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How Mock Trials Work

A mock trial is typically a one-day research session in which mock jurors hear comprehensive, adversarial case presentations. The presentations include exhibits and videotaped testimonial excerpts when possible. We work with our clients to develop case presentations that are equally strong and balanced. At each critical juncture (after each side of the case, jury instructions and before deliberating) jurors respond to a series of comprehensive written questionnaires which reveal every juror’s opinion about each key fact and issue presented to them. Ultimately, the questionnaire responses provide a blueprint of case strengths and weaknesses. After the questionnaires are completed, jurors are divided into panels and deliberate to a verdict. The entire research session is held in rooms with two-way mirrors or with closed-circuit monitoring so attorneys can observe the jury's deliberations undetected. After a verdict is reached, jurors are debriefed about why they felt the way that they did.

For even the most experienced trial lawyers, this is a fascinating experience. Not only is it instructional, but it can be downright inspirational to see mock jurors collectively use their personal experience to simplify complex issues. Seeing jurors in action helps attorneys overcome limiting stereotypes. For example, in a gender discrimination mock trial, the plaintiff’s attorney swore he would never seat an accountant on his jury. His eyes were opened when a male CPA was the plaintiff’s strongest advocate.

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