Archive | Jury Deliberations

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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Dr. Susan Broome

I am a social psychologist who, for the past 30 years, has been employed as a trial/jury consultant. Along the way and across the years, I have worked with many people, including several colleagues who have become long term friends. One of the most influential colleagues with whom I have ever worked is Dr. Susan […]

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Some people in life teach you things they don’t even appreciate they are teaching. Sometimes this is done by example. Melissa observed that Susan purchased bouquets of fresh flowers each week, which brought some color to her home in the dreary winter world of Boston. Melissa started doing this when we lived in Atlanta, which […]

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Trials and Photography

I was writing a report recently and recommended that a client “focus” the jurors’ attention on a certain point. Given my 40+ years of photographic experience, I decided to test myself with this post to see if I can come up with analogies and metaphors between photography and litigation/trials. Focus is the starting point because […]

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David’s comparisons of photography and trials is an interesting perspective on two, very different, things. I will continue using his analysis with my interpretations of these areas of David’s interest by saying, from the outset, that photography and trials have one thing in common: they are not very interesting to people who are not photographers […]

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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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Tell no one what we do

An oddity of my job as a jury/trial consultant is not being able to share the details of my work with family, friends, or anyone, ever. All of the cases in which Magnus consults are high stakes matters, regardless of whether they are civil or criminal trials. Everyone who is employed by Magnus, including David […]

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In the past two weeks, news about several cases on which we have worked have appeared prominently in the news. The cases, and the results of their trials, were newsworthy. This is, no doubt, common for trial consultants and it is, admittedly, exciting to be involved in high profile or noteworthy cases. Yet, from the […]

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Leverage

One uses a lever to gain leverage in order to be able to move something easier than moving it without the lever. I don’t know a great deal about physics, but I get this. And, it is important to look for leverage in life, in business, and in our world, the world of litigation. There […]

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I have lost count of the number of times in my career when an attorney retains Magnus in order to gain leverage over his/her client regarding the value of a lawsuit. We have worked on cases for plaintiffs’ attorneys whose clients believe that, because the insurance (or other) company has the financial resources to pay […]

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Crazy Courthouse Story #2 calendars idea

Second in the series on crazy courthouse stories is the Courthouses of Florida™ idea I had while working in courthouses all over my home state of Florida. Over the years when I have worked for attorneys during the jury selection process, I have observed their fondness for courthouses. They often regale me with stories about […]

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The crazy idea wasn’t that crazy and it turned into a challenging and mostly fun adventure. The phenomenon of associations, mostly positive, made by our clients with a particular courthouse has been interesting to observe. There are probably negative associations with some courthouses, but what we hear are, “That’s where I won my first big […]

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Internet Based/Virtual Jury Research: Part 2

My previous post outlined the reasons why online “mock jury” research is not in reality “mock jury” research. In this, related, post, I will discuss additional constraints and limitations of online “mock jury” research. I will also add that I have concerns about confidentiality with online research. Confidentiality is more than just having a confidentiality […]

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David is passionate about this topic! It was the longest post he has ever written since we have been blogging in June, 2013, and it was so long, it had to be broken into two parts. David’s second part of the posts on online “mock jury” research pertains to a crucial, but often overlooked, aspect […]

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Internet Based/Virtual Jury Research: Part 1

Technology is not the answer to everything. I have recently been reminded of this when talking with more than one potential client who was curious about using internet based “jury research.” Specifically, we’ve recently been asked to bid on mock jury research only to learn that the competitor’s bid was for an online “mock jury.” […]

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Social psychology is the study of group behavior, among other things. By definition, a group is comprised of two or more people who assemble together. A jury, is of course, a unique type of group that is tasked with making important decisions that have a substantial impact on other people’s lives. When an individual or […]

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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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