Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
What is Trial Consulting?
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Trial consulting is an important aspect of the trial process, in which experts in a relevant field assist a trial attorney by offering their expert testimony on a particular issue. Trial consultants, sometimes called “jury consultants” are an essential part of many court cases; without their testimony, it could be difficult to prove the damages a person suffered as a result of their situation to the deciding jury. Trial consultants may present their expert opinions on issues such as medicine, sociology, psychology, economics, and more in order to support the case an attorney is making for their client. Additionally, trial consultants may help to prepare witnesses for speaking in court and may also help in the jury selection process.
What Does a Trial Consultant Do?
A trial consultant may have one or many tasks to complete within their job description. Some trial consultants choose to specialize in specific tasks, while others make it their purpose to gain an overall understanding of the field in order to aid attorneys with multiple needs.
Some tasks a trial consultant may participate in or complete alone include the following:
- Jury research and selection. A trial consultant may help an attorney evaluate potential jurors and decide which ones should be selected for jury duty based on answers to a unique set of questions. This is where a background in sociology or psychology may benefit the trial consultant, in addition to the attorney and their client. The ability to accurately read people and predict their inherent biases and opinions can help ensure that a jury contains people that are not already set against the client.
- Case evaluation. Trial consultants play a big part in assessing and evaluating the damages of a victim in any particular situation. For example, while some damages such as medical bills and lost wages are easy to quantify, non-economic and future damages can be hard to put a number to. Trial consultants calculate not only past and present damages of a victim, but can also help to predict future expenses as well as what kind of compensation a victim should receive for the intangible damages such as pain and suffering. The trial consultant can then present the evidence they used to come to that particular conclusion regarding a victim’s damages.
- Help to develop case themes. A case theme is in essence the way a situation is framed for a jury to understand it. Due to many trial consultants’ backgrounds in sociology and psychology, they may be able to develop better case themes with better chances of convincing a jury to understand and sympathize with their clients’ situation.
- Prepare witnesses to speak in court. Having a witness to your situation can be extremely helpful in court; however, not all witnesses are inherently skilled at public speaking or even putting their thoughts into an effectively communicative form. Preparing a witness before a trial can help ease the witness’s mind and give them a better idea of what to expect from courtroom procedure, as well as how to dress and best communicate their testimony.
- Visual aids. The use of demonstrative aids in an attorney’s presentation can be substantial. Some trial consultants specialize in creating visual aids such as slideshows, charts, and other graphic support in order to help the jury understand the information presented, rather than simply listening and trying to organize the information for themselves.
Trial consultants offer detailed support in a myriad of ways which could be vital to the success of a case. From ensuring the courtroom procedures go as smoothly as possible to making sure that the jurors selected for the trial are receptive to the attorney’s argument, choosing to involve a trial consultant can have many benefits for a client’s case. To learn more about trial consulting or to discuss the use of a consultant in your trial process, seek legal counsel.
Consider Hiring a Trial Attorney
While any attorney can go to trial and practice before a court, trial attorneys undergo additional training in client advocacy and generally have a good deal more experience in the courtroom than other lawyers might. This is why it’s a good idea to consider hiring a certified trial attorney if your case seems unlikely to settle fairly outside of court. If your case does go to court, it is likely that your attorney will employ the help of a trial consultant to prove the facts and figures of your case to the jury responsible for deciding what kind of compensation you should receive. For help taking a case to court or to learn more about the role of trial consultants in your court process, reach out to a trial attorney.