Hon. (Ret.) Ken E. Adair
Discover What Jurors Need to Know
The most elusive question for any lawyer putting on a jury trial is “what can I tell the jury so they find in my client’s favor?”
Many lawyers dig deep into their own imagination in search of questions that would be relevant to a jury’s decision process. They answer the internal quandary with a mix of intuition, their own point of view, and what they believe will logically prove their case. In practice, however, this means that lawyers may be taking certain questions for granted or even presenting the case as they would want to hear it as opposed to what a layperson would want to hear.
Through years of experience as an Oklahoma trial attorney , retired judge Ken Adair found a better way to discover what jurors need to know. In concept, it’s simple. He asks them.
In practice, putting on a mock trial that can expose a jury’s viewpoint before an actual jury is impaneled is no simple matter. The procedure can easily degrade to a show-trial that serves little purpose other than to reinforce a trial attorney’s preconceived notions. On the other hand, done right, a mock jury can reveal the questions that jurors need answered to decide in your client’s favor.
Let Jurors Steer You Toward a Winning Strategy
Ken’s experience and proven approach to focus group a case allow attorneys to get a sense of what people would want to hear if they were jurors on the case. The process exposes potential weak points and reveals opportunities to frame the case in a light more favorable to the client.
Using focus groups to home in on what jurors want to and need to hear, Ken runs through the trial in a nutshell format by presenting the case in chief for both sides. To give the attorney a sense of what would happen had they presented the case as the attorney imagined it to jury, he lets the mock jury vote on the outcome and, if applicable, decide any damages to awarded.
Ken’s work doesn’t stop there. Employing sociometry in pointed follow-up questions, he delves into why jurors arrived at the conclusions they did. Then, by lining jurors up in a spectrum or using other methods to sort various juror’s stances, Ken drills into the factors that influenced jurors’ impressions and decisions. He probes the chasms between what is favorable, what is believable, and what is reasonable to find the right balance for your presentation at trial.
Without expert guidance, a mock trial can do little more than let ersatz jurors vote after lawyers practice their lines. That is why Ken has developed a unique process. He puts jurors in the driver’s seat. When faux jurors chart the course to a decision in your client’s favor, you tune your messaging to be pitch perfect when it comes time to examine or cross examine witnesses then to make your closing arguments.
Dig Deeper to Turn Losses into Wins
Finally, when a case requires deeper insight, Ken employs psychodrama to help flesh out any weaknesses in a client’s story or to resolve ambiguity that could be used against the client. Working with a client, Ken digs deep into the motivations and reasoning. He discovers why some behavior at face value may imply guilt, when in fact they are the choice of an innocent or non-culpable person.
For example, a client fleeing the scene of the crime provides the average person the appearance of guilt. Yet the action may have more to do with an imminent threat, which helps exonerate your client in the eyes of a jury. With his extensive psychodramatic experience, Ken offers a perspective that few other attorneys can bring to a case. Let his training and experience show you how reshape a potential weakness in your argument to a strong point in your client’s favor.
Many attorneys already have an idealized or specialized style of presentation they prefer. Optimal courtroom performances we idealize often rely on characterizations we presume to be persuasive, or those we hope might appeal to a jury. Yet, the way our own idiosyncratic character traits play to a jury can be a roll of the dice. Ken’s work will help you discover what a jury of actual laypeople needs to hear in order to give your client the best chance of success.
Schedule a Focus Group Consultation Today
Using focus groups, mock jury exercises and psychodrama to drill down to the most minute details, Ken’s years of experience can make the crucial difference between the ideal verdict or a sub-optimal result in your next jury trial. His unique approach goes beyond the usual services of a jury consultant to explore scenarios particular to your pending litigation.
Would your next jury trial benefit from pre-trial focalization? Call Ken Adair at Trial.Win today for a no-cost initial assessment. Before you commit to a day-long process or more, Ken will help you assess the value of finding out how laypeople will react to your client’s case.
When years of your client’s freedom are at stake, or you are asking for a significant judgment to make your client whole, a focus group very likely can help get you as close to victory as possible before you step into the courtroom.