The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the world. Assumptions that we had six months ago are being challenged and opinions are continuously shifting. Community views about COVID-19 will undoubtedly affect the potential jurors who will comprise the venire at your next trial.
As the pandemic unfolded IMS Jury Consultants began conducting extensive jury and community attitude research to help our clients gain meaningful insights for their cases and practices. This summer, we conducted twelve focus groups with eighty-two mock jurors in representative venues across the company. We followed that research with surveys of almost 500 respondents in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York. As you would expect from us, we are not yet done, our efforts are ongoing and will continue throughout at least the end of the year.
We learned how COVID-19 is affecting juror attitudes, including what concerns them, who they trust, who angers them, and whether parties to future litigation have done enough to avoid liability or to mitigate potential damages. We explored the ways in which their views have changed over time, their feelings toward their fellow citizens who suffered losses, their stances concerning how corporations should be responding, which entities they felt should be held responsible in various situations, and whether they believed those in positions of authority could be trusted. Our research data revealed quantified data on juror attitudes, freely-expressed opinions, and the general questions they asked throughout the research exercise.
In addition to collecting broad viewpoints and detailed demographic data, we explored mock jurors’ thoughts on seven different industries, including insurance, nursing homes, and cruise lines. We selected these industries both to obtain data specific to each of them and because investigation into each of these industries promised to reveal participants’ underlying views about personal and social responsibility.
To help our clients navigate the complexities associated with cases and trials amid COVID-19, we have published and will be continuing to publish a series of insights developed through this and related research.
Using the results of this research and our experience from more than 20,000 cases and well over 1,000 trials, our advisors have developed recommendations for clients in the areas of trial graphics, case strategy, expert witness recruitment and preparation, and jury consulting. We also invite you to contact us directly should you wish to discuss implications of our findings for your practice or a specific case.