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Additional Services

Big Data Studies

Big Data is becoming ever more pervasive in trial preparation, and for good reason. To use it effectively, you must understand what it is, what it is not, and how it best fits in your toolbox. Conventionally, trial preparation has included focus groups and mock trials, but now that big data is on the scene, how do these tools interact? When should you use one over the others? What exactly is Big Data, and why should you adopt it? What pitfalls should you be aware of?

Case Framing & Analysis

What is Big Data, and Why is it Useful?

Big Data is the nomenclature for any large data set study. The benefits of Big Data are its ability to extrapolate and predict. Most often, they are used to predict both liability and damages case outcomes. By running the case by several hundred jurors, we can fairly accurately predict what your best, worst, and average day in court would yield across different variables (such as damages "ask" or liability factors). For example, we can test the same case facts with three different damages asks: $10 million, $40 million, and $75 million. Let's suppose that the low ask yields an average verdict of $5.5 million with a 75% win rate, the middle ask yields an average verdict of $30 million with a 78% win rate, and the large ask yields an average verdict of $25 million with a 60% win rate. That tells us that you are leaving tens of millions of dollars on the table by asking for $10 million, but $75 million angered jurors and caused them to punish you with a lower case value and win rate. You would then know that your ask at trial should likely be around $30 million, and you have a high probability of winning.   

You will also receive a juror profile. At the outset, jurors fill out answers to several questions, often answering up to 80 intake questions. Their answers are correlated with their liability and damages verdicts to give you a profile of a good or bad juror. These criteria are often things we can only learn from Big Data. For example, someone who watches the NFL might be 47% less likely to find in your favor while someone who regularly watches Double Jeopardy may be 35% more likely to give large damages. 

How accurate is Big Data? It's hard to tell as many cases settle and trial often brings surprises, but it is known to be fairly accurate, often within 5% of verdicts. Some of this accuracy, however, stems from properly preparing a Big Data study, which many fail to do.

Do I Need a Consultant to Run a Big Data Study?

No, you are not required to have a consultant, though it's a mistake to run one without. To understand why, you need to understand the role of Big Data vendors. First, there are differences among vendors. Some are purely statisticians who run whatever data you send and give you the output. Others, such as Campbell Law, have experience in the legal field and will invest some time into reviewing the case.  At a minimum, a Big Data vendor should review some case files. How shallow or deep a Big Data vendor will dive into the case varies widely, with Campbell Law doing the most comprehensive review I have personally seen. 

Even so, having a consultant on board has several benefits for nearly no downside. I regularly review Big Data scripts submitted before my retention. Once I thoroughly acquaint myself with the case, I find various missing pieces, including weak defense arguments, missing information, confusion, damage asks that are widely outside the limits of the venue caps, misinformation regarding expert opinions, and very frequently weak case framing. All of these can render Big Data results misleading or lacking in validity. This is not the fault of Big Data but rather the result of having an incomplete team to cover various aspects of the case.  When planning a wedding, you can hire vendors individually, which requires much work on your end and many breaks in communication. Or, you can hire a wedding planner to oversee the entire process, learn your vision, and implement it without so many hiccups and missteps. Similarly, while you can go directly to a Big Data vendor and run a study, you're likely to get much better and more accurate results with the assistance of a consultant, and often for nearly no extra fee, as the consultant is taking the burden off the vendor. Hence, the net charge is similar to you doing it all yourself.

Thus, you can hire a consultant to direct the research, put together a complete case presentation, and help you interpret and implement the data for about the same price as doing it yourself. 

Having a consultant help with Big Data is also essential for moving forward and implementing findings. When you find out what jurors are good or bad, how do you implement those questions into your voir dire? How much weight do you give them compared to what jurors say during voir dire? How do you implement the Big Data findings into your case framing? How should the results impact your opening structure? These are all issues a consultant can help with.

Big Data vs Focus Groups & Mock Trials

How does Big Data interact with focus groups and mock trials? Do we still need these smaller juror studies? Absolutely. Big Data is excellent at predicting damages and trial outcomes but less helpful for case framing or understanding what jurors like or dislike about the case. While you will receive one or two answers from each juror specifying the reason for their decision and a rating of the most influential pieces of evidence/arguments, you will not hear discussion about each issue, see where jurors' minds changed, be able to read body language or read into what jurors really mean when they say something. Big Data does nothing to show deliberations or group dynamics. Conversely, focus groups and mock trials are terrible at predicting damages or case outcomes but are fantastic for case framing, group dynamics, and getting feedback on issues with the case.

When budgets allow, I prefer to run a focus group or mock trial first to adjust case framing and then use that new frame for a more accurate Big Data study. However, suppose you are headed to mediation and need an early read on the case value. In that case, it may be worth running a Big Data study first and then running focus groups and mock trials, potentially running a second Big Data study later.


What does this all cost? As with most things in life, it depends. The price varies with the length of the statements and videos, as well as the number of damages anchors or other variables tested. If you would like a quote, don't hesitate to reach out.

Need Help?

If you would like assistance with any of these services, please reach out with a trial date, and we can discuss options and pricing. Contact us to discuss your needs and learn how we can help you.

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