Tag Archives: Juries

Fool’s gold

Originally posted 2008-11-16 14:31:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Internet changes everything right? Not this: A fool and his money — especially the kind paid to consultants — are still soon parted:

Pre-Internet, lawyers would do their best to flesh out the backgrounds of people who might sit in the jury box. “We used to drive by the juror’s house and take a picture just to get a snapshot of, who is this human being?” recalled Robert Hirschhorn, a Dallas-based attorney and jury consultant.

Yet picking the panel whose judgment could send a client to prison or direct the disposition of millions of dollars often came down to intuition. Today, for a growing number of attorneys who want to take the guesswork out of the process, a Web search is a required first stop.

In one recent patent case he consulted on, Hirschhorn says an Internet search revealed that a potential juror owned a business helping beauty pageant contestants find costumes. According to her Web site, she wouldn’t sell certain clothing lines because the designs were patent-protected — “a gold nugget,” he said. “It told us she understood the value of proprietary information.”

It told you that, did it, Robert? Some patent! What did you charge for that brilliant advice? Did this gold nugget tell you perhaps her confusion between patents and copyrights or something else that may or may not govern what clothing lines she could sell could hurt your client rather than help it? Did it tell you whether and how much she perhaps resented not being able to sell those “patent-protected” clothing lines “because of some legal technicality”? Did it tell you anything useful at all? It gets better:

More often, scouring a juror’s postings is an exercise in online psychoanalysis. Social networking sites and blogs can be particularly useful.

“Facebook tells you how people perceive themselves,” Hirschhorn said. “Blogs allow you to peer inside their minds. It’s like tapping a phone call: You’re finding out unfiltered what a person is thinking or feeling.”

Wow. Sounds like the usual amateur psychoanalysis, actually — wild speculation — but with one difference. Unlike other armchair psychologists, this guy actually charges more than a therapist. Read More…