DiCello Levitt Partners Discuss Firm’s Innovative Approach to Jury Persuasion

Jun 26, 2023


DiCello Levitt Co-Founding Partner Mark DiCello and Partners Bobby DiCello and Chris Stombaugh recently spoke with The National Law Journal’s Christine Schiffner about the firm’s science-driven approach to trial preparation and jury persuasion.       

According to Schiffner, plaintiffs’ firms are increasing their investment in focus groups and mock juries to hone the stories of their cases and better prepare for trials in an increasingly polarized society, where understanding how jurors interpret facts and emotionally connect with a case is critical to developing a winning strategy.

That premise is at the heart of DiCello Levitt’s trial-first approach and the innovative methods developed through the DiCello Levitt Trial Center, led by Bobby DiCello and Chris Stombaugh. Founded on a proprietary system that combines cognitive neuroscience, data analysis, comprehensive research, and more, the Trial Center helps attorneys craft highly refined messaging and provides them with clear insights into what persuades, connects, and wins.

“It’s about understanding how the human brain turns stories into reality,” Bobby DiCello told Schiffner. “It’s about building a narrative from undisputed facts that compels the jury to make a decision in the direction that you want,” Stombaugh added.

Firms are increasingly relying on a wide variety of research techniques, including surveys, focus groups, and mock trials, to gauge potential jurors’ feelings and thoughts on specific issues, Schiffner writes. DiCello Levitt differentiates itself with its proprietary, scientific system, which includes conducting its focus groups in-house, with key trial lawyers involved in every step of the process.

DiCello Levitt’s attorneys use the insights from the trial center’s jury research to craft compelling storylines that guide decision-makers to the truth, focusing on rational and emotional factors. Presenting unbiased questions and molding the case narrative around unrefuted facts are crucial in engaging jurors.      

“If you’re working with unrefuted facts, you’re really molding and refining the story of the case,” Mark DiCello told Schiffner. It’s about anchoring your argument in “deposition testimony, unrefuted facts, no spin—it makes your story even more powerful.”

Over the past decade, the DiCello Levitt Trial Center has conducted thousands of specialized focus groups, including comprehensive studies about consequential issues of vital importance for judges and juries. The firm’s scientific approach to trials resulted in more than $400 million in settlements and outcomes in 2022 alone and more than $2 billion since the firm’s inception.

To read Christine Schiffner’s article, visit https://www.law.com/nationallawjournal/2023/06/23/plaintiffs-firms-up-the-ante-on-trial-prep-mock-juries/.

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