Juror Search adds mock trial management to voir dire management software

ByRobert AmbrogiPublished inPress ReleasesDecember 6th, 2023

Bob chats with Dan Johnson, founder of JurorSearch, the leading voir dire management solution to handle all aspects of jury selection. Dan discusses the path of client-driven software development as he learns from trial attorneys and jury consultants the customizable features they want to use. Bob also gets the scoop on the launch of DataDrox.com a survey tool originally built for mock trials and focus groups but also useful as an alternative to SurveyMonkey, Google Forms and Office Forms.

Transcript: 00:00:05:06 - 00:00:31:08 Bob Ambrogi Welcome to LawNextPR, the podcast where we put a spotlight on the latest news coming out of the legal tech industry. This is Bob Ambrogi, and in each sponsored episode of LawNextPR, they interview a legal tech company about its just released news or latest developments today for highlighting JurorSearch. And joining me for that is Dan Johnson, the company's co-founder and CEO.

00:00:31:10 - 00:00:32:20 Bob Ambrogi Dan, welcome to the show.

00:00:32:22 - 00:00:36:06 Dan Johnson Thank you, Bob. Longtime listener, first time caller.

00:00:36:07 - 00:00:48:16 Bob Ambrogi That's great. Well, good to meet you virtually here. Dan, let's just start by cutting to the chase in terms of what it is that your research does and who is it intended for?

00:00:48:18 - 00:01:27:11 Dan Johnson Thanks, Bob. Absolutely. JurorSearch is for litigators that are either doing a mock trial or are bringing a case to a jury and thus need to select one. We specialize in the voir dire process and we are, in my humble opinion, the best product out there. That's a real time collaborative platform for the entire litigation team, including the lead attorney that's questioning and building rapport with the jurors.

00:01:27:13 - 00:01:56:01 Dan Johnson The rest of the folks that are taking notes, any background researchers that might be off site looking up some social media profiles of the jurors and anyone else in the courtroom that might want to send a message to that lead attorney who has to make strike or impanel decisions so that all that information, all that data is in one intuitive, organized place for the team to make their best straight decisions.

00:01:56:03 - 00:02:00:21 Bob Ambrogi This is for trial lawyers in any kind of a matter criminal or civil.

00:02:00:23 - 00:02:30:01 Dan Johnson Yes. Any time you're picking a jury and it's an important enough case where there's more than one person working on it, juror search is a fantastic solution for the communications problem that inherently comes up in that fast paced process when you have to somehow convey all the information and data that you want and access it quickly so you can decide who you want to keep and who you want to strike.

00:02:30:03 - 00:02:38:22 Bob Ambrogi Then I know that you're a lawyer by background. How did you come to start this company? What was the what was the problem that you set out to tackle here?

00:02:39:00 - 00:03:05:18 Dan Johnson Yeah, thanks. I should say so. I don't get in trouble. A retired attorney says I didn't want to do the continuing legal education anymore, so I turned in my license. But I used to have a data company for political campaigns. And one day a friend said, Don't you think that trial lawyers might want all the data that political campaigns and political committees have on voters?

00:03:05:18 - 00:03:29:17 Dan Johnson Wouldn't they want that for jurors? I saw probably. Why not? Let's go ask. So I started pickin some of the trial lawyers that I knew and discovered the trial consultant industry, especially here in Chicago. And a lot of the feedback was, I love the idea of knowing all this data, but I don't know if it's accurate or not.

00:03:29:19 - 00:03:58:04 Dan Johnson But what I really like is that there is a software platform that I can access on my phone or my tablet or my laptop and keep the notes there instead of what most of us very sophisticated attorneys still do, which is Post-it notes and a big cardboard cutout where I put the notes on the on the grid. I love the idea of a software solution for that.

00:03:58:04 - 00:04:27:16 Dan Johnson So we took that advice, dumped all the data and continue to iterate and innovate and develop the best. We're like, think of as the best software solution for voir dire, which then turned into What about our mock trials? We'd like something for that too. So we are develop that. But the core of it, most of our users are litigators that are doing it for voir dire.

00:04:27:18 - 00:04:43:07 Bob Ambrogi So you knew something about building software and using data before you started this company, but what's it been like building for Foley, Google Tech community or the legal community in particular has the ability differences there?

00:04:43:09 - 00:05:18:01 Dan Johnson You know, not a lot of people would say if you want to get into software or pick legal tech, you know, so they the thing that has sort of governed how the product is developed is it's built around customization that every user can customize it to fit just the way they want. And attorneys, I've learned are rather particular about how they like things to work in their system, particularly for voir dire.

00:05:18:03 - 00:05:48:09 Dan Johnson You know, some people like to see visually, some people have their rating system read 1358 threat of keep strike whatever. And so what we had to create was much more of a platform than a narrow solution, where the whole point is the software, you know, melds around the system that the attorney and his or her team likes to use, rather than they have to learn, you know, our system for picking a juror.

00:05:48:09 - 00:06:07:02 Dan Johnson And so that really has been baked into we had to pivot a few times once we learned that that really attorneys want the ability to customize things to fit their particular way of doing things, which is exciting and interesting. And so now that's what it does.

00:06:07:04 - 00:06:15:04 Bob Ambrogi Yeah. Can you give me an example of that? I mean, what ways would an attorney or a team of a trial t be able to customize the software?

00:06:15:06 - 00:06:35:07 Dan Johnson Well, you know, some people like seeing, you know, each column has to be totally different. All the fields need to be different, whether you want a layout of, you know, big squares for each juror where, you know, you could fit in a lot of information or a tiny square with lots and lots of squares on the screen. Right.

00:06:35:08 - 00:06:56:06 Dan Johnson If you want to look at the entire gallery, the I didn't see this one coming. But, you know, typically you sort of we gave the standard colors like red is bad and green is good. And then they're somewhere in the middle, right yellow. And someone told us, You can't do that. What if the other team looks at my screen, I got to pick, you know, blue and orange that they don't know what's what.

00:06:56:06 - 00:07:19:09 Dan Johnson So, okay, so we had to allow them to customize the colors. They said, you know, I yeah, I don't want just numbers. You know, I have my my lettering system and, you know, B plus and de minus, they're meaningful to me. So I can't just have numbers for my rating. I need letters. Okay. But in letters, they keep asking for features, which is phenomenal.

00:07:19:09 - 00:07:44:18 Dan Johnson So we're very grateful when they'll tell me what they'd like. But one of them wanted the ability to essentially be sort of the, you know, the newscaster with the producer in his or her ear, sort of whispering the notes so that the lead attorney can be out, you know, making eye contact, building rapport, and then come back and glance at the tablet and then see the notes in real time as the consultant.

00:07:44:20 - 00:08:02:12 Dan Johnson We're second chair is, you know, saying, don't forget to ask about whatever or bring up or whatever. So we had to build that real time sort of prompt to note, we call it, but all the futures, right? I've never picked a jury, although I sat in a lot of them by now. They've all been built because attorneys are consultants.

00:08:02:12 - 00:08:08:00 Dan Johnson Tell us this is what I want in my product. So let me build it for him.

00:08:08:02 - 00:08:25:09 Bob Ambrogi Yeah, I have picked a jury, but the last time I did it, it was so long ago. I'm not sure Post-it notes were even invented at that point. You know, one of the things that occurred to me is that you launched this company either just before or during the pandemic, at a time when there weren't a lot of jury trials.

00:08:25:09 - 00:08:30:17 Bob Ambrogi If any, going on. How did that play into your development of the product over those years?

00:08:30:19 - 00:08:53:16 Dan Johnson Yeah, you're right. We launched in February, so one month later sales went to zero. The good part about that is it allowed. You know, people had a lot of time on their hands and so they gave their schedules were open and they were able to take a long time with me sort of sharing what they want, what they liked, what they didn't like you.

00:08:53:18 - 00:09:14:00 Dan Johnson Our version 3.6.7 buy now. Right now, how many hundreds of iterations. But they gave a lot of time and then we didn't have a buggy product that crashed during a jury trial either by the time jury trials were open up, it got to be a very stable product. In retrospect, I think it worked out well. They have a stable product with a lot of feedback.

00:09:14:00 - 00:09:35:18 Dan Johnson And one interesting one that came out of that in the pandemic, we got a call from a judge who said, I like your your system, but I want it for my basic sort of, you know, I'm summoning jurors. I want you to fill out a survey. He wanted one for implicit bias. So, you know, I don't want to put it on SurveyMonkey or something like that, but I wanted, you know, for this.

00:09:35:18 - 00:10:07:15 Dan Johnson So can you build me that, you know, we didn't have anything else to do. So sure. So we built something called jury card dot com, which is essentially the same product, but it just allows somebody to enter in their information, you know, on the web securely. Right. But then it populates in the same platform that the court can then use to filter which jurors you know which some jurors are going to they're going to keep in whichever, you know, caused problem or can't show up or aren't a citizen but aren't eligible to serve.

00:10:07:17 - 00:10:34:04 Bob Ambrogi So you had a little bit more of a runway there to go from a beta product to a mature product without without the time pressure that others might have had. You mentioned earlier that you also expanded into this area of mock trials. Could you talk a little bit more about how you address that address, how you enable trial lawyers to conduct trials absolutely harshly.

00:10:34:04 - 00:10:57:04 Dan Johnson So because of what the judge out of Salt Lake City called and asked for, we have this ability where you can create essentially a survey and then have a specific code so that a respondent, either a member of a focus group or a member of the mock jury can then see the questions, answer them, and then those answers are populated in real time.

00:10:57:06 - 00:11:26:15 Dan Johnson But then they display in that same voir dire UI that litigators are used to, which is essentially what a focus group looks like. You're right, they usually sit either around a table or, you know, sometimes they sit them in rows of seven, sort of simulate what a jury is. And so it's an opportunity to run a mock trial where the participants answers are either given online or the team is writing down what they say.

00:11:26:17 - 00:11:55:15 Dan Johnson And you can collaborate and decide, you know, who you like, who you don't like, what themes are emerging. And so similar to the rest of the product which has been built, essentially custom for the industry, we're developing the mock trials for what each client wants. It's an interesting sort of the opposite of scaling, right? Where each client, you know, there's a lot of onboarding and a lot of customization for each client.

00:11:55:17 - 00:12:20:01 Dan Johnson And then it's sort of a standard, you know, SAS relationship once it's just the way they want it. So I thought I had these visions that it was going to, you know, have some hockey stick a revenue growth. And it turns out it's more like professional services where each one you know, it takes a lot of time at first, make sure it's optimized for each client and then they're happy for as long as they use the product.

00:12:20:03 - 00:12:43:02 Bob Ambrogi But it is the situation there that a trial attorney would say, is that a mock? You know, they're opening arguments or they're closing arguments or perhaps some questioning of a of a mock witness in front of kind of this focus group, in front of this group of people who are then going to respond to questions about how they were swayed or not or what they thought of that.

00:12:43:05 - 00:12:44:17 Bob Ambrogi That argument is how it works.

00:12:44:18 - 00:13:01:21 Dan Johnson Yeah. So, you know, the questions are then like, well, did you find this witness credible, right. To do what did you think of the questioning attorney? You know, did you find the questioning? Attorney To be honest, what did you think about the witness? You know, on a scale of one, to a lot of times they like numbers are in the scale of 1 to 10.

00:13:01:23 - 00:13:34:23 Dan Johnson You know, how impactful was the witness testimony about, you know, her broken leg, the scale of 1 to 10? How impactful was the witnesses testimony about, you know, the car crash? And then they get to do with the data what they will write. They can download it all and, you know, do their statistical magic or they can, you know, decide, you know, do men like us more women like us, more people over 50 like her case, you know, where are we having issues and what and that helps inform what sort of jurors they'd like to see ultimately impaneled.

00:13:35:01 - 00:13:47:05 Bob Ambrogi Yeah. So with that mock trial tool having launched and using the legal context of you're now taking it perhaps beyond legal, is that right?

00:13:47:07 - 00:14:20:16 Dan Johnson Yeah, we're you know, the fun part is once you've got a once you've got this survey tool, we thought, well, lots of people use SurveyMonkey for market research or, you know, all sorts of things for people to enter in forms. So we created a recreating, I should say, quarter for a product that we hope might be take less onboarding, take less customization and less professional services style effort, which I'm delighted to do for jury search, but maybe a much more accessible product.

00:14:20:16 - 00:14:41:20 Dan Johnson And we're got a brand out there called DataDrox And so, Bob, you've got the scoop. This is, you know, the first public mention of this very data product. But we're hopeful in, you know, quarter one to have a, you know, stable launch product but develop the same way when people try it and, you know, see the rough edges.

00:14:41:20 - 00:14:57:12 Dan Johnson But say what I really want is to be able to, you know, you stars or I want to be able to have some sort of a, you know, pivot table or I want some crosstabs or whatever it is they want. And we're delighted to build it for them because if they like it, probably hundreds of other people will too.

00:14:57:14 - 00:15:04:04 Bob Ambrogi So that's just coming out of data. How could people who might want to participate to better find out about how to do that?

00:15:04:06 - 00:15:44:04 Dan Johnson Well, great. Probably the easiest way you can reach me any time at juror search dot com. I'm dan at juror search dot com. We do have a buggy site up at datadrox, but we should probably wait till january for people to really visit that one. I think our team is a lot of fake, you know text up there for now but jurors search dot com is the best way to get a hold of me and then we'll formally launch it quarter one but we'd love to have the input any sort of software solution people are looking for that's anywhere in that survey you know collab real time collaboration field.

00:15:44:06 - 00:15:48:07 Dan Johnson It's really fun to build solutions for people.

00:15:48:09 - 00:15:55:20 Bob Ambrogi Yeah. What else would you like listeners to know about Juror Search or what you've got coming down the pike?

00:15:55:22 - 00:16:34:19 Dan Johnson I think I'd like people to know that if they are if their firm's picking a jury and if they're not going to do it by themselves, if you do by yourselves, I think you're better off just with paper and pen and memory. It's hard to type and talk and that's a tough mental switch. But if you've got anyone taking notes for you and if it's really important enough that you want a team of people to do background research or provide advice to to check out juror search dot com And if we're close, let me know what else you'd like to see so we can create it for you.

00:16:34:21 - 00:16:39:21 Bob Ambrogi Well, thanks a lot. It's been a real pleasure to get to know you and get to know JurorSearch.

00:16:39:23 - 00:16:46:12 Dan Johnson I appreciate it, Bob. It's really fun to be on a program with you, so look forward to learning more from you and all your guests.

00:16:46:14 - 00:17:05:04 Bob Ambrogi Well, that's it for today's episode. If you enjoyed it, please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts or on YouTube at LawNext, underscore PR. You can also find all the episodes of this show on the LawNext, the tech directory under the resources tab. This is Bob Ambrogi. Thanks for listening.

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Robert Ambrogi
June 6th, 2024