Daily Business Review: Social Science Looks to Demystify the Jury Selection Process

The use of jury consultants who use empirical analysis to find out how a firm’s case will play in front of a jury before a trial ever begins has become standard practice — especially in high-stakes litigation.

By Dylan Jackson | February 20, 2019 at 06:09 PM

Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 2.05.43 PMJury selection has long been a cryptic process, and every trial attorney has a juror war story and list of voir dire taboos.

Some have called it pure guesswork. Others have described it as a combination of psychology and the dark arts.

But Marjorie Sommer, co-founder of the Florida trial consulting firm Focus Litigation, believes lawyers have too many preconceptions about jury selection. She and her partner Geri Satin say the process need not be a mystery.

“It’s a numbers game,” Satin said.

Through qualitative and quantitative analysis (Satin has a doctorate degree in legal psychology from Florida International University) and with the help of a thousand focus groups, mock trials, and real-world verdicts, Sommer and Satin counsel law firms, companies and even government agencies about what type of jury could help their case.

Over the past two decades, the use of trial consultants has become ubiquitous in high-profile cases. In 1983, the American Society of Trial Consultants had less than 20 members. Today, the organization boasts nearly 300. While in its infancy, the industry was viewed with much skepticism. But as the digital era has matured, data analytics has grown more sophisticated, transforming jury consulting into a legal industry that is accepted and even embraced.

Much of their job, Satin said, is to demystify the jury selection process and use their combined 30 years of legal experience to provide actionable recommendations based on their findings…

“Here we are, all lawyers, and we’re trained on the legal issues. We’re not really trained on the social science part of it,” said Bruce Katzen, founding partner of Miami-based boutique litigation firm Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine. “It’s good to hear how ‘real people’ react.”

After both sides argue their case, the mock jury deliberations are recorded for analysis and a verdict is rendered. Satin and Sommer then compile a report that can run hundreds of pages, stuffed with recommendations, quantitative analysis that uses a juror’s responses to specific questions to correlate a verdict. Advice to clients could include formulating precise questions for voir dire, pointing out what juries perceived as weaknesses in a case, and highlighting the most effective visual aids.

But their job isn’t only about jury selection. Satin and Sommer say some of their biggest “wins” come before jury selection even begins. If an insurance company has $500 million in exposure, and the focus groups and mock juries are returning consistent findings against their client, they will advise the client to work on a settlement instead of recommending a trial. If the company settles for $50 million instead of losing big in the courtroom, Satin and Sommer see that as a victory.

“One of the most reliable things we give is a reality check,” Sommer said.

Read the full article in the Daily Business Review. 

 

The Best Lawyers in America Recognizes Nine Kluger Kaplan Attorneys

BestLawyersLogo1The Best Lawyers in America© once again recognizes Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine for its legal expertise and excellence in its 2019 edition.

“We are thrilled that our team members have been recognized again for this great honor,” said Founding Member Alan Kluger. “It’s a testament to our dedication to the legal profession and affirms the stellar reputation our attorneys have earned through delivering outstanding client service while practicing with integrity and professionalism.”

The following attorneys were featured in this year’s list:

Untitled design (28)

Deborah S. Chames

* Family Law

 

Abbey L. Kaplan

* Commercial Litigation

* Entertainment Law- Motion Pictures and Television

* Litigation – Mergers and Acquisitions

* Litigation – Real Estate

 

Bruce A. Katzen

* Commercial Litigation

* Securities / Capital Markets Law

 

Alan J. Kluger

* Commercial Litigation

* Family Law

* Litigation – Banking and Finance

* Litigation – Real Estate

 

Todd A. Levine

* Litigation – Real Estate

 

Philippe Lieberman

* Commercial Litigation

 

Jason R. Marks

* Family Law

 

Steve I. Silverman 5 years

* Commercial Litigation

 

Minneapolis, MN

Daniel N. Rosen

* Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law

Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Almost 87,000 industry leading lawyers are eligible to vote (from around the world), and the publication has received almost 10 million evaluations on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2019 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 7.8 million votes were analyzed.

Daily Business Review: Elder-Abuse Plaintiffs Attorneys Weigh In After Nursing Home Deaths

Daily Business Review
By: Celia Ampel
Daily Business Review
September 15, 2017

Elder-law attorneys were quick to weigh in Thursday on the legal implications of eight deaths at a Hollywood nursing home following a loss of air conditioning during Hurricane Irma.

Any need for regulatory reform will be determined by the facts as they emerge, said Fort Lauderdale attorney Jonathan Gdanski of Schlesinger Law Offices. Key questions, he said, would include the following: What steps, if any, were taken to transport nursing home residents? Was the facility monitoring the deterioration of patients over time? And what plans were in place to help those who needed assistance the most?

“​Some of the most basic facts still need to be determined, yet what is already known seems to present a clear picture of absolute, complete, reprehensible conduct, which resulted in death,” said Gdanski, a plaintiffs lawyer focused on catastrophic personal injury and medical malpractice.

Meanwhile, he said, “the large majority” of caregivers across the state appear to have been adequately cautious in the face of the storm.

More than 150 residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills were evacuated to hospitals Wednesday. Three people were already dead when first responders arrived, and five more died that afternoon. Gov. Rick Scott called the deaths “unfathomable,” and state and local authorities have started a criminal investigation.

The nursing home’s administrator, Jorge Carballo, said in a statement that the facility was “cooperating fully with relevant authorities to investigate the circumstances that led to this unfortunate and tragic outcome.”

Broward County reported the nursing home told officials Tuesday the air conditioning was out but did not request help, according to the Associated Press. The facility complied with a state law requiring an evacuation plan and hurricane drills.

“I have been litigating nursing abuse cases throughout Florida for years and this is the worst case I have seen,” said Fort Lauderdale attorney Marcus Susen of Koch Parafinczuk Wolf Susen.

The Hollywood nursing home seems to be an outlier rather than an example of a systemic problem, said Miami attorney Bruce Katzen of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine.

“I believe our existing regulatory scheme is sufficient to administer nursing home and rehabilitation facilities,” said Katzen, whose practice includes elder abuse cases. “However, the existing regulatory system needs to be enforced. This facility apparently had a long list of violations.”

To read the full article, click here.

Best Lawyers 2018 Recognition

On the heels of the recent Chambers USA recognition, Kluger Kaplan and many of its attorneys have been once again recognized among the best in their field by the international publication, Best Lawyers®. The attorneys were selected by votes from a peer group, based on an exhaustive evaluation. 83,000 industry leading attorneys are eligible to vote (from around the world) every year.

Best Lawyers 2018

The specific attorneys recognized by Best Lawyers are:

    • Deborah S. Chames
      • Family Law
    • Abbey L. Kaplan
      • Commercial Litigation
      • Entertainment Law – Motion Pictures and Television
      • Litigation – Mergers and Acquisitions
      • Litigation – Real Estate
    • Bruce A. Katzen  
      • Securities / Capital Markets Law
    • Alan J. Kluger  
      • Commercial Litigation
      • Litigation – Banking and Finance
      • Litigation – Real Estate
    • Todd A. Levine
      • Litigation – Real Estate
    • Philippe Lieberman
      • Commercial Litigation
    • Jason Marks
      • Family Law
    • Steve I. Silverman
      • Commercial Litigation

 Minneapolis, MN

  • Daniel N. Rosen
    • Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law

 

Based entirely on peer review, the methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

Founding Member Alan Kluger said, “this recognition is yet another proud moment for the firm. The number of attorneys recognized again and again demonstrates the depth and expertise of our team, and the dedication to our clients.”

Law360: Plaintiffs Bar Perspective: Kluger Kaplan’s Bruce Katzen

Bruce Katzen - kluger Kaplan

Bruce A. Katzen is chairman of the trust and estate’s litigation practice group at Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine PL in Miami. He focuses his practice on litigation of probate, trust and guardianship disputes as well as commercial litigation, including corporate matters, securities, accountants’ liability and stockbroker liability and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitrations. He has become particularly recognized for his work in the areas of financial fraud, franchise disputes, probate, trust and guardianship disputes, company purchase and sale disputes, and life insurance coverage disputes.

Katzen’s early training as a certified public accountant piqued his interest in the complex financial fraud and probate cases that he handles for his clients. Given the technical financial issues in most of his cases, his background enables him to more thoroughly understand the issues, more precisely examine witnesses and experts, and more zealously advance his client’s position.

Q: What’s the most rewarding aspect of working as a plaintiffs attorney?

A: The most rewarding aspect of working as a plaintiffs attorney is assisting individuals who have been injured or harmed in some fashion. In my practice, I frequently have clients come to me facing emotional and financial hardship and are in need as a result of them being wronged. It is rewarding to work with them to right this wrong and recover damages on their behalf.

Click to read more on Law360.com.