Every trial lawyer wishes to be a fly on the wall during jury deliberations. Magna Legal Services offers the next best thing with high-quality, cost-effective jury research to help legal teams better prepare for their court cases.
Magna is an end-to-end legal support service company for law firms, corporations, and governmental agencies across the US, offering a full suite of discovery and trial services, plus an innovative platform for virtual jury research, JuryConfirm.
“Jury research is basically market research, but instead of testing out a product like you would in a focus group facility with a one-way mirror, we test out cases before they go to trial,” says Dave Kurzman, chief operations officer of the company’s Ligation Support Group. When a case is anything but a slam dunk, legal teams need insight into how potential jurors will perceive all the relevant issues.
“We present the facts from both sides, test them with mock jurors, and from there our jury consultants take what they learn to help attorneys present the best case at trial,” Kurzman says.
Long before COVID-19, Magna identified the opportunity to make jury research sessions more efficient, leveraging the virtual world without losing any of the richness of an in-person session.
But translating the company’s vision came with highly specific requirements. So instead of using an off-the-shelf solution that would require hacks and workarounds, Magna developed their own, giving them full control of functionality and user experience.
Now, they’re focused on continuing to innovate on this highly differentiated product, providing high quality service to legal teams who need decisive, real-world insight into how their cases may be received at trial. Today, they deliver that solution with some help from Plivo.
Call time limits prevented a seamless audio experience
A couple of years ago, Magna Legal Services set out to retool their platform and determined it was time to look for a Twilio alternative to support voice capabilities.
The company’s in-depth research sessions last from 4.5 to nearly 8 hours. But Twilio’s call time limits interrupted those sessions and disrupted the customer experience.
“Calls would just terminate after two hours,” Kurzman says. “I’d have to literally kick everybody off a call, and they’d have to call back in.”
They were also experiencing intermittent issues with the CPaaS platform, requiring them to engage developers for fixes — taking time away from incremental improvement and innovation.
So Kurzman sent his developers to scope out the competition.
Active call management for optimum customer experience
Serving as a juror on a real trial can be intense — and so can the in-depth jury research sessions offered by Magna Legal Services. The company recruits mock jurors from the actual location of the coming proceedings.
Lawyers deliver up to 60-minute presentations, and the jurors then deliberate in breakout sessions. These half- to full-day sessions can include up to 120 participants through a conference bridge.
“We’re actively managing those phone calls as part of our methodology,” Kurzman says.
To manage all that complexity, they needed a voice API that could provide high-quality, reliable audio conferencing capabilities, follow-the-speaker, bounce participants into various breakout rooms, and let them identify the source of background noise and selectively mute participants.
Lawyers know perhaps better than anyone that how you say something can be as important as what you say. Magna combines the audio, video, and presentation from each session into one deliverable for client playback, so they can listen and look for cues in emotions and body language. That made audio recording another nonnegotiable feature.
As you might expect, much of the material presented to these mock jurors is sensitive, protected data. Security and compliance are of the utmost importance to Magna — and Plivo gives them peace of mind with secure phone conferencing.
Automating SMS reminders and notifications to stay connected
In addition to Plivo Voice APIs, Magna Legal Services also uses Plivo SMS to connect with clients and participants.
Participants can choose to receive automated messages reminding them of their upcoming sessions. Magna is also able to send SMS messages to off-screen mock jurors to encourage full engagement throughout the session.
Smooth operations keep the focus on innovation
“Things have just generally been smoother with Plivo,” Kurzman says.
And if they do have issues, Plivo’s support team is there to help. “Plivo’s support team works hand-in-hand with my developers to test out code and help us resolve any challenges as quickly as they can.”
Magna Legal Services trusts Plivo as a foundational piece of their bespoke platform, enabling Magna developers to focus on continued innovation instead of bug fixes.
“We’re a niche company doing a niche job, and we’ve created this extremely niche product that no one else in the world has,” Kurzman says.
“We’re a relatively low-volume user compared to some of Plivo’s other customers, but they treat us as just as important. That really matters to us.”