Trial consulting is the use of social scientists, particularly psychologists and communication experts and economists, to aid attorneys in the presentation of a criminal trial or civil lawsuit. Modern trial consultants help prepare witnesses, improve arguments and rhetoric, and select juries.
Although traditionally sophisticated jury selection methods were a mainstay of trial consultants, they now "place far less emphasis on jury selection than they did in the past", and many in the field now prefer the term "trial consulting" to "jury consulting". Since many cases are now settled out of court or decided by arbitration, some trial consulting firms have diversified to include mock mediation and arbitration sessions. This is also the reason that many jury/trial consultants are now referring to themselves as "litigation consultants".
The traditional mainstays of trial consulting remain important. They include witness preparation, shadow juries, mock trials, focus groups, community attitude surveys, and expert assistance with trial presentation.
- Matthew Hutson, Unnatural Selection Mar/Apr 2007, Psychology Today.
- Kressel, Neil J. and Dorit F. Kressel (2004). Stack and Sway: The New Science of Jury Consulting. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, pp. 86-87.
- Franklin Strier & Donna Shestowsky (1999). "Profiling the profilers: a study of the trial consulting profession, its impact on trial justice, and what, if anything, to do about it." Wisconsin Law Review. Pg. 441. Cited at pp 450-51.
- Shapiro, Ari. Jury Consultants and Arbitration of Civil Lawsuits. National Public Radio. (June 9, 2005). Retrieved 14 July 2006.
- Posey, A. J., and Wrightsman, L. S. (2005). Trial Consulting. Oxford University Press.
- Franklin Strier (1999). "Whither Trial Consulting? Issues and Projections." Law and Human Behavior. 23 (1): 93
- R Craig Smith (2006). Prolumina Trial Consulting: "Championship Law: Seven Keys to Winning Performance in the Courtroom." Trafford Publishing.