Sound Jury Consulting Services
Why Sound Jury Consulting?
Sound Jury Consulting was started because we wanted to create a company that provided effective and practical recommendations for the day-to-day trenches of discovery and trial rather than simply rely and pass on abstract principles or academic theories of jury decision-making. In our work, we differentiate ourselves from our competition by providing our clients with a clear path forward, whether that path involves mediation, arbitration, a bench trial, or a jury trial. We believe this shows in all aspects of our consulting and research work, whether that be working with witnesses, drafting opening statements or closing arguments, providing visual accompaniments to your messages, finding and striking high-risk jurors, or conducting research designed and executed with one goal – learn as much as we can about how jurors make sense of your case. We take tremendous pride in our written work product, making sure it is designed to truly help the trial team move to a successful conclusion. We focus on quality over quantity. Hundreds of pages of graphs and charts might feel weighty, but if it does not provide clear and executable advice, then a lot of money has been spent for nothing. All of this is why we have become the go-to litigation consulting company for hundreds of attorneys, municipalities, and corporations across the United States.
Cost of Services
The most common, erroneous belief about jury consultants is that they are only affordable for cases where the exposure is significant. However, this is simply not true. We have consulted on cases as small as single-plaintiff, medical malpractice cases with exposure around $100,000, up to bet-the-company billion-dollar MDL product liability cases. Our consulting ranges from single witness preparation sessions costing less than $1,000 up to cases where we provided every service from initial case strategy sessions to post-trial debriefings. In every case, we work closely with clients to design services that fit the needs and budgets of their case. We do not sell our clients services that they do not need. We primarily bill by the hour, but we can also offer flat fee options. If you would like a quote, proposal, or to speak with a consultant about your specific needs, please contact Tom O'Toole or Jill Schmid.
Strategy & Theme Development
The overarching goal of this session is to provide the client with a simple and persuasive framework for the case. Sound Jury Consulting works with the client to develop the story of the case and identify the practical steps the attorneys need to take throughout the course of the litigation to bring the case to a successful resolution. Sound Jury Consulting will make specific, tangible recommendations for the implementation of this strategy.
Specifically, Sound Jury Consulting reviews key case documents, jury research in the case-type, and any other relevant information and meets with clients for a case strategy session that covers:
- Evaluation of case strengths and weaknesses
- Application of relevant, prior jury research findings
- Theme development
- Strategic language development
- Development of case framework
- Identification of key case facts that effectively focus the trier of fact
- Key witness evaluation
- Opportunities for visual persuasion in the case presentation
The analysis and recommendations from the meeting will be developed and provided to client in the days following the meeting. This report serves as a roadmap for the trial team’s presentation throughout the litigation lifecycle including trial (opening statement, direct examination of friendly witnesses, cross examination of adverse witnesses, and closing argument).
Sound Jury Consulting works with clients to manage the jury selection process. There are multiple stages of the process, any or all of which Sound Jury Consulting can assist with. Sound Jury Consulting begins by developing an adverse juror profile that focuses on “de-selection.” This profile identifies the attitudes, experiences, and demographics that increase the risk of the prospective juror adopting an adverse leaning towards the client. The profile is then used as a springboard for the development of voir dire questions and/or a supplemental juror questionnaire that elicits critical information from jurors about their case-specific attitudes and experiences. Finally, Sound Jury Consulting attends court during jury selection and assists the client with information management during voir dire and how to best use the peremptory strikes to achieve a fair or favorable jury.
Witness Deposition Preparation Session
Sound Jury Consulting meets with attorneys and the witness for a deposition practice session. Sound Jury Consulting educates the witness about key presentation factors, common pitfalls, and arms the witness with tools to navigate deposition hurdles and effectively tell the truth.
Witness Trial Testimony Preparation Session
Sound Jury Consulting meets with attorneys and the witness for a trial testimony preparation session. Sound Jury Consulting educates the witness about how juries commonly perceive verbal and nonverbal behavior on the witness stand and arms the witness with the tools to provide quality testimony, buttressed by a strong verbal and nonverbal presentation.
Witness Arbitration Preparation Session
Sound Jury Consulting meets with attorneys and the witness for an arbitration testimony preparation session. Sound Jury Consulting educates the witness about the impact of verbal and nonverbal behavior on credibility assessments made by arbitrators and arms the witness with the tools to provide quality testimony, buttressed by a strong verbal and nonverbal presentation.
Witness Evaluation Research
Sound Jury Consulting recruits jury-eligible participants within the litigation venue to watch video of a witness's testimony and provide detailed quantitative and qualitative feedback. Sound Jury Consuliting reports mock juror feedback and provides recommendations for improving the quality of the witness's testimony.
Mock Trials, Focus Groups, & Shadow Juries
Mock Jury Trials
Sound Jury Consulting recruits jury-eligible participants from the litigation venue to watch streamlined presentations of each side's case. Mock jurors are provided key jury instructions, verdict form questions, and exhibits and asked to deliberate to a verdict in the case. Quantitative and qualitative feedback is collected through various questionnaires, deliberation analysis, and focus group interviews. The findings are compiled in a report along with Sound Jury Consulting recommendations for trial.
Sound Jury Consulting recruits jury-eligible participants from the litigation venue to provide feedback on key issues, evidence, and/or witnesses in the case. Quantitative and qualitative feedback is collected through various questionnaires and focus group interviews. The findings are compiled in a report along with Sound Jury Consulting recommendations for strategy development.
Early Discovery Focus Groups
Sound Jury Consulting recruits jury-eligible participants from the litigation venue to provide feeback on key issues in the case and potential litigation themes. Quantitative and qualitative feedback is collected through various questionnaires and focus group interviews. The findings are compiled in a report along with Sound Jury Consulting recommendations for discovery efforts.
Mock Bench Trials
Sound Jury Consulting recruits mock judges, typically former judges, to review pleadings and watch streamlined presentations of each side's case. Quantitative and qualitative feedback is collected through judge interviews. Findings are compiled in a report along with Sound Jury Consulting recommendations for trial.
Sound Jury Consulting recruits mock arbitrators to review arbitration briefing and watch streamlined presentations of each side's case. Quantitative and qualitative feedback is collected through arbitrator interviews. Findings are compiled in a report along with Sound Jury Consulting recommendations for arbitration.
Community Attitude Surveys
Sound Jury Consulting conducts phone survey research for jury pool assessments, survey-based case feedback, or change of venue motions. Sound Jury Consulting can provide expert testimony in conjunction with change of venue studies.
Sound Jury Consulting recruits jury-eligible participants to watch the trial live and provide daily feedback through evening phone interviews. Sound Jury Consulting processes the shadow jurors' feedback and offers simple, but effective daily recommendations for improving the case presentation over the course of the trial.
Post-Trial Juror Interviews
Sound Jury Consulting conducts telephone interviews with the actual jurors who decided your case to determine how and why they decided the case the way they did. This research is extremely beneficial when the client is facing multiple, similar cases.
Sound Jury Consulting regularly provides continuing legal education and training courses throughout the country to bar associations, law firms, in-house attorneys, and other organizations on a wide range of important topics. Each presentation is engaging, informative, and memorable as they focus on practical tips and tools that attorneys can immediately apply to their cases. Most presentations include video clips from mock jury deliberations and other materials to highlight key points.
Opening Statement & Closing Argument
Opening Statement Writing and Editing
Sound Jury Consulting provides assistance with attorneys’ opening statements in a variety of ways, ranging from the initial writing and drafting of the opening statement to minor edits and feedback further along in the process. SJC provides attorneys with strategic guidance for the writing and delivery of a persuasive and memorable opening statement. This is an iterative process with the exchanging of drafts until the finished work is completed.
The process is most effective when attorneys and the consultant meet at the outset to discuss the case framework, themes, and language that are most likely to lead jurors to fill out the verdict form in the desired manner.
Opening Statement Graphics and/or Visual Presentation
As part of the writing/editing of the opening statement, Sound Jury Consulting creates an accompanying visual element. Typically, this is a combination of PowerPoint slides, pre-made display boards, and flip chart notes. SJC can create the entire opening visual presentation or supply a few key graphics. This service provides the critical and necessary visual component that aids juror attention, focus, understanding, and retention.
Opening Statement Practice
The presenting attorney meets with Sound Jury Consulting for a rehearsal of the opening statement. SJC provides feedback on both the verbal and nonverbal elements that increase the attorney’s credibility with the jury and/or judge. The session is video recorded to provide visual feedback, as well.
Opening Statement Research
Sound Jury Consulting recruits mock jurors from the venue to provide feedback on the attorney’s opening statement. The specific method varies according to the case complexity and side (plaintiff vs. defendant). This research provides invaluable insights into how jurors process and retain this most critical element of trial. SJC provides specific recommendations for content and delivery modifications.
Closing Argument Writing and Editing
Sound Jury Consulting provides attorneys with strategic guidance on the writing and delivery of a closing argument that summarizes and simplifies the days or weeks of trial in a persuasive and memorable manner. SJC understands the time pressures that are typically faced when constructing one’s closing argument; therefore, feedback is focused, clear, and easy to implement.
The process is most effective when SJC has access to daily transcripts and/or summaries of trial from which they keep track of key testimony and evidence that are most conducive to a positive outcome. From this material, a closing is drafted as trial progresses allowing for an efficient and effective process. This significantly reduces the need to cram the writing and practicing of a closing argument into the hours before it is to be given
Closing Argument Practice
When time permits, the presenting attorney meets with Sound Jury Consulting for a rehearsal of the closing argument. SJC provides feedback designed to meet the unique challenges of a closing argument – the need to simplify and focus jurors’ attention on the facts that matter, but also teach jurors how to deliberate in a manner that leads to a favorable outcome.
SJC can assist you with your graphic needs in a variety of different ways: 1. Custom Individual Graphics created from scratch to fit your case specific needs; 2. Custom PowerPoint Slideshows created for opening, witness presentations, and/or closing; 3. Making your in-house PowerPoint or graphics trial-ready.