Focus Groups

After defining the main issues of your case, Trial Science injects those issues into the “black box” of the focus group members’ minds. What emerges from those “black boxes” become important case themes. We then match demographic characteristics and attitudes to the focus group members’ biases on each issue, giving you the “keys” to the black box: which jurors tend to react in what way to your case?

Focus groups are an essential tool in our scientific approach to trail preparation. Real people from the trial venue tell you how they:

  • interpret your facts;
  • inject their own biases into their interpretation; and
  • blend their biases and your facts to persuade fellow jurors to see things their way;
  • . . . and this can be good or terrible for you!

Time and again, we have seen case facts and juror attitudes that, when mixed together, just don’t make sense – “common” sense. For instance:

  • People with family members in law enforcement believing that police witnesses will lie to cover each other (common sense says family members would believe cops);
  • A live video proving surgery was botched was rejected as “too real” (common sense would say this evidence would be cherished by a jury)
  • Spouses, friends, employees of the defendant company HATING the very company that puts food on their table;
  • Spouses, friends, employees of the defendant company LOVING the very company that puts food on their table;

Focus Groups tell us the “Why’s” for all of these fly-in-the-face-of-common sense examples. Focus Groups remind us that every case is different and nothing can be taken for granted.

Learn the human factors, attitudes, beliefs, ideals, perceptions, and opinions towards the issues in your case. Understand the style of the jurors’ thinking and the conclusions they may reach because of that style.

Focus group format:

Directed by a trained, unbiased facilitator, focus groups consist of eight to ten jury-eligible people from the trial venue. Before beginning the session, group members are asked to complete a questionnaire that has been designed to reveal their demographic characteristics, personal attitudes, and biases.

These attitudes and demographics are correlated with each persons’ final vote to develop a data-based juror profile of the types of people who will vote for you or against you at trial.

The focus group is similar to the jury panel at the beginning of voir dire. Members are unaware of case specifics, allowing you to zero in on people’s pre-existing attitudes before they’ve been affected by a presentation. Once the questionnaire has been completed, issues are presented to the group in an objective manner.


COVID-19 has created a new world, a world in which in-person focus groups are always possible. Trial Science has adapted to this new world because you still need the information, virus or no virus. Our team offers confidential, secure, online focus groups for you and your client. We have researched several cases remotely and have “worked out the bugs,” some that were anticipated and some that came at us out of left field.

Regardless of the format (in-person or online), you will get:

  • 4-hour sessions devoted to your case [3 groups recommended per case]
  • Participants from the trial venue (8-15 people)
  • Moderator reads summaries from each side of the case while participants listen
  • Exhibits are shown on PowerPoint or in evidence binders
  • Remote viewing for you and your clients
  • You and your client can interact in real time with the moderator to inject questions, answer questions, make corrections
  • Debriefing with the moderator afterwards

And finally, a full written report:

  • Outcomes
  • Themes / Trends / Main issues discussed
  • Jury profile information
  • Suggestions for voir dire