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.