Witness Evaluation and Communication Training
Preparing witnesses is critical to ensure that their testimony both resonates, with and ultimately persuades, the trier-of-fact. Our senior consultants, who have extensive hands-on experience training both fact and expert witnesses, will work closely with trial counsel to educate key witnesses about the “do’s and don’ts” of testifying at a deposition or in court. Particular focus is placed on teaching the witness proper verbal and non-verbal behaviors, identifying non-credible demeanors, discussing cross-examination tricks and traps, and helping counsel to reinforce the framework and objectives for the witness’s testimony. We will also identify the source of the anxiety, nervousness or anger he or she is feeling as a result of the litigation process. We know that these feelings are prevalent with most witnesses and, if left unresolved, will negatively impact the witness’s ability to effectively communicate their testimony. We have found that helping witnesses to understand their emotions regarding the process and showing them how it impacts their testimony is a vital part of the witness communication training process.
Voir Dire and In-Court Jury Selection Consulting
Using juror profiles developed from our research, drawing upon our collective experience in similar cases, and relying on previous experience in the trial venue, our senior consultants will assist trial counsel with the development and implementation of your case-specific voir dire and jury selection strategy. Leading up to trial, we will work closely with your team to develop voir-dire questions designed to help uncover jurors’ biases and pre-dispositions. We also will provide in-court assistance to evaluate jurors’ voir dire responses and to help trial counsel assess the risks associated with each prospective juror. Once the voir dire process is completed, we will make recommendations to trial counsel as to the most effective and strategic use of peremptory challenges. Following the completion of jury selection, we will provide to the trial team a written analysis of each of the seated jurors including recommendations for persuasion and identification of potential “leaders” among the group.
Supplemental Juror Questionnaire
When permitted by the Court, a juror questionnaire can provide important insight into a prospective juror’s biases and life experiences, information which they may not necessarily be comfortable sharing in open court during voir dire. We will work closely with the trial team to develop a supplemental juror questionnaire which will help to identify acceptable, questionable and dangerous jurors. This information can then be used by trial counsel as the foundation for targeted follow-up with prospective jurors during the in-court voir dire process. In cases where jury research has been undertaken and/or a juror profile developed, our consultants will tailor the questionnaire to incorporate “predictive” questions in order to make the most effective use of peremptory challenges.
Trial Monitoring and Strategy Consulting
Daily attendance at trial by one of Blueprint’s experienced senior consultants can assist you and your trial team by providing feedback on current trial strategy, and identifying potential vulnerabilities with existing case themes and witness testimony. Based on the in-court observations of each day, our consultants will identify and provide strategic guidance on how to implement necessary mid-course corrections to ensure the trial team is maximizing persuasive opportunities during your case-in-chief while also undermining your adversary’s case. Our consultants will also provide feedback regarding the performance of key witnesses and jurors’ likely reactions to each side’s presentation to help guide you with any potential in-trial settlement decisions.
Blueprint will recruit a panel of prospective jurors (approximately 30-40) from which a smaller subset of jurors (approximately five to six) who most closely match the demographic and experiential characteristics of the actual jury panel will be selected . The selected shadow jurors will be managed by Blueprint’s consultants. In order to avoid any response bias, the shadow jurors are not told for whom they are working. During trial, the shadow jurors will listen only to the evidence which the actual jury panel hears. At the end of each day, Blueprint consultants will debrief the shadow jury panel to gain further insight into each shadow juror’s individual observations and perceptions of the trial. The consultants will prepare a daily report for the trial team summarizing the shadow jurors’ feedback and which also provides strategic recommendations as to how to best fine-tune your trial team’s presentations and/or attacks on your adversary’s case. Blueprint’s consultants have substantial experience with the strategic use of shadow juries and are well positioned to use this “navigational aid” to help you build successful strategies at trial.