The Litigation Psychology Podcast

The Litigation Psychology Podcast presented by Courtroom Sciences, Inc. (CSI) is for in-house and outside defense counsel about the intersection of science and litigation. We explore topics of interest to the defense bar, with a particular emphasis on subjects that don‘t get enough attention. Our hosts are Ph.D.-level Social Scientists, Clinical Scientists, and Psychology Experts with a wealth of knowledge about science, research, human behavior, and decision making, which they apply in the context of civil litigation.

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Monday Mar 28, 2022

Dr. Bill Kanasky, Jr. covers five common mistakes being made when conducting focus groups, the consequences of these mistakes, and what adjustments should be made: 1) too much information on slides (less is more); 2) too many mock jurors (recruit a more reasonable number of 12-15); 3) too long of a day (juror fatigue is real; keep the days a reasonable length); 4) long presentations (juror attention span is short, keep presentations short); 5) the approach to testing damages (just want to get a feel for a range; a mock trial with juror deliberations is the method to get specifics). Watch the video of this episode:

Monday Mar 21, 2022

Trial is a battle of perception and jurors pay very close attention to the behavior of the litigants, particularly the defendant. Behavioral consistency is highly correlated with honesty and truthfulness. In this episode of The Litigation Psychology Podcast, Dr. Bill Kanasky, Jr. describes the 4 golden traits of an effective defendant including, 1) Professionalism; 2) Confidence/comfort; 3) Maintaining emotional poise; and 4) Engaged and attentive in the process.  Why are these qualities so important? Jurors use their observations of defendant behaviors and reactions to judge your client. This process begins in jury selection and continues through opening statements, testimony of all witnesses, and closing arguments. So, defendants must maintain behavioral consistency on all fronts to give jurors a positive, consistent impression throughout the entire trial. Watch the video of this episode:

Monday Mar 14, 2022

In this episode Dr. Steve Wood and Dr. Bill Kanasky, Jr. discuss the importance of alternative causation, plus answer podcast viewer and listener questions. Steve and Bill talk about how jury research demonstrates that jurors don't care that the plaintiff has the burden of proof on causation and that human information processing requires them to identify cause. Because of this, defense attorneys must help jurors by providing alternative causation considerations in order for jurors to move to considering damages. Steve and Bill share their insights on planting seeds for your case in voir dire to ensure jurors will follow the judge's instructions and the value of using mock trials to test liability well before trial.  Questions asked and answered in this episode:- Can multiple witness be trained at one time and how does that work?- Does a juror's social media activity have an impact on verdicts?- How have damage awards changed since the onset of Covid?- Does social inflation cause nuclear verdicts? Watch the video of the episode here:

Monday Mar 07, 2022

One of the most emotional, challenging, and difficult cases are birth injury cases. Dr. Steve Wood and Dr. Bill Kanasky, Jr. discuss some of the common themes they have seen during focus groups and mock trials for birth injury cases. Specifically, they share insights from jurors on these topics:  - jurors' perceptions and lack of understanding of the employment status of physicians as independent contractors vs. being employees of the hospital; - jurors' awareness of the comparative time nurses spend with patients vs. doctors but who they hold ultimately responsible for care and why this can be a problem for the doctor; - jurors' opinions on the communications between all involved parties (nurses, doctors, hospital)- challenge of dealing with the potentially conflicting situation of sympathy of jurors toward the plaintiff, their positive perceptions of healthcare professionals, and how this impacts their process in awarding damages; - jurors' perceptions of adherence to hospital rules and policies; - effectiveness of day in the life videos;- and more. Watch the video of this episode here:

Monday Feb 28, 2022

Dr. Bill Kanasky, Jr. shares a case study from a recent trial to highlight the elements of successful trial testimony. Four keys of successful trial testimony are to: 1) Control the pace of the questioning, 2) Avoid pivoting, 3) Deliver short, concise answers, and4) Respond appropriately to emotional attacks by plaintiff's counsel.  Bill also discusses tips on managing cases where you have a co-defendant and the challenges and opportunities with finger-pointing. Bill has been working on a number of cases recently where there are co-defendants and talks about the research that is necessary to determine if your co-defendant should be adverse to you. He shares the importance of testing and running mock trials to determine how juries are assigning blame and the value of knowing this information early in order to use in mediation and in developing trial strategy. Watch the video version of this episode:

Monday Feb 21, 2022

Dr. Alyssa Parker, Litigation Consultant and an experienced Clinical Psychologist, joins Dr. Bill Kanasky, Jr. to talk about working with witnesses who are dealing with trauma associated with a catastrophic accident or fatality. Alyssa and Bill discuss mistakes that the defense side often make with these emotional and traumatized witnesses, including ignoring or downplaying the suppression or avoidance of the memories of the traumatic event. They also talk about the necessity for these traumatized witnesses to get treatment for their trauma but how the stigma of therapy and mental health issues often limits how many seek out treatment. Lastly, Alyssa and Bill provide insights on what defense attorneys can do as they work with these traumatized witnesses and how each witness needs to be assessed in advance of any discussion about the litigation or preparing for their deposition testimony. Watch the video of this episode:

Monday Feb 14, 2022

Baxter Drennon, Attorney with Hall Booth Smith in Little Rock, Arkansas joins the podcast to talk with Dr. Steve Wood about a range of topics around attorney credibility and improving as a trial lawyer. Baxter and Steve discuss the definition of a win, the necessity of gaining direct experience in trying cases, the philosophies about whether to go to trial or settle a case, and what types of training would be useful for defense attorneys to keep pace with the plaintiff's bar as they invest in their craft. Watch the video of this episode:

Monday Feb 07, 2022

Heather Bohnke, Partner with Gust Rosenfeld PLC in Arizona, joins the podcast to talk with Dr. Bill Kanasky, Jr. about the recently enacted ruling of the Arizona Supreme Court which has done away with peremptory strikes as January 1, 2022. Arizona has become the first state in the nation to eliminate peremptory challenges. Heather talks about the background behind why the Arizona Supreme Court made this ruling and what the impacts are, for both plaintiff and defense attorneys, in navigating the elimination of peremptory challenges. Bill and Heather discuss how attorneys will need to manage their voir dire without access to peremptory strikes and the increased importance of juror consulting and juror questionnaires in jury selection. They also talk about healthcare litigation, the challenges of working with healthcare witnesses, how healthcare marketing fuels plaintiff reptile attorneys, and how to deal with multiple co-defendants in healthcare litigation. Watch the video of this episode:

Monday Jan 31, 2022

Wellness Specialist Jennifer Donovan of Wellness 4 Judiciary joins the podcast to talk to Dr. Steve Wood about mental and physical wellbeing and what attorneys can do to relieve stress and anxiety and achieve clarity and tranquility. In part 1, Jennifer shared exercises to help witnesses and in this part she demonstrates several exercises for posture, breathing, and mental focus and intentional thought, which help with calmness and concentration. Jennifer also shares additional exercises and practices that help to calm the nervous system and achieve a sense of serenity in the mind. Watch the video of this episode here:  

Monday Jan 24, 2022

Wellness Specialist Jennifer Donovan of Wellness 4 Judiciary joins the podcast to talk to Dr. Steve Wood about mental wellbeing, mindfulness, and what witnesses can do to reduce stress levels, particularly when testifying. Jennifer demonstrates several helpful exercises to help relieve stress and create calmness, clarity, and focus. The exercises, which can be done either seated or standing, include attention to posture, breathing, shoulders, head & neck, and the jaw, plus intentional thoughts and visualizing positive outcomes for better self care. Watch the video version of this episode here:

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