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 it can be tempting to put off focus groups or mock trials until a trial is certain, there is a great risk that what you learn in the process can no longer be implemented as discovery deadlines will have passed. Smaller focus groups can be used throughout discovery to guide you in knowing what information to seek out and what experts to hire.
Further, focus groups and mock trials conducted before mediation can greatly help in deciding whether to settle, what figure to settle for, and in persuading the mediator and opposing attorney 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 on this service, see our mediation 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 up to $60,000 or $100,000. Most of the focus groups and mock trials we do tend to run between $10,000 - $25,000. However, we evaluate each case individually so that we give a more specific estimate. We are extremely efficient and dedicated. We do not subscribe to the “deep pocket” belief that our clients or their clients can spend excessive fees and that every dollar spent should be through our services. 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 get you a larger return than your investment with us.
Why can’t I run my own focus group?
Many attorneys do, but there is great risk involved in doing so. If one variable is off, the reliability is compromised and results can be misleading. Often, attorneys don’t realize when they are doing something that throws the research off. Although it may be hard to spend money, realize that there is a cost to not investing in the case. If you spent $25,000 on a focus group but learned information that made the case worth hundreds of thousands more, you would have more than realized your initial investment.
What is the difference between a focus group and a mock trial?
Some of this difference is semantic. Traditionally, a focus group is a more narrowly-focused project and does not involve jury deliberation. A focus group can be used to test initial case facts, such as juror beliefs about an illegal immigrant, or 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 hone in on a plaintiff’s and defendant’s script, the length of which is 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 demonstratives, and often video footage of depositions of witnesses and/or clients. Questionnaires are given 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 what the opponent is going to argue.
What makes us different from other consulting firms?
There are a lot of consultants in the field but they have varying degrees of education and insight. Trial Dynamics is founded by Jessica Brylo, J.D., M.A.
Jessica was trained by one of the most renowned consultants in the field, David Ball, and is endorsed by him. Jessica is one of a small handful of people in the world who had full access to videos from the Arizona Project, a research experiment where 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 7 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 kids in the background. We are reliable, honest, and upfront about our fees.
In over a decade of doing business, we have yet to have a client say they were dissatisfied with our services.