Online Mock Jury Research

Magnus Research Consultants has entered the online age and now offers Verdict Perception Research™ among our other services. Verdict Perception Research™ involves recruiting jury eligible citizens from a trial venue who watch pre-recorded presentations (arguments) made by attorneys regarding a lawsuit, then deliberate until they reach a unanimous verdict. While there are many differences between traditional, in person, mock trials and focus groups, if conducted properly, online mock trials can aid attorneys and their clients in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their cases. As with just about anything else, there are many variants of online mock jury research, with some of Magnus’ competitors offering inexpensive, scaled down online mock trials that involve little more than having people log in from wherever they are, read a couple of paragraphs that summarize the case, then complete a few forms to indicate how they feel about it. However, as one might expect, that’s not how we, at Magnus, do things! As always, we do things the right way, with as much scientific precision and attention to detail as the online research platform allows. Although online mock jury research is not a substitute for in person mock trials, it is warranted if some or all of the following conditions exist: (1) travel restrictions and social distancing mandates preclude conducting in person meetings, including mock trials; (2) budgetary constraints exist (online jury research is less costly than in person jury research); and (3) time is limited before results are needed. There are, of course, limitations associated with doing mock jury research online: (1) some people are excluded from participating due to technology requirements (such as having a computer and high speed internet); (2) there are no group dynamics to simulate an actual jury because the mock jurors never assemble in a group; (3) attention spans are shorter than in person, thereby limiting the length of the research session; and more. All in all, online mock jury research is not meant to replace traditional research; instead, it is another way to provide meaningful information to clients during an ever evolving time. Contact Magnus to find out more about “The Magnus Way” to do online mock trials.

For many years, we at Magnus resisted adding online mock jury research to our repertoire, mainly for the limitations Melissa noted in her part of this post.  But, necessity drove us to explore the technology options and there were many options!  That variation was another of our hesitations in that some of what passes for online research is questionable in a number of ways.  But, we did our homework in designing Verdict Perception™  and tested both our protocols and provider carefully.  Getting it right is just how we do things.  We’re excited to have found a positive in a largely negative 2020.  Learning new things is good for many reasons and having one more way, or several more ways, to attend to client needs is a positive.  We have to admit that well planned and well conducted online research is a viable option.  And, while it is not appropriate for every case, it has several benefits, especially during the turmoil of a pandemic!  But, we see usefulness in other ways and welcome the opportunities to discuss the pros/cons of online research techniques with clients even as the world re-opens!


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