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 that is meaningful to the process. I also think you lose something using jurors with different demographics. If a lawyer is going to try a case in Baltimore City, the opinion of a woman in Omaha might not be helpful. In fact, the fact that all of the jurors are somewhat “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 as to how jurors might respond to certain issues might gain some benefit from this process.
One thing is for sure: the Internet will continue to change the practice of personal injury lawyers in ways that we cannot currently contemplate.
2019 Update: We have an upcoming trial we were used an online focus group. 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 pretty ridiculous. But the process made sense for this particular case. There is no question that 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 on your strengths and vulnerabilities. Jury focus groups are also good at spitting out the kind of 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 pretty much the same.