Arbitration/Judicial Research is designed to map the various decision paths a Judge or neutral might take in critical pre-trial rulings and as a fact finder in a case. While this research is not intended to be predictive of the actual decisions of the sitting Judge in the case, it gives valuable insight into how the Judge might assemble the evidence, law, and arguments in a case to arrive at a specific determination.
Care is taken to match the background, personality and decision making style of the Judge assigned to the case. We typically recruit three judges for a panel to get a variety of perspectives on the presented issues. Caution is used to protect the neutrality of the project so that the judges do not know who has hired them for the research. They are then given an initial set of case documents and rulings to review. After reviewing, they are given a designed questionnaire probing into their initial impressions and questions on specific legal and substantive issues in the case.
Depending on the format of the litigation and the nature of the feedback desired, each side then presents their case to the Judges. This can be done in three basic forms: 1) a formal presentation where each side presents their entire case to the panel; 2) a mock trial format where opening statements are given, witnesses are presented and closing arguments are delivered; or 3) both sides give short presentations on a specific set of proscribed issues, stopping to get feedback from the judges on each topic.
At various times in the research, the judges fill out questionnaires and give verbal feedback to gauge their reactions and questions to the presented issues. At the end of the presentations, judges are interviewed individually and then as a group to probe into their thinking and decision process.
Finally, the judges are given a questionnaire and set of exhibits and legal arguments to review. They are then contacted individually and interviewed several days to a week after the project to obtain their final verdict and to outline the specific evidence and arguments that influenced their decision. At this point, the judges are then asked to provide recommendations on how each of the sides could better present their case.
At the end of project, we analyze and provide a report on the results.
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