Friday, May 1, 2015

Don’t Undermine The Value of Your Focus Group

A focus group has many benefits, among the primary the opinions the “jurors” offer on the case: strengths, weaknesses, validity of themes, etc.  However, focus group jurors can only provide opinions if they are asked the right questions. Too often, lawyers ask focus group jurors to deliberate and discuss just the verdict questions. This is a woefully inadequate use of the focus group.

Don’t rely solely on verdict questions to elicit opinion, develop a list of questions that target your areas of concern. Every single one! It is far better to develop too many targeted questions and have whoever is facilitating the juror discussion eliminate them as necessary, than to develop too few questions and miss the opportunity of hearing valuable juror opinions.

If the target questions are well designed, the juror discussion will reveal the weaknesses in the lawyer's presentation of the case. Too often, lawyers will interrupt juror deliberation to respond to juror criticisms with a vigorous “Yeah, but..." defense of their position. This response undermines the entire value of the focus group. Why should an attorney bother asking for “juror" opinions if the end result is to tell focus group members that the lawyer is right and they are wrong?

You will gain the most by embracing criticism, looking for its benefit, and not trying to defend against it. Lawyers who dismiss the focus group's criticisms and opinions and fail to incorporate them in their trial strategy might as well not conduct a focus group at all. Lawyers who do not mind losing the focus group in order to win the trial are the lawyers who will profit most from the process.

No comments:

Post a Comment