The Case for Quantitative Research in Jury Selection

Experienced trial lawyers know that jury selection is critical to success. No matter how well counsel prepares for trial and even with strong facts, cases are lost without a favorable jury.

This is why attorneys often turn to jury consultants to help with the selection process. But not all jury consultants are created equal. Many provide advice based on hunches and limited information, rather than significant data and sound facts.

One question that should be considered when selecting a jury consultant is whether they have significant experience with the use of quantitative research. Jury consultants often use qualitative approaches – such as mock trials and focus groups – to provide advice to their clients. While these tools can provide invaluable insights for jury selection, relying on them alone will have negative consequences.

Mock trials are typically conducted with small groups that are not always representative of the jury pool. This will mislead trial counsel into making assumptions about their jury pools that are not accurate.

For example, in a mock trial with 15 jurors, eight rule in favor of your client. If the eight who ruled for your client say they primarily get their news from The New York Times and the seven who ruled against say they mostly get their news from Facebook, counsel might mistakenly conclude that they should strike those in the venire who get their news from Facebook.

The problem with counsel’s assumption is that it is based on a sample of 15 people who are not representative of the population at large. The only way to get a reliable answer to this question is to conduct a quantitative study of the jurisdiction where the jury will be selected.

Unlike other jury consultants, Select Litigation uses a use a holistic approach to the jury selection process. Using the Integrated Selection ModelTM, we integrate data collected from mock trials, focus groups, and background research.

We conduct scientifically accurate quantitative studies to get statistically reliable answers about how demographics, media habits, and attitudes related to litigation influence juror attitudes.

This information is used to model the jury pool and assign each juror a score based on how favorable they are compared to the rest of the pool. As a result, we know what combinations of factors – including but not limited to simple demographics – best predict juror predispositions. 

Quantitative research ensures that you will begin jury selection with the best information possible. Without it, you’re missing valuable insights that make the difference in the jury selection process.

Nathan Green