Duties and responsibilities
The overall responsibilities of a jury consultant is to advise and assist litigators throughout legal proceedings. To reach this goal, they carry out a number of different tasks, including:
- Researching each potential member of the jury to gather information on their background, lifestyle, career, family and their likely attitude towards the current case
- Creating juror profiles to give the attorneys an idea about which members of the jury are more likely to vote in their favour
- Giving the attorney suggestions on how to present their argument to the jury. This typically involves writing persuasive opening statements for the attorney and finding ways that they attorney can present the information in a positive light
- Creating post-trial interviews with jurors to learn what went wrong
To become jury consultant, there is no specific educational path. However, the most common route is to achieve a bachelor’s degree in psychology and then, although not mandatory, a master’s degree in forensic psychology. Some jury consultants access the profession through achieving a law degree or similar.
Skills and relevant work experience
- Analytical skills are key to being a successful jury consultant as you will spend the vast majority of your time analyzing data and information regarding the jury
- Written and verbal communication skills as they will work closely with attorneys and other clients. When working with others, they will have to communicate and present their findings in ways in which everyone can understand and process
- Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to read non-verbal cues, and an understanding of what influences human behaviour, motivation and decision-making
Jury consultants tend to work full time (around 40 hours per week). However, they may have to work longer hours if they need to meet deadlines when working towards a big court case.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) has not obtained statistics for the salary of a jury consultant. However, other careers in the legal or forensic field earn a good salary, with the average annual salary for professionals in the legal field being $50,410 as of 2018.
Again, the Bureau of Labour Statistics has not predicted the growth of the jury consultant profession specifically. However, the growth rate for all legal professionals will increase around 9% by 2026, which is faster than average.
Jury consultants typically progress in both the legal and forensic psychology field, giving them lots of progression and development opportunities. Some possible career progressions include obtaining a law degree to become a lawyer or going on to study to become a forensic psychologist. Many jury consultants also offer mediation and arbitration services whilst practising, as this increases their employment outlook.