Most lawyers are convinced that focus studies are an invaluable method of getting helpful feedback regarding cases. There are a variety of ways of conducting these studies. One can use a telephone survey like the calls you get when there is a pending election. One can also conduct a case study with a group at a meeting place. This technique can involve numerous approaches from a full mock trial to simply showing documents to the group for a spontaneous reaction. Focus studies with groups have been done when the only evidence presented was a time line of events and they were left to deliberate. Other groups have been used for a reaction to proposed exhibits. Lawyers have experimented with proposed voir dire or opening statements and arguments. A single issue might be presented or a presentation where a party is a defendant and one where the party is not. Issues regarding the impact of admitting liability can also be tested. The variety of methods is really limitless.
The benefits of these studies is assistance in determining a value range and can be helpful with your client or even your opponent. It assists in finding the facts to emphasize as well in developing case themes. One can discovery general attitudes and create juror profiles. The benefits justify the expense as a general rule.
The studies do not have to be expensive. One procedure lawyers often overlook is focus studies done on the Internet. Instead of gathering a group to meet and discuss, the information is given over the Internet and the individual responds on the Internet. There are several providers offering this service. Here are some. www.virtualjury.com is an online focus group. Case materials can include text documents, video, auto and exhibits along with the facts of the case. www.trialjuries.com involves a similar procedure where the attorney provides the case information. The case is sent to a panel of people for review who log in, review the case and submit their reactions. www.ejury.com is a similar service where the attorney provides the information and the participants log in for review and evaluation. This service submits the material to participants in the area where the trial will occur. When a minimum number of responses (usually fifty) are received, the company analyzes the results. The results are printed and provided in a booklet to the attorney.
I recommend your exploring one of the online focus study sites for possible use in your cases.