Evan Schaeffer’s Illinois Trial Practice Weblog has a link to a company that provides online mock juries. I find the idea fascinating. Evan correctly points out that a virtual mock jury does not give the lawyers the benefit of the give-and-take argument among jurors meaningful to the process. I also think you lose something using jurors with different demographics. If a lawyer will try a case in Baltimore City, the opinion of a woman in Omaha might not be helpful. In fact, that all the jurors are “Internet savvy” might make them unrepresentative of certain jury pools. Still, for the $1500 cost (goodness this is a lot more in 2019), I can see where some lawyers looking for information on how jurors might respond to certain issues might gain some enjoy this process.
One thing is for sure: the Internet will continue to change the practice of personal injury lawyers in ways that we cannot contemplate.
2019 Update: We used an online focus group for an upcoming trial. You just present the sterile information to them and see where they run with the evidence. I can’t remember the cost, but I thought it was ridiculous. But the process made sense for this case. It provides meaningful insights into how jurors in that same jurisdiction are likely to approach the key issues in your cases, which gives you usable information about your strengths and vulnerabilities. Jury focus groups are also good at spitting out the statistical data that I love. Do men like the case more than women? Is the ideal juror older or younger? There are is just a ton of summary type data that can give you a real insight into not only the issues that matter but who you want on your jury panel.
That said, I still prefer being able to look at people and gauge how they process the information. If you know how to run a focus group — and I think we do by now — the pricing is the same.