Mock trials and focus groups are two tools that lawyers use to improve trial performance.
Mock trial and its use
In a mock trial, volunteer participants act as the judge/ jury. They also listen to opening and closing statements, in addition to hearing witnesses and experts give their testimony. After watching the cross-examination, the group renders a decision or verdict.
Mock trials are beneficial to prepare a witness for questions that may be asked during trial. This format duplicates the pressure and atmosphere of a courtroom trial, giving witnesses a firsthand opportunity to comprehend the realistic conditions of a legal proceeding.
These trials are time-consuming, but since the preparation involves careful consideration and planning, it can be deemed beneficial. They are beneficial to the lawyers as they get feedback on the presentation of the case.
A focus group is a group of people recruited to participate in a guided discussion and provide feedback. During these discussions, participants are given short statements or encouraged to read an opening or closing statement, and then asked for feedback without receiving background instructions on the case.
Focus groups can be used before, as well as during trial preparations to gather information. Participants can be asked questions about specific topics, and the feedback will help lawyers discover the strengths and weaknesses of the case. The information gathered is helpful to strategize the defence, use appropriate language, and provide the right evidence at trial presentations.
Lawyers who are considering focus group should arrive with a list of questions for the participants. Doing so, will not only save time but will give the lawyer an opportunity to receive valuable feedback on specific issues regarding the case. This feedback can help them decide if there is a need for a change in venue or whether the settlement offered needs reconsideration.
These tools are becoming more widely used by law firms. Using these methods can help them achieve an upper hand in litigation or legal proceedings.
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