Shadow juries can be one of the most important tools in litigation. If the real jury isn't buying your story, or is having a negative emotional reaction to your client, you need to know immediately.
But you can't interview the jurors, read their minds, or often even read their faces -- which is why shadow jurors are so valuable.
The problem with shadow juries, of course, is that traditionally they have been too expensive except for the biggest cases.
But the ability to webcast trials completely changes what is possible for shadow juries, because for the first time ever it is possible to have virtual shadow jurors, who watch the trial online. What's different with virtual shadow jurors?
First, when the shadow jurors do not have to be in the courtroom, the costs go down. Jurors can be recruited from anywhere, more quickly, more easily, paid less, and they do not have to travel.
Second, with virtual shadow jurors, the benefits go way up:
- Closer Match. With a larger pool of available shadow jurors, the shadow jurors can be selected to more precisely match the characteristics of the actual jury.
- More Feedback. Because the virtual shadow jurors are not in court, they can be polled more frequently, rather than once at day's end.
- Faster Feedback. Because the polling can be done online, the shadow jurors can answer questions in real-time, and get the feedback to the trial team for fast response, even in time for cross-examination.
- Increased Reliability. Because the virtual shadow jurors are not physically in court, courtroom space does not prevent the hiring of a larger, more representative shadow jury.
- Improved Fidelity. Because CVN cameras use a zoom lens and also capture the digital evidence feed, the virtual shadow jurors get a view of the witnesses and evidence that is closer to what actual jurors get, compared to the angles and distance that may be available from the gallery.
- Privacy. Because the virtual shadow jurors are not physically in court, opposing counsel has no way of knowing how many shadow jurors are being used, or indeed whether there are any.
What's the same? Virtual shadow jurors still do not know which side has hired them, and a qualified jury consultant still must recruit and manage the shadow jurors, and mediate all interactions with the shadow jury.
The downsides of the virtual shadow jury are not many. In theory, virtual shadow jurors might not pay close attention to the proceedings. However, the same can occur in the courtroom. In fact, because the virtual shadow jurors are not in the court, a good jury consultant can manage and monitor their participation more actively than with an in-court panel.
Another difficulty with virtual shadow jurors is that some courts do not allow cameras, including most federal courts, although the trend is toward greater access. The chart below shows that CVN has been approved to webcast court proceedings in 30 states and two federal jurisdictions.
CVN has arranged with two jury consultants to provide virtual shadow juror services -- R&D Strategic Solutions and Verdict Success. However, live in-court webcasting technology is available to any jury consultant that would provide a higher quality product, potentially at a lower cost. Below is a list of jury consultants who provide shadow jury services.
If you have never used a virtual shadow jury, talk to your jury consultant. If you are a jury consultant and would like to provide virtual shadow juror services to your clients, contact John Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org) for live trial multiple line bulk pricing.
Jury Consultants Offering Shadow Juries