Jury selection can be a maze, that can increase your worries, which you already have from the case. Some leading Jury consultants have revealed that there is one common question in each case they are asked. “Which is better? A Mock trial or Focus group”. They further explain that the answer is very simple. It depends on what you gain from the research and on your position in the litigation cycle.
Here are some advantages and disadvantages of Mock trials and Focus Group, that will help you in figuring out which is the best for you.
Advantages of Focus Groups
The research made by the Focus groups, can reveal the positive and negative reactions to the implicit assumptions and questioning. Focus groups help bring out their prejudices about the case. By exploring the personal experience of the juror, the process reveals their concerns and expectations form the case.
Focus groups play a significant role in making the Early Case Assessment, that includes discovering the weak points in the case at an early stage, framing themes for both the case and witnesses, and trial strategies.
Taking an example from a case, where the plaintiff was seeking remedy, as the compensation, for the damage caused by water contamination. A focus group was structured to identify the key issues in this case. The first question that came from the jurors was, “How many people are affected?”. This helped the lawyers in preparing and framing their strategies according to a situation in which affected person can claim compensation for the illness and injuries. Therefore, it made the jurors reassess their pre-existing opinions.
Disadvantage of Focus Group
However, there are some flaws in this system. A traditional focus group is not for you if you are looking to learn the effect which advocacy has on the jurors. Also, you may not be able identify the extent of damage that you might incur in a case and may not able to gain an idea about the verdict or decision of the juror.
Advantages of Mock Trials
A mock trial has three common objectives, these are
- a) evaluating the strategies and potential cae themes
- b) Draw out conclusions from the from the statements of key witnesses
- c) grasping the reasoning process of the jurors that they use in making decisions
Achieving these objectives help in assessing the reactions of jurors to your case. You can learn about the reaction of the jurors in the jury deliberations towards the strategies that you have prepared for the case. A mock trial provides you with the feedback of your case in juror’s eye, giving you insights for the trial and highlighting the vulnerabilities in your case. Also, you get to know the areas that you can improve and represent your in a brighter light.
Disadvantages of Mock Trials
A mock trial can be made as realistic and externally valid as possible, but it may still be far from the reality. The primary reason that a mock trial might not turn out to be beneficial is that it may not be able to predict the verdict that you will receive on the day of trial. Mock trials, also may not able to give you a clear idea about the amount you will be liable to pay for damages. Some significant changes can occur in the time between the mock trial and the actual trial, which may affect the case significantly. Mock trials may not be able to give you a perfect replica of the trial verdict and thus the strategies may not give the desired results.
As both (mock trial and focus group) have their advantages and limitations, there are only two factor on which you can judge which preparatory process is better than the other. Therefore, there is no straight road, you have to figure out the reasons for the research and the outcome that you will gain from each research in order to make your decision.