Welcome (or welcome back) to Deliberations. In this inaugural blog, I would like to share my vision for Deliberations, along with what to expect in the upcoming year.
First, a very brief introduction. I am an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg and often serve as a litigation consultant for attorneys in Western Pennsylvania. Due to my experience in both the research and applied arenas, Deliberations aims to take a scientist practitioner approach to provide its members with practical tips grounded in empirical research. To that end, I will ensure that blog posts uphold this standard as much as possible, so that it is not a forum for unbridled and unsubstantiated opinions. My hope is that this blog will be empirically grounded and intellectually stimulating, and allow for an informed yet exciting discussion on engaging topics. Ideally, Deliberations will not just promote discussion among ASTC members, but ultimately promote even greater discussion between ASTC members and the legal community. As a result, I will strive to gather voices from inside and outside of the ASTC-- from the early career professionals to the most experienced legal practitioners. I will cast a wide net when recruiting for blog posts and attempt to incorporate a diversity of writers.
Some of you may be aware that earlier this year I surveyed ASTC members regarding the specific purpose and functions of this blog. I incorporated as many of members’ survey responses as possible to improve the blog. First and foremost, Deliberations will disseminate valuable information, tips, and techniques related to the field of trial consulting, along with the latest recommendations for research and practice. While Deliberations will sometimes discuss and distribute traditional and well-established “tips of the trade,” that should not be its sole purpose. Instead, Deliberations is better suited to advance and garner discussion regarding our existing knowledge base, particularly on emerging topics. Perhaps we will even revisit some of the basic assumptions and techniques underlying our field, discussing their legitimacy and recommending ways to improve our current practice. Second, similar to its previous incarnation, Deliberations will serve as a forum to discuss the role of trial consulting in current events (e.g., legal cases) and legal policy (e.g., important legislation). For this reason, priority will be given to blog posts that deal with “hot topics,” or posts that deal with legal advocacy. However, I do not envision Deliberations as the place to debate internal issues of the ASTC—this is for a more private forum exclusive to ASTC members (see the next point). Third, it is my hope that Deliberations will be more accessible and geared to the broad legal community. These blog posts and the ensuing discussion are ideally suited to expose our members’ great work to the legal community.
Now for the nuts and bolts portion of Deliberations. I plan to maintain two blog posts per month. One blog post will generally fall within the following topics: social media/use of the internet & technology, jury decision-making and persuasion, services provided by litigation consultants (e.g., voir dire, witness preparation, etc.), the future of trial consulting, and current topics & events. As I believe it is important and engaging to discuss current events, I will reserve one blog post per month to depict the application of trial consulting to hot topics in the field or highly publicized media cases.
Finally, I urge your participation in these blog posts, either as a writer or discussant by providing comments to blog posts. For the less altruistic of our members, participation can serve as great exposure for you and your company. For the more altruistic of our members, Deliberations advances the mission of the ASTC and helps our membership learn important information! As I am merely a facilitator of this empirically-based medium to disseminate important issues and information in the field of trial consulting, I encourage your assistance to make Deliberations the best it can be.
Jonathan P. Vallano
firstname.lastname@example.org or 724.836.9994