Most attorneys retain Magnus Research Consultants for pre mediation or pre trial jury research, but arbitration is increasingly used to resolve cases. After all these years, it is interesting to note attorneys’ surprise when they find out that we conduct pre arbitration research. They ask us, “How can we do that? Where can we find arbitrators? Where can we work without being interrupted?” and they are amazed by our answers. Believe it or not, I have been conducting arbitration research since 1989! It’s nothing new! The process is simple. We work with our clients to find out the identity of the actual arbitrators; we recruit certified arbitrators who are as similar as possible to the actual arbitrators; we rent space in a hotel or market research facility; and we get the job done. Similar to research with jury eligible citizens, Magnus’ arbitration research includes individual surveys completed by each arbitrator; involves multiple panels of arbitrators to establish research reliability; and utilizes focusing interviews of the arbitrators to assess their views of the case, the attorneys, and the witnesses. Also similar to mock jury research, we pay the arbitrators for their participation; we provide them with meals, snacks, and beverages; and we require them to sign a confidentiality agreement. Conducting arbitration research is interesting, valuable in the information we obtain, and an absolute requirement to ensure the best possible case is presented during the actual arbitration. Contact Magnus to find out more about arbitration research.
This is one of those areas where our attorney clients must “think out of the box.” (I actually detest that phrase, but it seems so common that it is well understood to mean be creative.) Unfortunately, I know all too well how what we are, what we do, is put in a “box” of sorts, a label or category – we’re known as “trial” consultants or “jury” consultants though what we do can be applied much more generally. In fact, trial consulting as a profession was an outgrowth of marketing research. Therefore the related principals of social science research and marketing/business research can be applied in many settings. With regard to mock arbitration research, I sometimes say, “arbitrators are people too.” Finding out how they, as arbitrators, think about a case, how they react to the facts of the case, and the parties, is no different than exploring how “regular people,” that is, jurors, process case information. In fact, in a similar fashion, we do mock bench trial research, using former judges as participants because, well, judges are people too. There is no doubt that we make adjustments in our methodologies when using arbitrators, judges, or mediators (mock mediation anyone?). Without getting into those specific details, I will say that this post is another reminder not to “pigeon hole” trial/jury consulting as only being applicable to trials or jury matters. Think bigger, and if one has a question about how a decision maker will react to an issue, or a case, call us, we know how to find out!