When I get a call from a client, I usually
have six to eight weeks to complete a
study and prepare a final report. Every
study starts with recruiting mock
jurors, creating questionnaires and
working with the attorneys to condense
hundreds of documents into abbreviated
case summaries. I conduct studies
throughout the United States, so I have
to coordinate the logistics from my
office in Indianapolis, and then travel
to the location to conduct the study.
Typically, a final report that summarizes
the data and includes trial strategy
recommendations is completed within
two weeks after the study.
What do you enjoy most?
I really enjoy seeing mock jurors around
the country. Nobody gets to see jurors
deliberate, and we get to see real people
grappling with tough issues and making
decisions about real cases. Jurors tend to
get a bad rap. You see news stories about
juror misconduct, but I believe those
jurors are in a distinct minority. The
mock jurors I’ve seen across the country
take the task seriously, work hard and
care about getting it right.
I am also a data geek, and I love
analyzing data. Every case is different
and the questionnaires are customized
to each case. The analysis always tells a
different story. I also enjoy helping the
attorneys provide information to jurors
in a way that is clear and organized
because this allows the jurors to make
the best decisions.
Is there anything else readers
If your work applies to some field other
than psychology, I think it’s important
to immerse yourself in that other field.
It helps you better understand different
viewpoints. Due to my interdisciplinary
training, I came to my job with a fuller
appreciation of the rules attorneys have
to follow and how much work they do
before a case goes to trial. My training
also helped me talk to attorneys the way
they talk to one another. This gets back
to the APA theme of giving psychology
away. If we can talk to people in their
own language, they will be more open to
what we have to offer.
— Heather Stringer