The Psychology of Judgement
Your facts are not enough. Your experts are not enough. Your witnesses are not enough. The law is not enough. You need a story, a narrative, and the ability to communicate that story in a simple and effective way that gives it meaning and helps your audience know exactly what they need to do with your case. Because the difference between information and meaning is the difference between losing and winning.
Cases are not decided by evidence and the law in the sterile laboratory of the courtroom. Cases are chaotic and complex human stories that are decided by humans, with all of their beliefs, biases, blindness, and messy nobility. Your job is to know the evidence and the law. Our job is to know the humans. To understand and tell authentic stories that ring true rather than a recitation of facts and law that meet required definitions. To connect you to the human stories of your witnesses and even the opposing side. To find the soul of the case that ultimately resonates with your clients, your adversaries, your judge and your jury and helps them decide in your favor.
We Challenge You
As consultants, we serve four main roles:
- Initially, we are your opponent. Until you know all the ways you can lose, you do not really know how you can win.
- We are your investigators. We are constantly looking to find the missing pieces of the case in order to solve the mystery of the dispute.
- We are your jury. Until you know your audience, you do not know how to truly adapt your case to how they will see and hear it and not just what you think is important.
- We are your advocate. We work tirelessly to help you design a case with maximum impact that anticipates what your opponent will do and what your jury will see and hear.
In working with us, we ask the hard questions to challenge you to find a better case: clearer, more concise, and with more humanity. Even in complex commercial, securities, intellectual property, and antitrust cases, jurors seek to understand the issues through human behavior and choices. Because humans decide cases, not facts or law.
We base our consulting on these fundamental persuasion principles:
- Helping you find the case story with the greatest meaning
- Helping you present your case in a clearer and simpler way
- Helping you present your case with greater impact
- Helping you strategically position your case for a better result
Richard Gabriel, President
Richard Gabriel is the President of Decision Analysis. Since 1985, Richard has been a leader in the field of jury research, jury selection, and litigation communication in more than a thousand trials in both the civil and criminal arenas across the country. Richard has assisted counsel in thousands of cases across the country, including the O.J. Simpson, Casey Anthony, Aaron Hernandez, Phillip Spector, Whitewater, and Enron Broadband trials, among others. Three cases he has participated in have resulted in United States Supreme Court rulings.
Richard is the author of Acquittal: An Insider Reveals the Stories and Strategies Inside Today’s Most Infamous Verdicts which was optioned by Warner Brothers and developed by Jerry Bruckheimer productions into a one-hour network drama. He is also the co-author of Jury Selection: Strategy and Science, printed by Thompson-Reuters Publications and now in its Third Edition, as well as a contributor to Bennett’s Guide to Jury Selection and Trial Dynamics.
Richard is a former President of the American Society of Trial Consultants and has been on numerous committees to study litigation and trial issues with American Bar Association, American Board of Trial Advocates, National Center for State Courts, The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, and Civil Jury Project at NYU Law School. He is the inventor of the Jury Mediation system and appears regularly on CNN and other network and cable shows as a commentator on high profile trials.
Jonathan Ross, Senior Trial Consultant
Jonathan Ross earned his degree in Psychology from Pomona College in Claremont, CA, where he focused on Social Psychology and Research Methods and Design. Jonathan has worked on numerous trials across the country, including the trials of Phillip Spector, Casey Anthony, Kwame Kilpatrick, and Azamat Tazhayakov, and has also worked on many multi-million dollar civil matters.
Jonathan has been with Decision Analysis for over ten years, and has considerable experience working in personal injury, intellectual property, bad faith, employment, and product liability litigation. Mr. Ross specializes in focus group and mock trial research, jury questionnaire design, opening and closing statement construction, jury selection, and social media and internet-based research.
John G. McCabe, Ph.D., Senior Trial Consultant
John G. McCabe, Ph.D., is a Los Angeles-based cognitive psychologist and senior trial consultant. For over 12 years, John has designed and performed a wide variety of studies related to jury behavior. Results from these studies and his extensive experience have informed trial strategy in a wide variety of cases. He assists in preparing witnesses to testify, composing voir dire questions, jury selection, writing draft opening statements and closing arguments, developing trial graphics, as well as performing in-court observation and post-trial interviews with actual jurors. He earned his Ph.D. from Claremont, where his research focused exclusively on juror and jury decision-making and bias. In a prior life, John enjoyed a 15-year career in the motion picture industry, where he first developed his understanding of storytelling.
John’s writings have been published in prestigious psychology and law journals and he has spoken at numerous national psychology and law conferences, law schools, colleges, bar association meetings, and Inns of Court. He has also published articles in For The Defense, Verdict Magazine, Trial Practice Journal, Women Lawyers Journal, Of Counsel, The Daily Journal, and TortSource, and his commentary has been published in the Los Angeles Times and Law360. John has also appeared on television programs such as CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, HLN’s In Session, and TruTV discussing jury decision making.
He also presents CLEs, training programs, and seminars.
Michelle Ward, Ph.D., Senior Trial Consultant
Michelle Ward received her Ph.D. in Clinical Neuroscience (Psychology) from the University of Southern California. Since 2005, Dr. Ward has specialized in criminal matters, complex intellectual property, product liability, antitrust, environmental, and commercial litigation. She has worked with clients such as Michael Bloomberg, DuPont, Philip Morris, and Motorola, and assisted in high profile criminal trials, such as Phillip Spector and Casey Anthony.
Dr. Ward has an extensive background in multivariate statistical analysis, which she uses to merge qualitative and quantitative jury research. She has presented papers at various national conferences and has published several articles using structural equation modeling to identify and quantify influences on complex human behavior.
As a specialist in criminal behavior and jury research, Dr. Ward has appeared as a commentator or host for Dr. Oz, Katie Couric Show, Dr. Drew show, Extra!, Crime Watch Daily, TruTV, HLN, and CNN. She has also produced and hosted over 70 episodes of original content for the Investigation Discovery Network.
Gabriela Cedré, M.S., Project Manager & Associate Consultant
Gabriela Cedré has a B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Chico where she graduated with honors for her senior research project. Upon entry to her Master’s program at California State University, Los Angeles, Gabriela was awarded the NIH funded Research Initiative for the Scientific Enhancement Graduate Fellowship. At Cal State LA she graduated with her M.S. in Forensic Psychology where her studies emphasized eyewitness memory and jury decision-making research. Her master’s thesis focused on how jurors’ biases against a defendant influenced their memory processes and even caused some jurors to develop false memories for evidence that was never presented.
Gabriela has been with Decision Analysis for two years, and is primarily responsible for coordinating and conducting focus group and mock trial research projects. She has worked on many civil and criminal cases, including medical malpractice, employment, personal injury and wrongful death, antitrust, and white collar crime matters. Additionally, she has experience with conducting post-trial interviews with jurors, creating jury questionnaires, designing trial graphics and opening statement PowerPoints, and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data from research projects.