Red is red. That’s a fact.
But is it Cardinal Red? Or Cincinnati Red? Depends on your hometown, doesn’t it? Opinion influences perception and perception can change fact. And geography can change all of the above.
If the term “Hoosier” is a badge of pride, you’re probably an Indiana resident or friend of one, or maybe an Indiana University alum. If the term “Hoosier” is one of the last words heard before a bar fight breaks out, you’re probably from Saint Louis where the term became synonymous with “hick” or “scab” after striking Saint Louis workers in the 30s were replaced with workers imported from-you guessed it-Indiana.
Of course, perception goes beyond invective. Consider the news. What happens on macro levels-international and national news-shapes opinion in part, but what’s shakin’ locally is what matters to local people. What happens in the big city won’t necessarily define what happens in America’s small towns, and vice versa.
Hey. Stan, you’re in Ala-f***in’-bama. You come from New York. You killed a good ol’ boy. There is NO WAY this is not going to trial!
– Vinny Gambini
So it goes with the folks deciding your case. They aren’t from all over the map. They’re local. They’re regular Joes and Janes and that, like politics, makes all law local. Precedent can come from anywhere but decisions about your case are made right here.
It makes sense to listen to local folks as they arrive at their decisions. As it is right now, the words Focus Group make attorneys think Mock Trial. And a mock trial is, in essence, a one-way conversation. You’re not listening. You make your case, await a result, and discuss afterward. As market research and communications experts, we use focus groups as a dialogue-a two-way conversation-to generate insight as to what triggers the rationales that later become decisions. We listen while the decisions are being made. Hearing your case in their words can, in turn, help define how you make your case. So you should listen as early and as often as possible.
Hearsay helps you do just that. Hearsay applies time-tested public opinion-gathering methodologies to cultivate local sentiment so we can acquire feedback relevant to your case. We then package the data in an easy-to-consume multimedia summary to be used in case prep, mediation, and the courtroom.
“But what about Mock Trials?” you ask.
The Hearsay answer is this: FOCUS BEFORE MOCKING.
While Mock Trials will help you craft your courtroom strategy and performance, and are great too is as the court date nears, they should come only after the discoveries made from one (or more) Hearsay Focus Group(s).
Why? Because Mock Trials limit your ability to accurately gauge public sentiment.
Hearsay Focus Groups help create the foundation for your case. They help you discover the issues that will sway juror opinion, aid in defining case themes, ascertain reactions to evidence, help anticipate opinions toward both plaintiff and defendant, determine witness (expert or otherwise) credibility, and uncover ways to express the case on the local public’s terms.
So remember: focus first... because like politics, all law is local.
©Hearsay Legal Consulting 2013