Introduction: Trial Consulting from a Psycholegal Perspective
Over the last 25 years, the Law and Psychology Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has participated in trial consulting in a variety of ways including training graduate students to be professional trial consultants, writing academic articles about the process of trial consulting, presenting papers and symposia at national conferences on trial consulting, and engaging in both paying and pro bono trial consulting projects. We have watched the growth and development of trial consulting as it began with scientific jury selection (Lieberman & Sales, 2007) in the criminal arena and developed into a multimillion dollar industry with its own professional society, code of ethics, and scientific research foundation. Today, the American Society of Trial Consultants (ASTC) lists 37 websites of firms that advertise as trial consulting agencies and that pay fees to the society for including them on its homepage (http://www.astcweb.org/public/index.cfm). The ASTC openly acknowledges that this is not an exhaustive list and that there are certainly additional firms that actively engage in the practice of trial consulting that are not listed on this webpage. In fact, the same ASTC website lists over 400 trial consultants in the United States who are members of the society and, undoubtedly, there are many others who participate in the trial consulting profession either fulltime or parttime who are not members of the organization. These trial consultants practice in a wide range of arenas from change of venue studies, mock jury trials, language and the law, jury selection, expert testimony, focus groups, witness preparation, graphics and demonstrative evidence, psychological evaluation, and trial technology to name just a few of the 23 distinct areas of practice that appear on the ASTC website. The trial consulting industry is alive and well.
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