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Alaska Jury Project - Attorney FAQ's

What services does the AJP offer? The Alaska Jury Project (AJP) offers confidential focus groups, trial replications and community opinion surveys.

What does it cost? Focus groups are the AJP's specialty. Six member focus groups, with three hours of group contact, cost between $650 and $1,000.

This cost includes: (1) initial attorney/AJP consultation; (2) recruiting focus group participants; (3) securing confidentiality agreements; (4) focus group facilitation; (5) videotaping (or DVD recording) all deliberation; (5) feeding focus group participants; and (6) copying all documents and recordings to the attorneys, along with a summary report.

Participating attorney(s) provide case facts to the focus groups, along with the facilitator. Attorneys wishing to be absent must provide another person who is familiar with the case's facts. Sometimes, attorney prefer to have the facilitator come up to speed, presenting case facts for an additional charge. The additional charge reflects the extra effort AJP's facilitator dedicates to learning the attorney's case. We strongly recommend attorney participation if at all possible.

Trial replications and community opinion surveys are individually built. The AJP provides confidential range quotes for any case(s) and/or issues(s) you want evaluated.

How can I make the other side pay for half of it? ARCP 100 authorizes a motion for mediation or other alternative dispute resolution device. ARCP 100(b)(3) provides that the costs of mediation are borne equally by the parties unless the court apportions the costs differently between the parties.

Most often, simply suggesting an AJP focus group to the other side will secure prompt agreement. The process is inexpensive, unbiased, fair, and confidential. Our experience has been that focus group participants are quite honest - sometimes brutally honest - with their opinions about cases.

Do AJP Focus Groups Satisfy CR 82(a)'s mandate that attorney attempt to minimize litigation costs? Yes. Unlike conventional mediation, which wastes time unless the parties agree on the mediator, AJP's focus groups ask actual jurors what they think of your case. Both sides get a chance to "dry run" their case - getting an idea of what issues they fact, and what is likely to happen at trial. Having their case fairly evaluated, settlement usually follows. AJP focus groups are also an inexpensive way to help unreasonable clients better understand what they will face at trial.

© 2004, Lori Merdes

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