Lawyers Leveraging AI For Trial Preparation Due to Growing Court Backlogs

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With courts opening and backlogs growing, lawyers are leveraging Artificial Intelligence to move fast and prepare for their trials. EmotionTrac was recently awarded a patent for their Emotional Intelligence software that analyzes facial expressions, which is now helping attorneys with trial preparation.

Artificial Intelligence in Trial Preparation


“This is a must solution for all attorneys to use in preparing to settle with opposing counsel or evaluate potential jury reactions in pre-trial research” said Nicole Kruegel.

The perfect storm of unprecedented court backlogs and a flood of new filings has forced the courts to speed cases through, leaving traditional methods of case preparation harder, more costly and in many cases too slow for current conditions.

A newly-awarded patent for EmotionTrac's artificial intelligence-powered facial software utilizes facial detection through a mobile app that captures the visceral reactions of focus group participants in a blink of an eye. It then interprets the emotional reactions and delivers quantitative data about your case. After watching the video, participants receive survey questions to gathering qualitative data (ie. valuation, witness assessment, etc.), according to CEO Aaron Itzkowitz.

In-person jury trials and other court proceedings have commenced in courts nationwide. But it will take years to make a dent in this mountain of cases. Due to the speed which courts are compelled to operate, pretrial research can benefit from technology that will lower costs and accelerate the gathering of valuable insights.

Witness preparation, evaluating potential jury reactions, developing a juror profile, jury selection, preparing to settle with opposing counsel and post-trial activities can all benefit from social science tools that utilize Artificial Intelligence to glean unique insights and data in a fraction of the time and cost.

One area of pretrial research is focus groups, which traditionally have been conducted in person. Before COVID, web-enabled online focus groups started catching on because of the lower cost and the ability to recruit a larger number of participants. New technologies using AI can compress the research timeline and lower the costs even further.

EmotionTrac is an AI-powered emotional intelligence tool that goes beyond current web-enabled solutions. Video is shown to an audience preselected by desired demographics, whether closed-circuit camera footage, expert witness testimony, depositions, etc.

Nicole Kruegel, Attorney at Domnick Cunningham & Whalen said, “The research report validated my intuition about the defendant’s expert witness. The emotional data captured is unique and not possible with traditional research and focus groups. It was far less costly than what we would typically pay for gathering this intelligence. The process was so easy, and results were delivered quickly.”

Another use case would be a video of a complaining witness to test the credibility on potential jurors.

“I have been a criminal defense lawyer for 20 years and I can't believe the instant results that I got that are going to help me win my case. In my case, I use the video of a complaining witness to test the credibility on potential jurors, and I was floored when I got the results back. Now it's given me everything that I need to move forward with this case to attack this witness's credibility and to develop a juror profile. Definitely check this out!” said Patrick Megaro a Partner at Halscott Megaro PA.

In-person focus groups are relatively costly and time consuming and as a research tool. Typically lasting a few hours, many lawyers opt for a full day, to allow enough time to interview the members of the audience panel. But digital focus groups conducted online can be completed in minutes with real-time emotional analysis of the audience panel presented in colorful charts and graphs that provide unique, valuable insights.

Because they are limited in scope compared with other forms of research like mock trials at a fraction of the cost, digital focus groups using EmotionTrac can be used frequently and early on. As new facts or research objectives arise, the low cost and rapid results is compatible with the schedule and budget of small and large cases.

Nicholas P. Panagakis, a partner with Morgan & Morgan is very excited about the possibilities this technology has for both big and small cases: “Focus groups have been part of my tool case throughout my career while preparing my cases for trials. In the past, coordinating focus groups have been costly and time consuming. But no more! We just completed our first order with EmotionTrac and were blown away by the data that was delivered. Considering their level of service, the ease of use and extremely economical costs to gather the market research convinced us that we will be using this software for our big cases and small ones alike.”

Digital tools like EmotionTrac can ease the burden of case preparation and preparing to settle with opposing counsel. “This is a must solution for all attorneys to use in preparing to settle with opposing counsel or evaluate potential jury reactions in pre-trial research,” said Nicole Kruegel.

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Shelli Garson, Director of Insights
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