Case presentation approach

What do you, the attorney, rely upon when selecting a jury? Past experience? Advice from colleagues? Attorney "folklore"? Do you recall Melvin Belli or Clarence Darrow or Your Favorite Mentor saying that a certain juror of a particular age, race, sex or religion would make the best/worst juror for the Plaintiff / Defendant in a civil case or the Prosecution/Defendant in a criminal case? How accurate and reliable is demographic stereotyping? Research reveals that engaging in stereotyping during jury selection is dangerous because in hindsight, it may prove wrong for a particular case which always has unique characteristics. Your "model" juror for one case can be your "killer" juror for another.

Our consulting firm recommends that for jury selection, you utilize the Case Presentation Approach. The selection of your jury is most ideal when you begin this process long before you arrive in the courtroom. The time to actually begin is when your specific case is in the process of being pre-tried before a mock jury or juries and you are viewing the deliberations. During deliberations, attorneys have observed that the same evidence is often interpreted differently by members of the same demographic mix. What causes this dynamic to occur? To fully understand and appreciate this and many other juror dynamics requires the implementation of social science analytic tools. These tools convert conflicting raw data into reliable knowledge. The highly complex process through which a juror's demographics and core beliefs unite is what predisposes a juror to interpret case-related information in a certain manner. A complex process, such as this, needs to be scientifically assessed before forming any global conclusions.

The knowledge acquired is then utilized to create effective trial strategies and provide the necessary guidance in jury selection. It is essential to discover which jurors possess intensely held attitudes, adversely affecting their interpretation of testimony and/or hold intractable bias against the litigants in the case. In addition, it is crucial to fully probe the reasons certain individuals strongly accept or reject a litigant's case position. These are the critical variables necessary in (a) predicting which jurors are best for you to select and deselect and (b) providing you with the strategies necessary to convincingly try your case. The linchpin to gaining this advantage at trial is pre-testing your case and having the feedback professionally analyzed by Schlesinger Associates.

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