As crisp fall weather comes in (finally) for some of us and snow is falling (and piling up) for others, we are happy to bring you our last issue for 2015. This is an eclectic issue with multiple articles we think you will find of interest!

We start with some original research from a new trial consultant (Alexis Knutson) who has developed a brief questionnaire to identify those who say they would disobey judicial instructions to not do research on the internet while they are serving as jurors. This is a new measure, called the Juror Internet Research Scale, and it is published for the first time anywhere, here in The Jury Expert. A trial consultant and a trial lawyer react to this new measure and the author replies to their reactions.

Then Diane Wiley summarizes a few years of discussion about how we might use “juror pledges” to keep jurors from doing that internet research during trial. Her article includes language from several pledges actually in use in some courtrooms. The idea is that a personalized pledge will let jurors know that it is important to stop using their phones habitually and automatically when they don’t understand something in hopes of finding clarification on the internet.

Speaking of courtrooms—did you know that schadenfreude is actually present in the courtroom a lot (on both sides of the aisle and even on the bench)? We have an article on schadenfreude in the courtroom from a group of researchers (Adele Mantiply, Michelle Jones and Stanley Brodsky) specializing in witness research and then an article from two practicing trial consultants (Alexis Forbes and Will Rountree) on preparing the non-English speaking or English-as-a-second-language witness. If you are preparing either of these sorts of witnesses, you’ll want to take a look at this article for tips and pointers—as well as information on the issues you (and your witness) will face.

Then we go back to more research—this time from two academics (Mykol Hamilton and Kate Zephyrhawke) on how you can help jurors acknowledge their biases without shame in voir dire. We have reactions to this one from two practicing trial consultants and then a spirited reply from the authors. Another research article published in this issue is from two researchers out of Arkansas (Christopher Peters and James Lampinen) focuses on using a novel task (i.e., a card sort) to see what jurors want to hear first about your case. A practicing trial consultant reacts to the work seeing it as a potentially useful addition to pretrial research.

Then we move on to another strategies article—this one on lessons learned by two trial consultants (Doug Keene and Rita Handrich) from patent/IP pretrial mock jurors—from one end of the country to another including those uncommonly wise mock jurors in East and West Texas. And finally, we have more road warrior tips from traveling (and then traveling some more) trial consultants.

This entire issue is good to get your perhaps overly-carbohydrated brain back in training after eating too much and lying around napping. And if you’ve been trying to figure out something else to keep your brain stimulated over the next while, have we got a recommendation for you! Well, actually, we have two. As some of you know, it’s ABA Blawg 100 season and we want to put in a plug for two ASTC member blogs that have been recognized consistently for the past five and six years by that journal.

Ken Broda-Bahm blogs at The Persuasive Litigator and here is how the ABA Journal describes Ken’s blog: “Posts offer research-based persuasion strategies that lawyers can use in both the pretrial and trial phases of litigation in jury, bench or arbitration settings.” What must be added is that few people have Ken Broda-Bahm’s gifts of expression and his is a must-read blog if you are someone who enjoys thinking about how to improve your litigation advocacy.

Doug Keene and Rita Handrich blog at The Jury Room and here is how the ABA journal described their blog upon “induction” into the 2015 ABA Blawg 100 Hall of Fame: “Trial consultants Douglas Keene and Rita Handrich find the research to alternately back up what you think you already know about human psychology (Is rudeness contagious? Yes.) and alert you to the unexpected (Are “beer goggles” real? No.) Posts are both fascinating reads and lessons on how not to base your cases on stereotypical assumptions.”

Between reading this issue of TJE and then seeing if you would like to become a regular reader of either of these ABA-recognized blogs by ASTC member trial consultants, your brain will reward you by springing back to life after being in a carbohydrate-induced slumber. Enjoy it!

Rita R. Handrich, Ph.D.

Editor, The Jury Expert