the client. Depending on client desire, these jurors may also be brought together to conduct a mock deliberation/focus group prior to closing arguments at the end of the trial.
If not carried on CVN or on a similar broadcast, a Decision Analysis consultant would be present in court to monitor juror reactions to the case, control their exposure to extra-evidentiary issues and exposure as well as provide feedback to the attorneys on recommendations to clarify or strengthen the evidence, testimony, or arguments used in the case presentation. This can include themes, framing concepts, story development, witness preparation, or graphics needed to illustrate key case issues.
Increasingly, we have been asked to use the results that we obtain through the research to consult with counsel on how to best position the case at mediations and arbitrations. Research findings can be formatted for talking points for counsel, charts of actual research, and even clips of mock trial jurors speaking about the case can be used to show opposing counsel and the mediator an objective third party discussing the merits of the case. From this, negotiation strategies can be formulated to create a more advantageous settlement posture or arbitration position for the case.
In some instances, consultants can also give a brief presentation to the joint mediation session sharing the findings from the focus group research, including possibly showing some of the videotape of our mock juries deliberating. This has proven effective at affecting opposing counsel’s thinking of case value and providing the mediator with additional material for influencing the other side.