As we gear up for an amazing 2018, we thought it’d be fun (and let’s be honest, easier on our sluggish, post-holiday brain) to feature the Top 10 posts from 2017 (according to Google Analytics). What’s kind of cool is that the #1 post was an article published in Texas Lawyer, and seven posts were recognized by Texas Bar Today as one of their weekly Top 10 posts! Now that’s what we call a pretty nice incentive to continue writing.
While we noodle new ideas and worthy tips to share, we hope you’ll visit, revisit and share the posts below!
Litigation is expensive, which can cause some major anxiety for both law firms and corporate clients. I partnered with my client and friend, Charlie Armstrong (VP and Assistant GC at Flowserve Corp.), to author an article published in Texas Lawyer. In it, we discuss 5 ways in-house counsel and outside counsel can work together to control costs in complex litigation.
The standing orders in the Eastern District of Texas pose a few challenges if you are a litigator (or client) wanting to conduct a mock trial, focus group, or even do a little internet recon on the jury panel. There are rules. And they vary from judge to judge, and from division to division. So, what do you need to know about them? It gets a little complicated, so we’ve compiled a cheat sheet.
An appellate ruling in California tossed a $417 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson in one of the talcum powder cases. The court cited several reasons for its decision, but the one that piqued our interest was jury misconduct. J&J supplemented its motion for a new trial with affidavits from actual jurors, and lucky for us, the court attached portions of those affidavits to its order. The court’s ruling provides a priceless peek into the deliberation process, what jurors are thinking, and what they take into consideration when awarding damages.
The “anchoring effect” is a cognitive bias that occurs in everyday situations, usually without us even knowing it exists. The impact of this bias, if strategically woven into argument, can play a major role in persuasion, especially when you’re trying to sell something to a jury, a judge, or even folks in a boardroom. In a nutshell, it’s the strategy of deciding what you want your audience to conclude and then positioning that answer between other plausible options. It can be quite effective when arguing damages, but tread lightly: it can backfire if not done carefully.
Just because a potential juror has a friends-only, seemingly private Facebook page does not necessarily mean the “likes” are private, too. Find out why researching “likes” may help you seat a better jury panel.
Everybody hates jury duty, right? Well, maybe not, if a recent Pew Research Center study is accurate. It found 67 percent of respondents equate jury duty with being “a good citizen.” Unfortunately, that overall sunny outlook masks some troubling findings that should concern anybody who values our justice system.
In the post above, we dispelled the myth that most Americans hate jury duty. But there are plenty more myths about juries. In this post, we take the ax to four more myths, all of which attempt to degrade the reputation of American jurors, and the justice system in general.
Are you following ethical guidelines and professional standards when you scour the internet for scoop on your jury? We’ve summarized some legal info from the ABA, NY State Bar Association, and the Eastern District of Texas to help guide your next search.
While plenty of commentary exists on whether to Google the jury, there is not much discussion on what to do if (or when) we discover something untoward about a potential juror or actual juror. After all, the information gleaned during an internet search on John Q. Public includes not only the information that can make it into the jury box, but it also includes the information that comes out of the jury box. This post provides various jury-Googling scenarios and how they were addressed in real-life examples.
In my opinion, none of the standing orders severely limit a trial team’s ability to conduct focus groups, mock trials, community attitude surveys, or any other sort of pretrial research. You simply have to be aware of the orders and conduct your research within the parameters. This post offers suggestions for doing just that.