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Focused Feedback: What Juries Really Care About Part 3

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January 8, 2024

In conducting nearly one thousand jury focus groups over the last decade, I have helped both our firm and other lawyers who consult with me improve personal injury cases. These focus groups have helped me to become a better advocate for my own clients. Along the way, I have learned that juries care a lot about things that do not have anything to do with the law read to them by the judge.

Issue 3: First Impressions Matter

When it comes to jury trials, first impressions are everything. Over the years, many trial consultants have said that juries come to a decision as to who they think should win at the beginning of opening statements. While these consultants disagree as to how long it takes for jurors to reach this consensus — opinions range from sixty seconds to ten minutes — the consensus is clear: first impressions are hugely important.

A good lawyer knows that at trial they need to get their best evidence in front of the jury as soon as possible.

To make sure that we always put our best foot forward, our firm regularly runs focus groups on the same case multiple times with nearly the same presentation. The only thing we change is the order that we present evidence in the opening statement. We call this the “primacy of evidence”.

For example, in one focus group we may start the presentation by explaining the substandard hiring process by a trucking company whose driver later injured our client. In a follow-up focus group on the same case, we may begin the presentation by explaining how the truck driver was distracted in the moments before they caused the wreck.

In doing this exercise over multiple focus groups on the same case, we are able to determine which piece of evidence will most fire up a jury and encourage them to award fair compensation to the person who was injured through no fault of their own.

I hope that you found this insight interesting. If you or a loved one is ever in need of legal representation for an injury claim, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for assistance. You can reach us at (404) 760-8600. You can also e-mail me directly at ah@hoff-law.com. I am also always happy to offer referrals to attorneys in other practice areas. Just reach out!