What factors should be considered when hiring a jury consultant or a trial consultant?

What factors should be considered when hiring a jury consultant or a trial consultant?

Given the lack of qualifications required for someone to call themselves a trial consultant as discussed in FAQ# 2, hiring a jury consultant, or trial consultant, is a buyer beware situation. The decision to hire a consultant to trust with your case should be handled similarly to hiring experts on the case; not all jury or trial consultants are equally skilled or qualified. In fact, the skills and credentials they bring to the trial team vary greatly. Comparing research designs on an “apples to apples” basis is difficult.

When faced with the task of hiring a consultant, the factors which should be most important are: consultant qualifications (including academic training), experience as a consultant, relevant case experience, the experience and resources of the consulting team, venue experience, research design, range of services, reporting practices and deliverable product, and ability of the consultant to work effectively with the trial team.

The decision should be made with careful thought, by the trial team leader. Price was not mentioned in the important factors because, while the cost is important, hiring the wrong consulting firm is the most expensive decision, even if it has the lowest price. What is important is the value for the money spent. In determining the value, pay careful attention to what is included in the fee quote from the consultant. Some consultants, like Magnus, offer “package” pricing that includes the cost of the mock jurors – a cost which is significant, especially when the mock jurors are recruited properly, (see FAQ #8). Other consultants treat this as an additional billable expense.

Magnus provides case specific proposals with fee estimates. Travel and facility related expenses are the only significant cost above the quoted fee.