In the midst of trial, how do you know what the jury might be thinking? Has the jury understood vital pieces of evidence? Can the jurors articulate your trial themes? Does the jury know what your theory is of the case? Have you inadvertently offended the jury? Are your witnesses communicating what's intended or the opposite? Do the jurors like your witnesses? Do the jurors believe your witnesses? Are your expert witnesses seen simply as hired guns?
It would be valuable to know the answers to these questions during trial, but this is impossible. In the absence of being able to talk to the actual jury during trial, conducting a shadow jury is the next best thing.
Shadow juries are comprised of 4 to 8 people who are eligible for jury service and who are recruited from the trial venue to match the demographic make-up of the venire. Additional care is taken during the shadow jury recruitment and selection process to avoid a group of participants that is homogeneous in its plaintiff or defense propensities. Once selected, the shadow jury sits through portions, or all of the trial and is debriefed at the end of the day, or when possible at lunch and at the end of the day, and the results are reported to the trial team every evening.