Q: Why should I invest in focus group research?
I am often asked what is the worth of investing in focus group research. The answers are as many and as varied as the lawsuit you have filed or are considering filing:
- learn attitudes
- learn opinions
- learn biases
- learn notions
- get ideas for discovery
- get ideas for strategy
- test the legal story
- test the experts
- test the experts' opinions
- test the other side's story(ies)
- test the visuals, demonstratives
- test your own platform skills
- ferret out the landmines
- learn all the ways you can (or might) lose your case
- learn whether you should even file a lawsuit
- value of the case
- whether alternative dispute resolution is feasible
- ideas for direct and cross examination
- witness preparation
- whether and how to go to battle
- and so on.
Still, lawyers are not convinced that they should invest a reasonable amount of money to learn what is bad and worse about their cases, their clients, and their own strategy.
So I am forced to go to a movie to plead my case. The other night I was watching Steven Spielberg's Academy Award nominated production, "War Horse" based on the novel of the same name.
Early on in the movie, British cavalry officers listen to a report from their scouts about the location of enemy German soldiers. The Brits learn the number of German troops, number of mounts, artillary, best positions of attack, strategy for attack, risks of loss of men, and so on.
As the Brits prepare to attack the German soldiers, the officer in charge tells the scout, "Time spent on reconnaissance is time well spent."
And then they went to battle.