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    Q & A: Fieldwork Dallas President Jessica Josset on Legal Focus Groups and Mock Juries

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    At Fieldwork, our world-class facilities are run by local presidents who are proactive in the day-to-day operations and play a major role in fostering company-wide success. Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with Jessica Josset, President of Fieldwork Dallas, about Fieldwork's role in creating mock legal trials and jury simulations for clients. 

    Image of Fieldwork Dallas President Jessica Josset
    Q: What does it take as a facility to successfully handle mock juries?

    A: Simulating a jury is a complicated undertaking. To begin, you need expert recruiting to source a diverse pool of highly qualified respondents that meet the project qualifications. After the careful selection and screening of respondents, it is our job to make sure they show up on time and are prepared. As our recruiting team handles those details, the project manager interacts with our facilities team and ensures the setup is exactly what the client needs.

    Q: What expertise is needed to properly recruit for legal focus groups, mock juries, or mock trials?

    A: Getting the right research respondents requires a keen understanding of trial specifications. While our team has a lot of experience recruiting in key markets, we also have a national recruiting center to help us when we need to reach rural, isolated or otherwise difficult specific geographies needed to simulate trial venues. Demographics including gender, ethnicity, income and education levels, county of residence and even attitudes can be part of a screener, and our resourceful team employs multiple methodologies to deliver engaged participants who can faithfully represent the jury mix needed.

    We also make recommendations on adding screener questions to help yield a more successful day. For example, the client might not think to add questions about the respondents’ comfort level while sitting for long periods of time. They may not require proof of residency to confirm that they reside in the specific county we are recruiting for, which we feel is a critical element to quality control. In these small but significant ways, we’re always adding value to clients’ projects and help them achieve better insights on their particular case.

    Q: What unique situations have you experienced in recruiting for mock juries?

    A: We have recruited for some federal case testing which required national recruiting and management of travel stipends. We’ve had a lot of experience weeding out respondents for possible conflicts of interest that are not immediately apparent. For example, respondents who have friends or family who are connected to the legal industry or to the current case. We have also worked on some very tight timelines and have come through for clients in this way. These situations have made us incredibly efficient in not only finding the right recruits, but also ensuring they clearly understand the commitment needed for the incentive offered.

    Q: How does your Dallas Fieldwork facility specifically meet those needs for mock juries?

    A: Our facilities across the nation are in Class A buildings and we have taken special care to design them in a way which allows both intimate and large group settings. We can adapt our rooms for special setups such as taste testing, store displays, and product testing. Mock juries in a theatre setup is just another one of the unique simulations my team understands and carefully executes. Besides our larger rooms, podiums and needed room props, we can quickly accommodate breakout session needs as they emerge. We handle all AV needs, HD recording, and any transcription needed. Having successfully handled thousands of jury research programs our team is well-situated to anticipate the needs of our jury research clients.

    Q: What feedback do you get about your flexible room configurations?

    A: Clients like the connectedness and privacy of being able to watch the mock jury through a one-way mirror instead of a TV. Some clients specifically need this setup as they are looking for an incredibly interactive way of proceeding. They may shift directions on their line of questioning depending on outcomes. They tell us the ability to give the moderator real-time instructions or even get a private room for a team regroup maximizes the findings. Our clients have said that this saves them time and money as they can try different approaches in one day and not have to recall respondents if they need to shift directions. Our team can accommodate these needs from our large variety of meeting rooms. 

    Q: What unarticulated needs might a client have regarding their jury research project?

    A: We simply know what the day looks like for mock juries. Proactively providing a proposal with breakfast, mid-day snacks, boxed lunches is a must. But we also think about the right amount of space they need including privacy areas that people can use during breaks to make phone calls, check-ins with the office, or just rest a bit. We also handle enforcing scheduling needs like making sure participants understand they cannot take breaks outside of the schedule. Just like in a courtroom, juries don’t leave at will. They don’t check their phones or scan their email. They are a captive audience. It’s important we maintain the details of the courtroom environment for our clients to get quality insights.

    In addition, clients are looking for honest respondent opinions and don't want to run the risk of having skewed outcomes. In order to mitigate this risk, our team employs security practices throughout the recruiting process to ensure complete project confidentiality. While we are aware internally that this is a mock jury project, we refer to the study with a general topic to the scheduled respondents such as “consumer issues." The sensitive nature of our clients’ investigations and research requires the utmost discretion. Our commitment to confidentiality and the protection of personally identifiable information for all parties is absolute.

    Q: What is the client focused on as they walk in the door?

    A: Clients are usually incredibly busy with last minute details about the case or issue they are researching. Even though a lot of planning has gone into their preparation there always seems to be an intense buzz between the moderator, attorneys, and other teams involved. They are focused on their case, plan, and desired outcomes. Our high-touch hospitality truly lets them stay focused on their research while we handle the details of getting the day going.

    Q: What is your team focused on when that day gets going?

    A: Our team proactively does a run-through of the day and we reiterate the schedule with all parties before the event. We want to quickly put our clients at ease and feel confident that we have the details in order. Some of our team focuses on the recruits arriving. They need to be verified and checked-in once again, then are provided with detailed instructions as a reminder so our client is not going over details they have already shared with us. It is in these moments the beauty of our organization is revealed and our team shines.

    Q:What’s in store for Dallas Fieldwork in terms of legal focus groups, mock jury, or mock trial work?

    A: As with all focus group work we do, we will simply continue to focus on building rapport with clients by exceeding their expectations. What I love about being locally owned and managed is that we have the backing and support of our national system, but we are making the right decisions in real time here with our clients’ best interest in mind. We want to be the first call when people need quality legal research and be known as the best mock jury partner in Dallas and surrounding areas.

    This blog is part of the Fieldwork President interview series. Click here to read what President of  Fieldwork Chicago-Schaumburg and the National Recruitment Center Kayrn Picchiotti had to say about Fieldwork's recruitment process and her thoughts on what determines successful recruiting. 

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