Social Influence in the Courtroom: What It Is and What To Do About It?

Because the courtroom is predicated on the notion of persuasion, social influence can play a pivotal role in the decision-making process of attorneys, judges, and jurors. This influence can occur at any time throughout a case, can manifest in many forms, and can originate from various sources. However, if attorneys do not know the who, what, where, when, why, and how of social influence, how can they confidently value their clients’ cases? Moreover, how can they provide their clients with an accurate recommended settlement amount or evaluate the level of exposure if a case were to go to trial? Not knowing the answers to these questions (or receiving the wrong answers because of improper research) could lead to recommending settlement amounts that are too high, costing a client thousands, if not millions, of dollars. This presentation will examine various factors of social influence that occur throughout the course of trial from voir dire to jury deliberations.