Frequently Asked Questions

When should I plan to do a focus group or mock trial?

Most attorneys we work with say, “I wish I had hired you earlier.” While putting off focus groups or mock trials until a trial is certain can be tempting, delaying too long may risk your ability to implement what you learn during the process as discovery deadlines will have already passed. Smaller focus groups can be used throughout discovery to guide you in knowing what information to seek out and which experts to hire.

Furthermore, focus groups and mock trials conducted before mediation can greatly help when deciding whether to settle, what figure to settle for, and in persuading the mediator and opposing attorney with the merits of the case, thereby making the ultimate settlement figure more favorable. Mediation is centered around predicting what a jury will do with the case. The party that can better represent what a jury will do if the case goes to trial will inevitably have much more leverage during negotiations. For more information about mediation, visit our services page

How much does it cost to run a focus group or mock trial?

Costs of focus groups and mock trials vary from a few thousand dollars to $60,000 or $100,000. Most of the focus groups and mock trials we run tend to run between $10,000 and $25,000. However, we evaluate each case individually to provide a more specific estimate. We are extremely efficient and dedicated. We do not subscribe to the “deep pocket” theory that clients should expect to pay excessive fees or that every dollar spent should be through our company. We will present all the options and reasoning behind our recommendations but will follow the instructions of the client. Our goal is always to recommend services that will result in a return that is greater than your investment with us.

Why can’t I run my own focus group?

Many attorneys do but this involves great risk. If one variable is off, reliability is compromised, and results can be misleading. Often, attorneys don’t realize when they are doing something that distorts the research. Although it may be hard to spend money, realize that not investing in the case also has a cost. If you spend $25,000 on a focus group but gain information that makes the case worth hundreds of thousands more, you will have greatly surpassed your initial investment.

What is the difference between a focus group and a mock trial?

Traditionally, a focus group is a project with a narrower focus that does not involve jury deliberation. A focus group can be used to test initial case facts, such as juror beliefs about an illegal immigrant, graphics, or the case overview as a whole. It can also be used to test your likeability in front of a jury, your questioning techniques in voir dire, and any number of other things. A focus group has a panel of jurors and a consultant as a moderator of the discussion.

A mock trial is a very condensed version of a trial. We work with you to sharpen the plaintiff and defendant scripts, the length of which are determined by the case. Jurors are presented with a neutral statement, a plaintiff’s statement of the case, defendant’s statement of the case, any number of exhibits and aids, and often video footage of depositions of witnesses or clients. Questionnaires are administered throughout to track individual attitudes. At the culmination of the evidence, jurors are split into deliberating groups and left alone to deliberate to a unanimous verdict on several verdict questions. A mock trial is usually suited for mid-discovery and beyond when you have a solid understanding of the opponent’s expected argument.

What makes us different from other consulting firms?

The many consultants in the field have varying degrees of education and insight. Trial Dynamics was founded by Jessica Brylo, J.D., M.A.

Jessica was trained and is endorsed by one of the most renowned consultants in the field, David Ball. Jessica is one of a small handful of people in the world who gained full access to videos from the Arizona Jury Project, a research experiment for which judges allowed cameras into actual juror deliberation rooms. We have consulted on hundreds of cases and watched thousands of jurors deliberate.

We pride ourselves on being able to shift the focus of the case, often making unwinnable cases strong. We are flexible in our approach. We are accessible seven days a week and after hours. We value our family time but also realize that accessibility is often key to creating a good research project, so please excuse our children in the background. We are reliable, honest, and upfront about our fees.

In over a decade of doing business, we have yet to hear a client say they were dissatisfied with our services.