Attorneys love it when their expert witness possesses a degree (or two) from a highly prestigious academic institution. Of course, this is not a coincidence, as lawyers routinely consider educational background when seeking out good candidates to be an expert witness. An impressive resume, the thinking goes, means the ultimate decision maker, typically the jury, will perceive the expert as highly credible. And a highly credible expert goes a long

I was recently asked by a lawyer friend getting ready to pick a jury whether he should ask members of the panel whether they have any tattoos. My general reaction was unless the case involved someone suing a tattoo shop then it probably wouldn’t be a meaningful area of inquiry and that time would be better spent asking about something else. Then again, part of jury selection is to not

Trial Methods set out to take the pulse of the public by questioning jury-eligible people across the country about their attitudes pertaining to litigation at the outset of 2017. Respondents were from geographically, politically and demographically diverse regions and asked a series of questions online. The same survey with the same methodology was administered in January of 2018 and January of 2019 to different respondents to see how attitudes have

How did you feel when you received your jury summons? My first reaction to receiving the summons was a feeling of inconvenience; how I would have to miss work and sit in a room all day with people I didn’t know. I had received a summons before and did not have to serve on a jury. I was hoping it would be the same again this time. It wasn’t. What

Jurors often connect empathetically with the “key players” involved in a lawsuit. For commercial cases, however, this occurs much less frequently. General commercial litigation involves virtually every type of dispute that can arise in the business context, including breach of contract cases, partnership/joint venture disputes, class actions, business torts, civil RICO claims, breach of fiduciary duty allegations, and shareholder issues. It is by far the exception rather than the rule

Kelly Ann Conway was prescient with her introduction of “alternative facts” to American political discourse. But what she really was describing was alternative tracks of syntax. In today’s political environment people seek out and embrace news that fits within their pre-existing firmly rooted overarching political narrative. The news is ubiquitous which means seeking specifically tailored news confirming one’s perspective is always just a click away. News that isn’t tailored to

What happens when civil jurors discuss pain and suffering during deliberations? Certainly the specific facts of the case, including what a plaintiff had to endure, affects the way jurors conceptualize “pain and suffering.” This concept of pain and suffering is well known to lawyers but jurors are given little guidance when asked to award money for this category. Sometimes jurors look to the jury instructions for direction, yet here is

Lawyers are often concerned about what is known as “Jury Contamination” during the selection of jurors. This refers to a potential juror speaking up in open court and saying something that could infect the entire panel with strongly held viewpoints. This comes in many different forms. A prospective juror could say something about how companies usually offer generous settlements to plaintiffs, which is not allowed to be considered by jurors.

I have recently been receiving questions about the prospects of a successful lawsuit against a gun manufacturer or distributor. From a legal standpoint they are dim. There are too many impediments to even getting a case in front of a jury. In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA, which essentially gives gun manufacturers and dealers immunity from civil litigation when crimes have been

A year ago Trial Methods set out to take the pulse of the public by questioning jury-eligible people across the country about their attitudes pertaining to litigation in 2017. Respondents were from geographically, politically and demographically diverse regions and were asked a series of questions online. The same survey with the same methodology was recently administered to different respondents to see how attitudes have shifted. Also, given the recent spate