Pre-trial focus groups & settlement negotiations

Cases settle mainly because of the defendant's exposure to risk. However, the legal losses are not the only element a jury takes into account when rendering an award. Research studies clearly demonstrate that what is important to either party about a case may be completely irrelevant to jurors. You will need to know where you and your adversary's case positions are the most vulnerable from a jury's perspective.

Plaintiffs and defendants need to discover in the early stages of case preparation whether or not there is something about specific litigation issues that would raise social impact and psychologically make the case greater than just one family's losses. Put another way, what is there about this fact pattern and these parties that motivates a jury to act for one side or the other?

You can learn the essential key that unlocks your case-both for settlement and, if necessary, for trial. Conducting Pre-trial Focus Groups is as necessary in preparing your litigation matters for settlement negotiations as they are in preparing for trial. Why? Because Focus Groups pinpoint those issues that resonate with jurors. Knowing how to address these issues so that a jury accepts your position is an empowering strategic advantage.

How do focus groups enhance settlement negotiations?

Predictive of jury reaction

Pre-Trial Focus Groups, when scientifically conducted, reliably predict the positions of a typical jury and reveal the underlying reasons behind their verdict. They show the client which of your arguments work best and least with the most cynical juror. A professional analysis will explain why the case was accepted or rejected by all jurors. Themes are suggested for universal appeal.

Maintaining objectivity

A client can get too close to the case and start to lose objectivity. Your settlement negotiations and case strategy should be based upon objective information rather than subjective, untested theories. Presenting facts/testimony and watching Focus Group Respondents react as they deliberate issues and assess credibility enables you to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case with a fresher eye.

Rebutting adversary's contentions

Learning which liability theories had the most credibility with jurors gives you clout in rebutting contentions your adversary is likely to advance. You may even decide it is advantageous to reveal favorable Focus Group feedback to the adversary during the settlement or mediation process to further cement your position.

Negotiating based upon juror value

Learning how to successfully handle case-related juror biases not only keeps your case on track but also keeps your adversary on track during negotiations by impressing upon the other side the probable failures of certain aspects of their liability position. A jury has shown what they will and will not accept and how they valued the case. Because empirical research results are outcome predictive, the outcome of the case is no longer just a matter of speculation. You are negotiating the value of the case as it was determined by jurors. Settle the case on the jury's terms-your terms, not your Adversary's.

Shared focus groups

In a particularly long and/or complex case, you could agree to share a Focus Group session with your adversary where both sides present the case and several panels deliberate. This process enables both sides to share costs and spares you both the time and expense of taking the case to trial. The process can be structured as a binding, open-ended arbitration, a binding arbitration with a "high-low" or a non-binding mediation.


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  • BDI Acquisition

    juin 22, 2017 - Schlesinger is excited to announce the acquisition of BDI Research, a research services company with facilities in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain.

  • 360 immersive video

    octobre 14, 2016 - Introducing 360° immersive video for focus groups. The system features 360° cameras that put observers at the center of the conversation, creating a whole new experience for observers and compelling video for researchers.

  • Young Professionals Grant

    septembre 5, 2016 - Schlesinger has once again collaborated with the QRCA to fund the Young Professionals Grant to give young qualitative research professionals the opportunity to attend the QRCA annual conference.

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