1. Themes, Openings, and Slides
Do jurors actually remember what is said during openings and closings? What percentage of evidence and argument to jurors understand and use?
Part of our consulting role will be to use the principles of psychology and rhetoric to help present complex concepts in a way that is memorable.
As is common for trial consultants and attorneys preparing to go to trial, we use the story model…and quite a bit more. The story model helps one prepare for trial at a global level but as is the case with every trial, the devil is in the details…
2. Focus Group Research
What does an attorney call his or her opinions and beliefs about a pending legal case? The answer is, “untested hypotheses.”
Well, the attorney may not call those opinions and beliefs untested hypotheses but that is what the professionals at Westlake Trial Consulting call them. Do you know what is better than an untested hypothesis? A tested hypothesis. The best way to test a hypothesis about an upcoming trial or mediation is by use of focus groups.
Unlike other trial consulting firms, the professionals at Westlake Trial Consulting conduct different types of focus groups, depending upon your needs…
3. Mock Trial
Sometimes you want to test out more evidence and argument than can be done in a focus group. In that case, you probably want to use a mock trial.
Unlike a focus group which can be conducted in one day, a mock trial may take up to two full work days to complete because of all the information mock jurors are exposed to:
- Jurors complete questionnaires that measure demographic and attitudinal factors.
- Attorneys conduct voir dire for the plaintiff and defense.
- Attorneys make plaintiff and defense openings.
- Trial consultants present deposition clips and other evidence taking care to…
4. Jury Selection/Voir Dire
In 1936 Clarence Darrow wrote an article about jury selection that was published by Esquire Magazine. In this article, Mr. Darrow wrote, “If a Presbyterian enters the jury box and carefully rolls up his umbrella, and calmly and critically sits down, let him go. He is cold as the grave.” Clarence Darrow is one of the most renowned litigators in America trial history and if you follow his advice, then you and the esteemed Mr. Darrow will have one thing in common – you will both be mistaken. Demographics alone rarely parse favorable from unfavorable jurors.
What about those “jury whisperers” who claim to read subtle nonverbals that no one else, not even you, can see? Then it might be okay to follow Clarence Darrow’s advice…
5. Case Consultation
There’s a little voice in your head telling you to keep looking. You’re missing something about your case. The voice tells you that you may not have the full picture. You talk to other attorneys and that little voice is still there. It still wants an answer but you don’t even know the question. What do you do?
You probably got into law because you liked a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. While you can appreciate a good conundrum or two, you client expects you to be right…
6. Witness Preparation
If witness preparation was as easy as giving the witness a list of do’s and don’t’s, there would be no need for witness preparation services but some witnesses are well beyond the bandaid approach of a list.
Witness preparation is probably one of the most misunderstood services provided by trial consultants. The public misunderstands witness preparation because they are inclined to think witness preparation is designed to help the witness cover-up or lie. Nothing could be further from the truth…
Do you want to know why good litigators often feel stymied in mediation? It has to do with the fundamental question of a trial vs. the fundamental question of mediation.
- Fundamental question in a trial – “Ladies and gentleman of the jury, can I have some of the defendant’s money?”
- Fundamental question in mediation – “Defendant (or insurance company) can I have some of your money?”
Obviously, those are two very different questions requiring two very different strategies to get the answer you want. As you begin to ponder and appreciate the need to approach trial and mediation differently, let’s try going off the rails on a crazy train…
8. Our Philosophy
The professionals who comprise Westlake Trial Consulting have advanced degrees in various sciences, including psychology and engineering. All of the professionals working in Westlake Trial Consulting were trained in the scientist-practitioner model, which means we use scientific knowledge and techniques to address real world problems.
The professionals comprising Westlake Trial Consulting are not licensed attorneys. We do not practice law and we do not offer legal advice or legal opinions. We do not duplicate the training, education, and expertise of the attorneys we work with. Rather, we bring unique non-legal but creative and practical solutions to every case we work on…