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Sound Jury Consulting

SJC Publications


10 Signs of Who Will be Opinion Leaders in Deliberations | View PDF
Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D. and Jill D. Schmid, Ph.D.
In this article, published in the December 2016 edition of the King County Bar Bulletin, Tom and Jill identify the many signs among jury members that indicate potential opinion leadership in jury deliberations
Juries 101: Three Core Factors in Jury Decision-Making | View PDF
Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D. and Jill D. Schmid, Ph.D.
In this article, published in the November 2016 edition of the King County Bar Bulletin, Tom and Jill discuss the three fundamental principles of jury decision-making that should be considered in all strategy development efforts, regardless of the case type.
The Importance of Being Small at Trial | View PDF
Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D.
In this article, published in the August 2016 edition of the King County Bar Bulletin, Tom discusses the strategic importance of making yourself as small as possible at trial in order to exert greater control over what happens in the jury deliberations.
Hidden Forces at Work Behind Jury Decision | View PDF
Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D. and Jill D. Schmid, Ph.D.
In this article, published in the March 2016 edition of the King County Bar Bulletin, Tom and Jill the common hidden forces at play in jury deliberations that influence final opinions of a case and the process that jurors use to reach a verdict.
The Importance of Faith in Your Trial Strategy | View PDF
Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D. and Jill D. Schmid, Ph.D.
In the February 2016 edition of the King County Bar Bulletin, Tom and Jill discuss common sources of distractions that can cause attorneys to change course during trial and emphasize the importance of having faith in the core aspects of the case strategy.
Three Keys to an Effective Employment Litigation Strategy | View PDF
Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D. and Jill D. Schmid, Ph.D.
In this article, published in the January 2016 edition of the King County Bar Bulletin, Tom and Jill discuss three issues every attorney involved in employment litigation should consider during case strategy development. These three principles are derived from Tom and Jill’s work across the country with hundreds of mock jurors, shadow jurors, and real jurors on employment cases.
It’s Getting Hot in Here: How Anger and Frustration Drive Verdicts | View PDF
Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D. and Jill D. Schmid, Ph.D.
In this article, published in the September 2015 edition of the King County Bar Bulletin, Tom and Jill discuss the key factors that lead to “run-away” verdicts. This article focuses on how anger, not sympathy, drives large damage awards. It also tackles the popular Reptile theory used by many plaintiffs’ attorneys across the country.
The Games Attorneys Play in Jury Selection | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
In this article, published in the June 2015 edition of the King County Bar Bulletin, Tom discusses three common and unproductive games attorneys play during jury selection. The limitations of each are highlighted and Tom offers alternative strategies to help attorneys navigate the intricacies of the jury selection process.
An Alternative View of Deliberations and Jury Persuasion | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
In this article, published in the April 2015 edition of the King County Bar Bulletin, Tom identifies and discusses ten critical moments in deliberations can change the course of the discussion that drives the final verdict. Tom argues that a better understanding of these key moments in jury deliberations can vastly improve an attorney’s strategy development and presentation efforts over the course of trial.
The Right and Wrong Ways to Prepare Your Witness for Deposition | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
In this article, published in the February 2015 edition of the King County Bar Bulletin, Tom discusses strategies for a witness preparation session that best position the witness for success in a deposition. Tips for improving witness performance as well as common barriers to effective preparation sessions are highlighted.
Tips and Tricks for Effective Summary Judgment Motions and Argument | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
In this article, published in the October 2014 edition of the King County Bar Bulletin, Tom discusses tips and tricks for drafting effective and compelling summary judgment briefs.
The Sniper Defense: Principles for Defending Against Claims | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
In this article, published in the July 2014 edition of the King County Bar Bulletin, Tom discusses the tactics of sniper warfare and how they can provide guidance to defendants in litigation.
The Impact of Jury Constitution on Deliberations | View PDF pg1 - pg2
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D. and Kevin R. Boully, Ph.D.
In this article, published in the July 2014 edition of the King County Bar Bulletin, Tom and a colleague identify the common personality types that arise during jury deliberations and discuss how each personality type potentially influences the course of deliberations.
In The Shadows: Real-Time Juror Feedback From Trial | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
In this article, published in the May 2014 edition of the King County Bar Bulletin, Tom draws on his experience conducting shadow juries across the country and highlights some of the common issues that arrive with jurors over the course of the trial.
The Pros & Cons to the Reptile Approach to Trying Cases | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
In this article, which was published in the February 2014 edition of the King County Bar Bulletin, Tom evaluates Keenan and Ball’s Reptile strategy and discusses the pros and cons of using it as a framework for presenting a case at trial.
The Essentials of Jury De-Selection | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
In this whitepaper, Tom provides a comprehensive guide to jury selection strategy and addresses common misconceptions and flaws in traditional approaches to jury selection.
Strategies on the Fringes of the Storytelling | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
In the October 2013 issue of the King County Bar Bulletin, Tom discusses the shortcomings of the "story model" that is often used by jury consultants to guide strategy development in litigation. Tom identifies specific and practical steps attorneys can take to ensure their "story" emerges in jury deliberations.
The Keys To An Effective Medical Malpractice Defense | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
Tom tackles to the unique nature and common hurdles of medical cases and discusses the two essential components for any effective medical malpractice defense.
Defeating the Reptile: Strategies for Dismantling the Plaintiff's Revoloution | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
Tom analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the Reptile theory put forth by David Ball and Don Keenan and identifies strategies for defense attorneys looking to defeat plaintiffs engaging in Reptilian tactics.
Effective Strategy Development for Motions for Summary Judgement | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
Tom discusses the increasing use of summary judgment to terminate litigation or influence its results and highlights strategies for increasing the chances of success through summary judgment briefing and oral argument.
Arming Witness for Success: Tips and Tools for Effective Deposition Preparation and Practice Sessions | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
Tom discusses common hurdles witnesses face in depositions and identifies effective strategies that can be practiced beforehand in deposition preparation sessions to help the witness tell the truth well and successfully navigate the common tricks deployed by opposing counsel.
Enough with the Story: Give Me Some Strategy | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
Tom discusses the shortcomings of the “tell a story” recommendation that pervades the jury consulting industry and identifies concrete steps attorneys can take to improve their case presentation at trial.
A Narrative Framework for Patent Litigation | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
Tom reviews empirical research on how jurors make sense of common issues in patent litigation to help attorneys understand the narratives that are often constructed in deliberations.
Effective Opening Statements and Closing Arguments | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D., and Jill D. Schmid, Ph.D.
Tom and Jill discuss the key presentation factors that are essential to effective opening statements and closing arguments.
Planning for Success: Three Ways To Better Manage Your Cases | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D., and Jill D. Schmid, Ph.D.
Tom and Jill discuss three simple pre-trial strategies for managing discovery and establishing a framework that guides case presentation and discovery efforts.
Defending Employment Cases: The Non-Testifying Expert in the Courtroom | View PDF
Jill D. Schmid, Ph.D., and Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
Tom and Jill highlight the common experiences and beliefs that impact jurors’ perceptions of issues in employment cases and identify strategies for effectively managing these experiences and beliefs in jury selection and through the case presentation.
The Anatomy of a Malpractice Verdict | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D., Bruce A. Boyd, and Theodore O. Prosise
Tom and former colleagues discuss the wide spectrum of common factors that influence jury verdicts in medical malpractice litigation.
Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: Closing Argument and Jury Instructions (pg. 9) | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D.
Tom and Jill discuss organizational tactics and effective use of key jury instructions in closing argument to arm jurors to serve as persuasive advocates for your client in deliberations.
What No One Teaches Lawyers About Communication (pg. 1) | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D., and Jill D. Schmid, Ph.D.
Tom and Jill discuss the importance of incorporating an audience-centered communication approach into the trial presentation strategy in order to simplify the case and increase its persuasiveness to jurors.
Telling Your Client's Story in Eleven Sentences Leads to Better Trials (pg. 5) | View PDF
Thomas M. O'Toole, Ph.D., and Jill D. Schmid, Ph.D.
Tom and Jill discuss the elements that make up a good story and identify strategies for increasing the likelihood that your client’s story will emerge in the deliberation room.