Jury Research Project Not a Scam, But Practice for Attorneys

Published 06/25 2014 10:31PM

Updated 06/25 2014 11:15PM

By Monica Yantosh

LUBBOCK, TX -- A woman brought a letter asking her to take part in a jury research project to KLBK asking if it was a scam.

The letter just said they got the woman's name from the Lubbock County Voters Registration list, and that they wanted to know if she would participate in a presentation on both sides of a lawsuit.

"Figuring out what a jury is going to do is very, very difficult," Davis Smith, a Lubbock attorney said.

Smith said these kinds of focus groups are common and are beneficial for attorneys if they are looking to possibly go to trial.
"I've had to do some focus groups because sometimes your client has unrealistic expectations, and sometimes I may not have a clear view of what a case is worth, and putting this type of panel together can really help and help you with your client," Smith said.

When we called the number in the letter, they told us they can't get into specifics of the case, but that it is a case in another part of the state and that it is with a legitimate law firm, but couldn't say who it was.

"This letter that you brought to me is lacking a little information, and I can see why somebody might think this is some type of scam, I think they needed to include a little more information what it's about," Smith said.

Smith said it's good to ask where the focus group will be held. He said on the day of, it's good to make sure it's in an open, public space and that plenty of other people are showing up as well.

"We see these letters, usually a few times a year," Greg Linder with the Better Business Bureau said.

Linder said while these focus group do exist, it's still good to ask them questions when you call to sign up, as well as take note of what kind of information they ask for from you.

"They are probably going to be asking some kind of demographic questions, they're going to want to know your gender, your age, your ethnicity, all kinds of things like that, because they're trying to build a jury that they think is going to match what they're going to be seeing in the courtroom," Linder said.

The letter said they will pay participants, and Davis said that's normal.  Both Davis and Linder said to ask how and when you will be paid if you participate to make sure you get compensated for your time.

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