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What Is a Shadow Jury?

An illustrated image of a jury in El Paso.

How a Shadow Jury May Help You Win Your Case

During a jury trial, it may be challenging to get a good read on the jurors. You may be unsure whether a witness’s testimony seemed credible or if a piece of evidence was effective. A shadow jury can help you determine if your case is moving in the right direction by giving you real-time feedback from a group of independent, unbiased individuals.

At Jonathan Leach, LLC, we provide litigation consulting services to clients throughout El Paso and the surrounding areas. We can help you prepare before, during, and after your trial with effective measures such as a shadow jury. Find out more about our trial consulting services by contacting us online or calling (972) 890-8482

What Is the Definition of a Shadow Jury?

A shadow jury is a group of individuals who are paid to attend a trial and provide feedback about the case. Also called a mirror jury, the group is usually asked daily about their opinions on nearly every aspect of the case, including evidence that has been presented, witness testimony, and reaction to attorneys. 

How Can a Shadow Jury Help You Win Your Case?

Shadow juries are expected to be candid with their responses, which helps attorneys determine the strengths and weaknesses of a client’s case. 

A shadow jury can help an attorney:

  • Make adjustments to their strategy
  • Address weaknesses in the case
  • Revisit unclear portions of a witness’s testimony
  • Know what jurors may be thinking
  • Determine whether they should add or remove individuals from the witness list

With real-time feedback, an attorney can make critical decisions about what is working and what is not in the trial. Without the help of a shadow jury, an attorney may be left guessing what jurors are thinking.

Who Sits on a Shadow Jury?

The best shadow juries are those that most closely resemble the real jury. Therefore, it is important to select individuals who may even be in the same jury pool as those actually selected for the jury. The individuals should be independent observers willing to watch the trial each day from the gallery of the courtroom. 

Who Moderates Shadow Jury Discussions?

Generally, a trial consultant will debrief the shadow jury about the trial each day. They will meet and discuss each element that was presented during the trial. 

Everything from the attorney’s mannerisms to a piece of critical evidence is reviewed by the shadow jury. The information is then provided to the attorney to determine whether there should be any modifications in their case strategy.

Are Focus Groups and Shadow Juries the Same Thing?

A shadow jury is effectively a type of focus group. Focus groups, however, can be more narrowly tailored to a specific issue. A focus group may be asked to weigh in on a particular witness or a piece of evidence while a shadow jury observes and reports back on the entire case. Both tools are effective in helping attorneys figure out how jurors might decide a case.

Are Shadow Juries Frequently Used?

The use of shadow juries is increasing among attorneys across the country and abroad. With a rise in the cost of litigation, more attorneys are looking for advantages they can use to ensure a positive outcome in their client’s case.

Preparing for a Trial? Contact Our Office Today.

Are you preparing for a big case? Let us help you by providing full-service litigation consulting. We can help you from start to finish by putting together mock trials, preparing witnesses, or setting up a shadow jury. Contact our office online or call (972) 890-8482. We proudly serve clients throughout El Paso, TX, and the surrounding areas.

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