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Commitment Effects, Part 2: Does Allowing Juror Discussion Prior to Deliberation Affect Their Decision Making?

In Part 1 of this blog, we discussed whether asking verdict-related questions early in a mock trial can cause a commitment effect in mock jurors, such that they are less likely to change their opinions as more evidence is presented. Now, we’ll extend this idea into “real world” trials, because some venues allow jurors to […]

How Can the Defense Use the “Reptile Approach” Against Plaintiffs?

“This is a very important case, and by being a juror on a case like this, you’re taking on a pretty big role; you’re basically a guardian of the community.  You’re the ones that get to be the decider about when things are wrong or when they’re right, or when some change needs to happen. […]

Should an ESL Witness Testify Through an Interpreter?

When presented with a witness who speaks English as a Second Language (ESL), it is difficult to predict how they will be perceived by a jury.  In a previous post, we examined the challenges of identifying juror bias against foreign witnesses, but that raises a separate, yet related issue as to whether that witness is […]

Are Jurors Biased Against Foreign Witnesses?

To say that America has a complicated relationship with “foreignness” would no doubt be an understatement.  After all, the vast majority of us have relatives or ancestors who immigrated to the United States at some point in time (I, myself, am a first-generation citizen).  Yet, there remains a great deal of political controversy and social tension between Americans and the foreign born (or […]

Commitment Effects: Does Asking Verdict Questions Early Commit Mock Jurors to a Position?

When we design a mock trial – where jurors are read instructions and deliberate to a verdict form – we concentrate on presenting the case facts, witnesses, and evidence in a way that will impact jurors’ story of the case similarly to a “real life” trial.  As such, we typically wait until after jurors hear […]

What’s on Employees’ Minds? Employee Rights, Pay, & Government Regulation

Most jurors are employed, either as contractors, employees, or self-employed.  What are their workplace concerns these days?  Do they feel protected?  Do they believe their pay is fair? Understanding how jurors’ employment needs and concerns have changed (or not changed) is critical in assessing the risks in your employment litigation.  Will jurors identify with the […]

Should My Client Say “I’m Sorry”?

As a corporate defendant, does it help or hurt to apologize for past conduct?  Does it show weakness?  Fault?  Honesty?  Sincerity? Well, it all depends on the case.  Just take a look at mock jurors’ very different reactions to two different defendants saying, “We’re sorry.” Juror A:  “They have done nothing to address the problems […]

How Do I Get Jurors to Reveal Their Biases?

As we’ve discussed elsewhere, it is important to use voir dire as a tool for identifying your worst jurors while hiding you best jurors, and eliciting bias and obtaining cause challenges should be the primary objective.  In a previous blog, we offered techniques for cause sequencing, which is the series of questions that will lead […]

Maximizing Cause Strikes: How Do I Get Jurors to Say They Can’t be Fair?

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, eliciting bias and obtaining cause challenges should be the primary objectives of voir dire. Each juror you are able to remove for cause is essentially equivalent to having an additional peremptory strike that your opponent does not. Indeed, a successful voir dire should tilt the playing field in your […]

How Jurors’ Attitudes About Gender and Age Discrimination in the Workplace Affect Your Case

What matters more – jurors’ discrimination experiences or their attitudes? Or are both critical? Imagine you are in jury selection and have a juror who directly experienced workplace discrimination. You have another juror who has witnessed others’ experience with workplace discrimination. And yet another who harbors the belief that gender discrimination is ingrained in today’s […]

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