One of the regular features of Hackard Law's work for our clients is the focus group. Whenever we have a case that could make its way to a jury trial, we want to know what people are thinking about the issues surrounding that case. What Americans from all social groups and all walks of life think and say about certain topics matters, because these are the types of people who will be sitting on a jury in a courtroom.
The atmosphere at a focus group is relaxed - there's a nice, spacious room and comfortable seats, plus tasty food and drinks available for everyone - but it's also devoted to the cases at hand. Hackard Law attorneys each give short presentations to around twelve participants on the basic facts of a case in a straightforward and unbiased manner. What we're looking to find out most of all is how regular people instead of just lawyers think and feel about issues. After all, it's not going to be a bunch of law school grads sitting in the jury box when a case goes to trial, but normal postmen, small business owners, grocery store employees, etc. Therefore, once we're done with our case summary, we'll open up the floor to questions and ask some questions of our own. People are free to their opinion and speak their mind in a friendly atmosphere.
Focus groups are a great learning experience - participants may find out facts they hadn't known, but it's the attorneys who learn the most. Discussions are filmed so that we can go back and reflect about what participants were saying and what emotions they might have experienced in their conversations. This helps us understand how juries might see a case, and how we can best represent our client in court. When the night's over and the focus group is finished, both participants and Hackard Law attorneys have had not only a good bite to eat, but they've gained a new perspective on legal issues and how to better keep communities safe from negligence and danger.