Archive | Litigation Tips

Confirmation Bias, Part 2

In thinking about my prior post on confirmation bias, I thought about one aspect of being hired as a professional trial consultant. It happens that I recently saw an announcement of a bar association seminar on do it yourself (DIY) mock trials. I know that mock trials are often expensive when conducted by a qualified […]

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I’ll begin my part of this topic by saying that, if social psychologists, who study confirmatory bias and are, therefore, presumed to be experts on it, are subject to confirmation bias in their decision making, then almost anyone can engage in this type of biased information processing. Attorneys may be more educated and more intelligent […]

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Confirmation Bias, Part 1

I read an article recently about confirmation bias and how it negatively impacts social science research and progress. Confirmation bias is “the tendency to seek, interpret, and create information in ways that verify existing beliefs.” (Brehm & Kassin, Social Psychology, 1989. Which is, coincidentally, a textbook for which Melissa co-authored the Instructor’s Manual and Study […]

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David’s post is interesting to me in two regards. First, it is interesting that David, and not I, chose a topic related to my background as a social psychologist. Second, it is interesting that David focused his post on confirmation bias in social science research. Recently, the media have frequently mentioned confirmation bias, as if […]

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Jury Consultants Are Not Just for Jury Trials

In the vein of prior posts, this is an attempt to clarify another misconception about what we do as trial or jury consultants. Usually in the context of an introduction, I hear what might be called “sales objections.” There are varieties of these objections, but one is this, if introduced as a “jury consultant” I […]

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I prefer the term, “litigation consultant” to other terms more frequently used to describe the kind of work I perform. When I am asked what I do for a living, I rarely say I am a “jury consultant” or a “trial consultant.” Few laypersons know the meaning of any of these expressions and surprisingly, some […]

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First impressions (do matter)

First impressions matter. They really do! Social psychologists who study impression formation and cognitive psychologists who study presentation order effects, such as the primacy effect, agree that information presented early has a greater impact than information presented later. Impression formation has been heavily researched in social psychology since the 1940s, when Solomon Asch conducted a […]

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In thinking about what to write for this post I immediately had a flashback to a time Melissa and I were scheduled to interview a young man who had recently graduated with a master’s degree in psychology and had a wealthy family background. I guess stereotypes were working in his favor, that is, until he […]

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Analytics

Melissa and I had lunch with a long time client recently during which he brought up a “new” thing he hears from his clients. That is, give us the “analytics” on the case. Analytics is a concept that gets lots of airplay in various contexts. The business world has long focused on numbers to indicate […]

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It is interesting to me that what is old to me is new to other people. And, it is also interesting that words have different meanings to different people. I have been analyzing scientific data since 1977. Analytics are, therefore, what I do; it is what I did in college and grad. school and what […]

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Confabulation

I recently learned a new word, confabulation. I learned it in the context of a memory test I observed. The test was to listen to a short story about a woman who was grocery shopping, lost her wallet, couldn’t pay at checkout, then a little girl found the wallet and called the woman who lost […]

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Just as David makes a musical reference, followed by an apology, to Carly Simon, I will first reference, then apologize to, the great band, The Traveling Wilburys. (For the reader who does not know, the Traveling Wilburys was a “super group,” that is, a band comprised of immensely famous musicians. Its members were George Harrison, […]

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Juror Background Checks

The only universal recommendation we make to clients these days regarding trial strategies is to be prepared to have background checks conducted on the potential jurors. Though this practice must be done with some care, and with the observation of a few Bar rules, it is important to prepare for background checks early. I have […]

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The voir dire process (which is defined as asking questions of potential jurors to de-select those who cannot be fair and impartial), as arduous as it may be, is never exhaustive enough to provide all of the information we need to know about every potential juror. There are time limitations, particularly time limitations related to […]

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Guitar techs versus luthiers

I have been playing the bass guitar for almost 20 years and I am the proud owner of several bass guitars. I am not a collector; all of my basses are for my playing pleasure. As with many things in life, from time to time, one of my basses needs to be repaired, as was […]

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I’ll have to say that, since Melissa started playing bass, I’ve learned quite a bit more than I knew about music, and the behind the scenes aspects of music, performers, and the business of music. I don’t know that I knew what a luthier was, for example. I also didn’t know how anything about the […]

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Never Assume – Juror Profiling

During a recent mock jury session, one of the most outspoken mock jurors caught the attention of our client who was watching the proceedings remotely. This client, the general counsel of a large corporation, made a comment along the lines of “nothing about that juror’s profile would have made me think she would be good […]

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Profiling. Stereotypes. Bias. Prejudice. Most of us make “snap judgments” of others on a routine basis. Sometimes, we are right, but sometimes, we are wrong, wrong, wrong. I cannot count the number of times I have been asked, “Will men or women be better for us as jurors?”, leading me to respond, “Which men? What […]

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Is your consultant qualified? How do you know?

A story in the news this election season reminded me of the relevance of this topic. A candidate for the Florida House of Representatives was “outed” for reporting she had a college degree that she could not have had – the university she reported having attended never offered the degree shown on her (fake) diploma, […]

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I have decided to adopt the writing style of the famous author, Carl Hiaassen, for my part of David’s post. For those readers of our blogs who aren’t familiar with Carl Hiaassen, I will provide a brief introduction. Carl Hiaassen is an author who has written more than 20 books, as well as a long […]

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