2017 ASTC CONFERENCE PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
June 8, 2017
INTRODUCTORY WORKSHOP: TRIAL CONSULTING 101
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
This session will give new and potential trial consultants an overview of the field of trial consulting and the range of practices it covers, the good and bad sides of life as a trial consultant, research methodology, and the importance of following ASTC professional codes. Through the use of a sample case, participants will learn about doing pre-trial research, case analysis and theme development, opening statements, jury selection, witness preparation, and post-trial interviews. Emphasis will also be placed on working with attorneys.
MASTERS SESSION: ADVANCED WITNESS PREPARATION
12:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Karen Lisko, PhD, and Charli Morris, MA, have recruited an all-star cast of witnesses to bring you a dynamic and interactive pre-Conference session. Beyond a brief lecture portion designed to set the stage, we will engage with our experienced audience members through vignettes crafted to highlight best consulting practices for addressing gender differences in communication, enhancing the role of 30(b)(6) witnesses, making expert witnesses more effective at trial and more. Come prepared to join in with your own good ideas and bring your questions about the challenging witness prep scenarios you also encounter.
June 9, 2017
This is an excellent opportunity for new members to meet some of the top consultants in the industry in a short amount of time. If you are shy, seeking exposure in the field, or don’t know many members, come participate. In a one-on-one setting share your interests, professional background, and ask those questions that will help you develop a better understanding of what the profession entails.
8:45 – 9:05 AM
Patty Kuehn, ASTC President, highlights key issues being addressed and decided at this year’s conference.
CODE OF SILENCE: DOCUMENTARY ON CHICAGO POLICE CORRUPTION
9:05 AM – 9:30 AM
Chicago has been named “the city of corruption” dating back to the mid-1800s. Friday opens with a showing of the moving documentary Code of Silence. After the shooting of Laquan McDonald, Al Jazeera television and Professor Craig Futterman investigate the role of the police in creating a code of silence in Chicago.
LEGAL CHALLENGES IN POLICE SHOOTING CASES
Following the documentary, two exceptionally experienced and nationally recognized attorneys will discuss the challenges in taking police shooting cases to trial. Litigating police misconduct cases is challenging, notwithstanding the climate we are in where there seems to be a significant disconnect and lack of trust between law enforcement and the community they are charged with protecting. This discussion will focus on what conditions precede the police encounter which could or might affect the outcome of litigation, including, but not limited to: the availability of video evidence, whether or not there were independent witnesses present, the application of the code of silence, which specific policies and directives were in place affecting the result of the choice of force used, whether de-escalation tactics were used at all.
The discussion will provide perspectives of both Plaintiffs and Defendants. It will also discuss how to address the pretrial conditions in the courtroom and specifically the use of forensic evidence, animations, and science in influencing juror’s perceptions and analyses in these cases. Finally, the cross-currents of the attitudes toward police by the general public - - on the one hand they are those who we teach our children to call if they are in trouble while on the other they are often seen as an occupying force, particularly in poor communities of color.
IMPACT OF PSYCHOLOGY ON TORT LAW
10:45 AM-12:00 PM
This session will explore tort law through the lens of psychological science. In seeking to accomplish its objectives—including deterrence, corrective justice, and civil recourse—the law of torts must inevitably be concerned with how legal rules influence behavior, how the psychology of decision makers interacts with the legal rules and the assumptions underlying the rules, and how jurors and judges evaluate and respond to the behavior of both plaintiffs and defendants. Tort law implicates any number of questions about human behavior and decision making. What motivates people to pursue tort claims? How do people determine whether particular conduct is accidental or intentional, reasonable or unreasonable? How do people think about what factors caused which harms? How do such judgments inform determinations of blame and liability? How do people decide tort compensation and punishment? These are many of the same phenomena that cognitive and social psychologists study. Taking a psychological perspective on tort law highlights the ways in which lay intuitions both diverge and converge with the requirements of the law. Understanding this interplay can provide important insight into decision making in tort cases.
I NEED YOU, YOU, YOU!: COMMITTEE REPORTS/CALL FOR LEADERS AND VOLUNTEERS
An organization cannot survive on social events alone. Much work is done behind the scenes throughout the course of the year. Listen to committee chairs report on all the exciting movement that has occurred this past year as a result of the passion and commitment of a few. If you care about the profession and the success of the Society, come to the Volunteer/Leadership luncheon to hear how you can be a part of taking ASTC to the next level. Becoming engaged (or re-engaged) will result in a free lunch!
TIPS ON DEALING WITH THE MEDIA
A high-profile case can be good for business. Unfortunately, many lawyers who find themselves thrown into a story of public interest are unprepared for, or inexperienced in, dealing with the media, and make some easily avoidable mistakes.
This lecture will give you basic tips for handling a case that is covered extensively by the media. Should you talk? If you do, how much should you say? What are the rules? To whom should you speak—an exclusive to one entity or to all who call?
Having made the transition from a trial attorney to a journalist covering trials, Beth has a unique perspective from both sides. She will use anecdotes from her experience as a journalist to illustrate mistakes lawyers have made as well as what they have done that works.
WHAT ARE WE DOING TO SAVE THE JURY SYSTEM
Hailey Drescher, Charli Morris, and Patty Kuehn will describe the state of the diminishing civil jury trial and provide an overview of the steps taken by the ASTC Advisory Committee, in conjunction with the Civil Jury Project, to better understand and examine the cause for the decline with a look to potential solutions.
WHAT’S NEW? REVIEW OF RELEVANT RESEARCH
Eight outstanding research posters have been submitted. Each presenter has 5 minutes to give a summary of their work to the entire membership. Then it is up to you to declare the winner.
June 10, 2017
MISREADING DATA IN SMALL GROUP RESEARCH
Research on small groups and mock juries can inform trial consultants’ strategies and advice to clients, especially when research results are interpreted with attention to the validity, reliability, and credibility of the research design. This session will explore these issues with both quantitative and qualitative research studies. Participants will learn how to assess the quality of a research design and its research outcomes.
DEBATE ON THE ELIMINATION OF PEREMPTORY CHALLENGES
10:30 AM-12:15 PM
The peremptory challenge allows attorneys to remove certain potential jurors without reason, provided such challenges are not made with discriminatory purpose in terms of certain characteristics, e.g., race, ethnicity, and gender. In Batson v. Kentucky, the Supreme Court outlined procedures designed to eliminate the discriminatory use of peremptory challenges. Unfortunately, Batson and its progeny remain a promise unfulfilled. Research has documented the continued problem of discriminatory peremptory challenges, particularly involving race. The checkered history of the peremptory challenge has led to calls for its elimination. Our panel examines the issues and arguments concerning the elimination of peremptory challenges. Professor Nancy Marder advocates for the elimination of peremptory challenges, using the recent Supreme Court decision in Foster v. Chatman as a vehicle for discussion. Dr. Destiny Peery takes a contrary position based on her research conducted with data from 277 jury trials in Cook County, Illinois. Finally, Dr. Mykol Hamilton will present the current state of the ASTC Foundation’s efforts to address this issue. Dr. Jeff Frederick will moderate this panel discussion allowing audience input on this important and controversial issue.
FIXING FORENSIC SCIENCE
The forensic sciences have been under fire in recent years, and for good reason. In this session, I will identify some of the problems that plague the forensic sciences (including DNA evidence). I will suggest that some of these problems could be addressed through a stronger commitment to scientific testing rather than through arguments that reference an examiner’s training and experience, and the courts’ long history of admitting forensic science findings and testimony. Reform efforts are under way to correct some of the most obvious problems connected with forensic science testimony. However, in my view, those efforts are likely to fall short unless and until trial courts begin to require scientific proof from forensic scientists that they can do the things they claim they can do.
REAL NEWS: FOUR CAREER PATHS: MY ROAD, MY DREAM, MY LIFE
Listen as Judy Rothschild interviews four ASTC members about their unique perspectives and advice in working within a law firm, a consulting company, a solo practice, and a combination of working in all of the above. Not only will you learn about the different pros and cons of each working environment but humorous moments during their careers will be shared.