Verdict - Spring 2018 - 16

> FEATURE

Look Before You Leap
Conducting Jury Focus Groups Before Trial
BY RYALS D. STONE

PESHKOVA/SHUTTERSTOCK

O
1

nce you have completed your initial venue research, it can be extremely beneficial to test your case with Jury Focus
Groups consisting of similarly situated mock jurors to see how they respond to your various claims of liability against
the Defendant(s) for causing your Plaintiff's injuries as well as your damages presentation. This should be done several
weeks before your actual trial to allow sufficient time for you to digest the focus group feedback and adjust your trial
presentation as needed. There are several acceptable methods of conducting jury focus groups, but our firm frequently
uses the following method and have found it to be particularly effective and surprisingly accurate in predicting the actual
jury verdicts that we have gone on to win at trial.

. A CONSERVATIVE FOCUS
CHOOSE

Presenting your case to a "tougher crowd" at

attract a sufficiently broad spectrum of your

GROUP VENUE GEOGRAPHICALLY

the Focus Group level can reveal some of your

Focus Group county's population. Filter out

CLOSE TO YOUR TRIAL VENUE

weaker points and less-than-persuasive argu-

any potential mock jurors who would other-

ments that a more Plaintiff-favorable mock

wise be excused or prohibited from serving

jury pool might not.

on your actual jury (e.g., non-residents of the

For cases based in rural venues, steer clear

of your actual trial venue to prevent tainting
your jury pool or having any potential jurors
struck for cause at trial. Instead, choose a
neighboring county with similar demographics and preferably one that is even more conservative than your trial venue. For cases in
metro counties, you can safely opt to conduct
your Focus Groups either within your trial
venue or in an adjacent metro county that is
slightly more conservative (e.g., for upcoming
trials in Fulton County, consider conducting
your Focus Groups in nearby Cobb County).

16

Georgia Trial Lawyers Association

2

SCREEN AND. SELECT QUALIFIED

county; convicted felons; those jurors who
are over 75 years of age or disabled, etc.). Do

JURORS FROM WITHIN YOUR CHO-

this by qualifying each potential mock juror

SEN FOCUS GROUP VENUE

who responds to your Focus Group ad via a

A great way to attract potential Focus

short questionnaire requesting their basic

Group participants is by placing detailed

biographical and demographical informa-

ads on popular online search engines such

tion. Screen each focus group juror for any

as Craigslist (See https://atlanta.craigslist.

potential conflicts of interest regarding every

org/). You might also try placing flyers at the

named Plaintiff, Defendant, Third Party, the

local college campus, civic center, or temp

Plaintiff's spouse, all attorneys of record and

agency in your venue. These sources tend to

their law firms, as well as any non-parties with


https://atlanta.cragslist.org/ https://atlanta.cragslist.org/

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Verdict - Spring 2018

President’s Message
How I Obtained Justice: Sudden Emergency Doctrine
Thank You to Outgoing Verdict Chairman, Madeleine Simmons
Look Before You Leap: Conducting Jury Focus Groups Before Trial
Voir Dire In Low Speed, Soft Tissue Injury Cases
Defeating Reptile Theory Motions in Limine
Leading the Jury Down the Right Path: Framing Your Case During Voir Dire
Hernandez v. State: Empowering Jurors to Seek the Truth
Exploding Takata Airbags From Cover-Up To Accountability
Using Simple Technology to Pick a Better Jury
Case Updates: Who Really Loses When Medical Funding Becomes an Issue at Trial?
Professional Practice Pointers: Voir Dire, An interview with Cobb County State Court Judge Allison Barnes Salter
Dig In To Do Good: Making the World a Better Place
Welcome New GTLA Members!
Champion Members
Meet The Experts
Index to Advertisers/Advertiser.com
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Intro
Verdict - Spring 2018 - bellyband1
Verdict - Spring 2018 - bellyband2
Verdict - Spring 2018 - cover1
Verdict - Spring 2018 - cover2
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 3
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 4
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 5
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 6
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 7
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 8
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 9
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 10
Verdict - Spring 2018 - President’s Message
Verdict - Spring 2018 - How I Obtained Justice: Sudden Emergency Doctrine
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 13
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 14
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Thank You to Outgoing Verdict Chairman, Madeleine Simmons
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Look Before You Leap: Conducting Jury Focus Groups Before Trial
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 17
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 18
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 19
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 20
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Voir Dire In Low Speed, Soft Tissue Injury Cases
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 22
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 23
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 24
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 25
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Defeating Reptile Theory Motions in Limine
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 27
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 28
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Leading the Jury Down the Right Path: Framing Your Case During Voir Dire
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 30
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Hernandez v. State: Empowering Jurors to Seek the Truth
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 32
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 33
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Exploding Takata Airbags From Cover-Up To Accountability
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 35
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 36
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Using Simple Technology to Pick a Better Jury
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Case Updates: Who Really Loses When Medical Funding Becomes an Issue at Trial?
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 39
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Professional Practice Pointers: Voir Dire, An interview with Cobb County State Court Judge Allison Barnes Salter
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Dig In To Do Good: Making the World a Better Place
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 42
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Champion Members
Verdict - Spring 2018 - 44
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Meet The Experts
Verdict - Spring 2018 - Index to Advertisers/Advertiser.com
Verdict - Spring 2018 - cover3
Verdict - Spring 2018 - cover4
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