Value-Evaluation.com Launches Inexpensive Mock Jury Facilitation

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Inexpensive mock jury services will launch in May for attorneys to explore the dark areas of their case before the starting of actual court proceedings.

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Control your own mock jury or focus group session, without the cost of expensive trial consultants.

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A brand new website called Value-Evaluation (http://www.value-evaluation.com) now provides an easy and cost effective solution for Southeastern Pennsylvania attorneys to secure mock jurors in order to test their cases before they ever go to Court.

While the benefits of a "mock-jury" are well known to lawyers: use a focus group process to see how real people respond to a case before actually going to trial, the process for securing jurors can be prohibitively complex and expensive. Value- Evaluation simplifies this process and makes it much more affordable than involving a trial consultant or involving other means of nonbinding alternative dispute resolution.

The result of using a mock jury focus group is that attorneys are better prepared for trial, and can assess the strengths and weaknesses of a case. Obviously this enables the trial lawyer to evaluate settlement more realistically.

Not every case benefits from a mock jury. Nevertheless, most cases, of all types can be better prepared with the use of a mock jury contested liability issue.

Mock jury/focus groups can and should be used in case situations that fit into any of the following categories, for example.

  •     To explore the best arguments for resolution of the dispute before going to trial
  •     To contain legal costs
  •      To potentially shortening the length of a trial
  •     Determining witness credibility
  •     To present the evidence central to the case in a short amount of time and get immediate feedback

While mock juries are not currently used in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia County, they are frequently used in Lawrence County, Blair County and Westmoreland County, PA.

Mock trials can be used after all discovery is completed, or close to the time that discovery is completed. Presentations are typically made before a 6 to 8 person mock jury. Larger panels are also available from Value Evaluation. The panel can either reach a consensus or allow individuals to announce anonymous verdicts.

It is a tool that can be of great use. One of the occupational hazards of being a litigator is that you often work in a bubble, and lose perspective on your case. It's easy to convince yourself that your case has more or less merit than it really does. Value Evaluation provides a valuable reality check. Feedback from neutral people like the jurors who will hear the case can help to decide when to settle, and when to press on to trial. If the case does go to trial, the input from mock jurors can help refine the case to be more effective in court.

Using Value-Evaluation.com, attorneys can now "test drive" their cases before a panel of people drawn from the same pool of citizens that will make up the jury if and when the case actually gets to trial. Attorneys can try out their arguments and evidence, and receive detailed information and feedback about the jurors' reactions to their cases. "We use a number of mechanisms to recruit a broad range of people from the county and geographic area where the case will be tried to serve as our 'focus jurors'" said Laura Carpey, co-owner of Value-Evaluation.com. "Attorneys can choose their jurors from a random group of people. They can further narrow jurors down by many other personal factors, in a similar way they would narrow strike jurors during voir dire. This ensures that the panel of focus jurors represents the broader jury pool in the area where the case is pending. The responses of our focus jurors will reflect attitudes and opinions of jurors in that locality."

To use the system, attorneys log onto the Value-Evaluation.com, fill out a short form and submit their credit card to begin the process. Attorneys are asked to specify a date and location for the mock trial. They can then access the juror pool and select the members they want to contact and participate in the mock trial. At this point potential jurors are contacted by Value-Evaluation and asked whether they desire and are able to participate at the specified date and location. Value-Evaluation takes care of ensuring the Jurors show up and are paid. The attorney can stage the mock trial in any manner best suited to the particular case. Value-Evaluation provides a mock jury best practices guide, which provides insightful information to get the most value out of the mock trial, and can be downloaded for free.

About Value-Evaluation:
Value Evaluation is an online database of potential mock jurors initially focused in Southeastern Pennsylvania, for staged mock trials. Attorneys can pay for blocks of mock jurors to come to their offices and assess cases before trial. The service was started after several successful mock trials were conducted in the area. Many tort and trial attorneys can now experience mock trials inexpensively, especially in smaller law firms that cannot leverage expensive trail consultant services. The company hopes to expand nationwide within the year.

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Laura Carpey
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