In All Things Jury: Jury research as standard practice? R. Robert Samples discusses due diligence and preparation as the the most important responsibility that counsel owes to his or her client. Samples writes:
Law firms don’t hesitate to bring in an expert witness if they believe their testimony is crucial to winning the case. The hiring of expert witnesses is routine and accepted, and it is understood that the cost will be passed along to the client. If counsel is asked if failure to contract with a qualified expert witness could result in legal malpractice, the answer would be a resounding “Absolutely!” However, law firms and their clients may not be as accepting of the need for jury or trial research (nor the cost associated with conducting the research)…
Obviously, the services of jury/trial consultants are not essential in all cases. But as the complexity of the case, and exposure to damages increases, the need for trial research becomes more pronounced. In these cases, the types of trial research services that jury consultants provide becomes part of the counsel’s due diligence to ensure adequate representation of his/her client.
Samples is president of RMS Strategies (www.rmsstrategies.com), a communications and opinion research agency headquartered in Charleston.