5 Online Mock Jury Sites
As attorneys prepare for trial, they may want to get feedback on their case from people who are similar to those who will eventually sit on the jury who decides the case. They could create an in-person mock jury in the community where their case will be tried, but that process is very expensive. Companies offering mock juror services online allow lawyers to try out their arguments for much less.
Online jurors may listen to audio, view video presentations, read case materials, and answer questions about the case. At the end of their jury participation, they are asked to decide whether they would find for the plaintiff or defendant and to give feedback on the reasons behind their decision. That way the attorney or firm who hired them will have some idea of how effective their case was and whether they stand a good chance of winning or losing at trial. Attorneys may use the results of a mock jury trial to argue their opposing counsel should settle the case.
Getting Online Jury Assignments
To sign up with online jury companies, applicants must fill out an extensive questionnaire about themselves. Among other information, they will probably have to provide their name, age, address, email address, phone number, driver's license number, racial or ethnic background, political affiliation, household income, marital status, occupation, spouse's occupation, and education level. When a lawyer needs an online juror who matches their demographics, they will be contacted.
Jurors are usually selected according to the county they live in. Residents of a county with a large, dense population are likely to get selected more often than those who live in a county with a small, sparse population.
Qualifications and restrictions for online jurors change little from county to county. In general, they might include that a person:
- Must be age 18
- Must be a U. S. citizen
- Can not have a physical or mental impairment that would prevent them from serving
- Can not be under indictment for or have been convicted of a felony charge
- Have basic reading, writing, and, if applicable, arithmetic skills
- Can not be a lawyer, paralegal, or legal assistant
- Can not be related by blood or marriage to the plaintiff, the defendant, or any of the attorneys
Companies typically pay $10 to $60 a case, so someone can't make a living from being an online juror. It's something a person might do if they want to pick up a little bit of money when they're retired or have some free time and if they think they would find it to be interesting.
Some online juror companies also recruit for in-person mock juries. These assignments pay more, up to $150, but require more of a mock juror's time, including for travel.
Prospective model jurors should never have to pay to sign up for a jury pool, nor should they be asked for any financial information, like bank account or credit card numbers, that would enable someone to take money from them. Companies that try to do either of those things are most likely operating a scam.
Mock Jury Companies
If they want to increase their chances of being chosen, potential jurors should sign up with more than one company that provides mock jury services. The following companies have a track record in this line of business.
EJury was founded in 1999 by Christopher L. Bagby, an attorney who was then based in Arlington, Texas. EJury often uses large panels of mock jurors to act as a focus group. The company pays $5-$10 per case. Its website provides an actual sample case that an eJury panel was once asked to deliberate on.
A division of the Wilmington Institute Network, a trial and settlement psychology firm, Jury Talk finds online mock jurors as well as participants for in-person legal focus groups in Dallas.
This mock jury placement company is also affiliated with the Wilmington Institute Network. Virtual Jury's chief research scientist is Dr. Robert Gordon, a forensic psychologist and attorney who is the director of the Wilmington Institute of Trial and Settlement Sciences.
JuryTest Networks is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was founded by Adam Rosen, J.D., Ph.D., a jury consultant who is also an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Using RealPlayer, mock jurors will watch and develop impressions of legal arguments lasting 5-30 minutes. They will then provide feedback on what the lawyer or lawyers presented. The company's website provides a sample feedback summary of a past case.
This company was founded in 2004. Online Verdict puts at least 25 and as many as 50 mock jurors on each panel. Jurors are paid $20-$60, depending on the amount of time they are likely to have to spend on a case.