ComCon

Mock Trials

providing power to persuasion making cases compelling

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Mock Trial Research

WHAT A MOCK TRIAL IS

definition   ·    purpose  

HOW A MOCK TRIAL WORKS

procedure   ·    design  

DIFFERENCE FROM A FOCUS GROUP

in purpose   ·    in design  

EXPERTISE

experience   ·    preparation   ·    skill  

Scales of justice

also see  FOCUS GROUPS  and   ATTITUDE SURVEYS

What is a mock trial?

DEFINITION

ClipboardA mock trial is a simulated trial conducted in one or more days in a manner similar to a real trial, with openings, closings, evidence and witnesses. Mock trials have mock juries and you can watch these juries deliberate case issues and reach verdicts.

PURPOSE

Mock trial research gathers venire members' perceptions of both sides' cases in an advocacy context. These data can be used to:

Data Charts

assess settlement value: gauge jurors' reactions to damage amounts and arguments

test drive the case: learn how well jurors understand issues, evidence and themes; discover the impact of key evidence and demonstratives; assess the credibility of particular witnesses; and identify strengths and weaknesses in both sides' arguments

fine-tune trial strategies: hone case presentations, learn which juror predispositions impact verdicts, practice voir dire, test the impact of key jury instructions, assess the verdict form in the context of jury deliberations, identify areas of juror confusion, and perfect case themes

How does a mock trial work?

PROCEDURE Mock Trial Presentation

Surrogate jurors, recruited to match the jury pool in a venue, gather at a hotel or facility, and are presented the issues, evidence, testimony and arguments of each side in a simulated trial.

The surrogate jurors provide feedback through expertly crafted questionnaires and videotaped deliberations from which quantitative and qualitative analyses are conducted.

Clients participate in and watch the mock trial live, receive videotapes of the entire exercise, and are provided a comprehensive mock trial report with detailed findings and recommendations.

DESIGN Mock Trial Presentation

ComCon designs each mock trial to meet the needs and interests of each client.

For all clients, ComCon's mock trial procedure starts with detailed juror questionnaires, live argumentative attorney presentations, jury instructions, jury deliberations, and juror debriefing.

Additional elements are included based on case needs and client purposes for conducting the research. Examples of additional elements include voir dire, attorney objections, videotaped excerpts of witness testimony, live witness testimony, demonstratives, graphic presentations, day-in-the-life videos, comparing presentation of videotaped deposition testimony to actors' live reading of that testimony, comparing two different case themes, comparing two different damages arguments, and issue focus groups.

What is the difference between a mock trial and a focus group?

ComCon uses the terms ‘mock trial research’ and ‘focus group research’ to denote research projects that differ in purpose and in design.

Focus Group Setting

IN PURPOSE

Focus Group Research is exploratory and neutral, occurring in a discussion format. Focus Group Research uncovers attitudes about the parties, issues in the case, and jurors’ thinking about themes and positions under consideration. This research also uncovers avenues for attorneys to explore in discovery and offers direction for case development.

By contrast, Mock Trial Research is evaluative and adversarial, occurring in an advocacy format. Mock Trial Research tests and refines trial strategies and themes shortly before trial in the context of a simulated trial and jury deliberations.

Focus Group Research typically occurs earlier in the process of preparing a case for possible trial, while Mock Trial Research typically occurs after discovery is closed (or mostly completed) and within a few months of trial.

Mock Trial Setting

IN DESIGN

Focus Group Research involves a neutral discussion guided by a ComCon consultant, whereas Mock Trial Research involves a sided debate between attorneys. In Focus Group Research, a ComCon consultant presents aspects of each side's case to participants and asks jurors' thoughts. In Mock Trial Research, attorneys advocate to mock jurors and jurors deliberate.

Both Focus Group Research and Mock Trial Research delve into jurors' thinking. Mock Trial Research additionally tests case arguments, generates juror profiles and includes deliberation, which Focus Group Research does not do.

While Focus Group Research cannot incorporate Mock Trial Research, Mock Trial Research can incorporate certain types of Focus Group Research (e.g., Issue Focus Group).

ComCon’s Expertise

EXPERIENCE

WorkingComCon consultants have designed and conducted mock trials for far-ranging purposes and diverse cases for many years. ComCon consultants have planned and run mock trials for cases ranging from intellectual property to personal injury to civil rights to murder to employment to contracts to asbestos to fraud and more. Having conducted one-time mock trials as well as mock trial programs for cases, ComCon consultants are expert at knowing what is needed and how best to provide it.

PREPARATION

ComCon is convinced that preparation is the foundation of a successful mock trial. ComCon devotes a month, and sometimes more, to the preparation of each mock trial so that it can yield valid and reliable results. ComCon engages every client in the preparation process to ensure that client and case needs are understood, and that the mock trial addresses and serves those needs.

SKILL

ComCon specializes in flexibility and creativity in mock trial design, and proficiency and quality in mock trial enactment. ComCon's mock trials are praised by clients, who report that ComCon's commitment to quality exceeds their expectations and their experiences with other providers. ComCon's mock trials are given the highest possible ratings on every measured standard, including excellence, proficiency, organization, conduct, results, report quality and overall experience.

ComCon is dedicated to making your case psychologically compelling for the decision-makers you face.