Season 1 – Episode 05 ·

Picking a Winning Jury with Sonia Chopra

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Trial Strategist, Sonia Chopra, has applied the sciences of psychology, sociology, and data analytics to assist attorneys in case framing and jury (de)selection. Being one of the best at her craft, she has been a part of countless seven, eight, nine, and ten-figure verdicts across the. country. Join us as we learn how Sonia developed her approach to trial strategy and voir dire. Through that dialogue, we also discuss human nature, biases, and prejudices that exist in not just the prospective jurors, but also the lawyers and judges. 

What you will learn from this episode.

Sonia discusses the evolution of jury consulting to trial consultants and, finally, to litigation consulting. Part of that evolution is the constant balancing of the science and the art of human psychology and social psychology. The science is through training -- Sonia's training is as a Ph.D psychologist with an emphasis in litigation. The art is the constant exposure to prospective jurors through focus groups and voir dires. Unlike trial lawyers who, even the best of them on high exposure trials, get to trial four to ten times a year, Sonia has the capacity to accomplish the same volume in a month. As a result, she has interacted with more people than almost any trial lawyer. That type of real-life exposure -- data -- helps to minimize the subjectivity of her methods.

An essential aspect of jury selection is identifying jurors with biases that warrant the Court excusing them from presiding over the trial. Sonia discusses the impediments that lawyers face in overcoming their own biases to be effective in communicating with and exposing prospective juror's biases.

Like any other person, lawyer's biases are innate and potentially translate into their personal lives. The irony of that is not something that is lost on Rahul and Ben. We spend our careers trying to eliminate bias, like many trial lawyers, but in order to effectively do so, we need to make sure we have done so in our own lives.

Rahul has been working with Sonia for many years and is a firm believer in the benefit of an effective litigating consultant. Ben has utilized litigation consultants in focus groups but his time with Sonia may have expanded his interest in using litigation consultants more broadly. 

Sonia Chopra, Ph.D

Photo of Sonia Chopra, Ph.D

Sonia Chopra, Ph.D. is co-founder and president of Chopra Koonan Litigation Consulting. Dr. Chopra has 20 years of experience and has been involved in over 400 cases, ranging from multi-million-dollar civil litigation to high-stakes criminal trials. She provides clients with assistance in litigation and settlement strategy, storytelling and theme development, damages valuation, opening statements and closing arguments, focus group and trial simulation research, witness preparation, and jury selection. Her practice specialties include plaintiff-side personal injury, employment and civil rights litigation, commercial litigation, and criminal defense. She has served on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Trial Consultants and is the former General Editor of the trial manual, Jurywork:® Systematic Techniques. To learn more about Sonia, visit her website at