Mini-Trial to Mock Jury

Similar in goal and purpose to the Mini Trial to Party Representatives but is a more expensive option. Instead of presenting the case to party representatives the counsel present the case to a mock jury over the course of several hours. It is important that decision makers attend and observe the mini-trial.

The parties, with the assistance of a neutral, establish the ground rules for the proceeding with the neutral typically serving as the “presiding judge.” After the trial sequence is conducted, the parties then move into a mediation session with the “presiding judge” performing the role of the mediator.

The parties may opt for the verdict to be disclosed only to the mediator and disclosed by the mediator should the parties reach an impasse during the course of the subsequent mediation. In the alternative, the parties can agree that the jury’s verdict will be immediately disclosed, however immediate disclosure may lead to the same dynamics as a case evaluation prior to a mediation and cause one of the parties to become entrenched in a position.

Indications for consideration:

  • The parties and decision makers could benefit from a formal presentation that demonstrates and underscores the risks should the dispute not resolve

  • The parties are interested in or could benefit from an evaluation of the quality and preparation of opposing counsel
  • One or more of the parties fails to fully appreciate the risks involved in the litigation
  • One or more of the parties could benefit from having their “day in court” and the simulation of a trial experience
  • One or more of the parties appear determined to “try” the case as a result of unrealistic expectations
  • One or more of the attorneys appears to need assistance in client control
  • One or more of the parties desire to “test run” their theories of the case before a jury
  • The potential exposure justifies the costs of the process that will include payment to the jurors and possibly a service that will select the jury to approximate the juror profile in the jurisdiction

Timing

Typically used when other forms of ADR have been unsuccessful. Often a late stage ADR process conducted after most or all discovery and motion practice has been completed