Occasionally, a case is simply too complex to be fairly tested in a brief research model. In such cases, Bret Dillingham Trial Consulting can assist in putting together a mock trial. The basic model for Mock Trial research is the same as for an Adversarial Focus Group but the presentations are longer. This may be necessary when there are multiple defendants, or when the issues are extremely complex. A large group listens to attorney presentations for four to six hours, and then divides into two or three small groups for deliberations.
Such groups are excellent tools in providing the trial team with a “reality check” on verdict expectations, finding case strengths and weaknesses, developing voir dire strategy and opening statement themes and language, as well as providing an opportunity to test out and refine exhibits, test the effectiveness of key witnesses and get reactions to key documents and evidence.
Additionally, the preparation for these groups, in which the trial team puts together a presentation summarizing their case and their most important evidence, can often be extremely effective in helping the team begin to focus their case themes and story and get new ideas about what the case is really all about. Because the attorneys are also presenting the case to the mock jury, this type of research also gives the lawyer a chance to stand up and talk about their case with real people before doing so at trial or mediation.
However, this research model is considerably more expensive than the unpacking and adversarial focus group models. Most often the less elaborate and less costly research models can produce equally useful and practical results.