Welcome to JurorProof. There are two kinds of proof:
- Legal proof, which is the proof needed to satisfy legal elements of a claim. This is relevant when making arguments to the court or writing briefs and motions, etc.
- Juror-proof, which is needed to get jurors to find in your favor.
Who Authors This Blog?
This blog is run by Jessica Hoffman Brylo, J.D., M.A., an attorney and trial/mediation consultant as well as President and Owner of Hoffman Brylo Consulting, LLC (www.hoffmanbryloconsulting.com), a full-service trial consulting firm. This blog is meant to aid litigators in preparing cases for mediation or trial. Many attorneys do not understand the need for consultant input before a case goes to mediation, but mediation is often entirely about who can predict what a group of jurors will do with the case. The more convincing one side can be regarding the merits of their case as seen through the eyes of the potential jury, the more leverage they have in settlement. Which brings me to the purpose of this blog…
Attorneys often make the mistake of thinking that the two kinds of proof are one in the same or overestimating the degree of overlap. Jurors do not care, for example, whether you have proven duty, negligence, causation, and injury. They do care that your client is an upstanding person. They care that your client drank the night before, even if it has no relevance to the claim or to causation. And they certainly do not care that it is legally improper for them to consider insurance. Unless you understand what jurors care about, you do not have the proof you need to win your case.
So how do you find out what juror-proof is for your case? Multiple ways. Focus groups and mock trials are by far the best way to determine what juror-proof is for your case IF they are done in a scientifically reliable fashion. Many attorneys make the mistake of relying on focus groups they conduct in-house without the use of a trained consultant. I caution that those results may be misleading if the focus group was not conducted properly. Without a budget for a focus group or mock trial, however, many consultants bring to the table their experience in studying juries and working on numerous cases. With that background, they can often help draft opening statements or closing arguments or do a simple case analysis to tell the attorneys what areas they see as being problematic and how to get around those hurdles. Thirdly, I hope that reading this blog will be of assistance. From time to time, I will post on here my own thoughts as well as link to articles that seem relevant. Welcome to JurorProof!