Conference Overview


ASTC 29th Annual Conference
Perfect Your Game
Minneapolis, Minnesota • June 17-19, 2010

Elizabeth Foley
ASTC President-Elect, Conference Planning Chair

Thursday Pre-Conference Workshops
Friday Sessions
Saturday Sessions

Printable Version of the Program Overview (PDF)

ASTC has served its membership for over 25 years with the goal of teaching, mentoring and establishing professional standards that guide our Practice. This year’s conference presents an eclectic mix of topics to enhance our creativity, competitiveness and confidence.

Some highlights include:

Dr. Jan Spaeth and Rosalind Greene will present a three-hour workshop on witness preparation featuring their soon to be released DVD on witness preparation, which includes some of ASTC’s most experienced consultants sharing their best advice and techniques.

Dr. Edie Greene and Dr. Brian Bornstein will share their cutting-edge research on how jurors make decisions about awarding damages.

Mark Herrmann, author of ABA published "The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law," will provide some keen insight into the practice of law.

Mike Knox, an international expert on gangs and author of "Mind of a Gangsta," will speak about the rhetoric of gangs and how to communicate effectively with a gang member; local lawyers will demonstrate how to effectively direct and cross-examine a gang member.

Molly Cox, a nationally renowned speaker, comedian and author of “Improvise this! How to Think on Your Feet so You Don’t Fall on Your Face,” will make us laugh while she shows us how to think quickly.

Matt McCusker and Rosalind Greene will teach the skills and nuances of mediation.

Dr. David Cannon and Alan Tuerkheimer will present a state-of-the-art discussions about online jury research, focusing on web survey formats.

What better way to re-energize and learn than to be with friends and colleagues in a beautiful city with major league base ball, a prestigious theatre and a famous river surrounded by a thousand lakes!

There will be roundtables about standards and ethics, recent legal decisions and the impact on jury trials, developing new business in turbulent financial times and much more.

The website conference registration information is available through June 4, 2010. To visit the online registration click here.

The pre-conference workshops have limited seating and may sell out before early registration ends on May 12. Don’t wait until the deadline. There will be onsite registration in Minneapolis for the conference only if space is available.

Sponsors receive many benefits including waived registration fees. To become a sponsor click here.  You can contact the ASTC Office at 410.560.7949 (Monday-Friday 8:30 AM to 5 PM EST) if you have any questions. 

THURSDAY, JUNE 17, 2010 Pre-conference Workshops

Trial Consulting 101: An Introduction to the Profession
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Katherine James, MFA – Act of Communication, Culver City, CA
Diane Wiley – National Jury Project, Inc., Minneapolis, MN

This workshop is a must-do for anyone new to the field, or who is considering a career in trial consulting. It is also a fantastic way for people who have practiced in one niche of trial consulting to expand their competencies. The program provides a great deal of information, readings, and background readings on the universe of subjects that are represented in this field. A full and rewarding day of learning that cannot be attained anywhere else.

Trial Consulting 201A: Critical Steps for Witness Preparation – CLE APPROVED
9:00 p.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Jan Spaeth, Ph.D. – Advanced Jury Research, Tucson, AZ
Rosalind Greene, J.D. – Advanced Jury Research, Tucson, AZ

Allen Hinderaker, J.D. – Merchant & Gould, Minneapolis, MN
Ron Meshbesher, J.D. – Meshbesher & Spence, Ltd., Minneapolis, MN
John Sheehy, J.D. – Meshbesher & Spence, Ltd., Minneapolis, MN

This 3-hour session will focus on three critical steps in witness preparation. The 1st STEP will deal with developing rapport with the witness. This includes identifying and responding to the witnesses’ concerns, determining their contributions, and recognizing and dealing with agendas they may possess. The 2nd STEP will deal with teaching the witness to listen and think before answering the question. The 3rd STEP will focus on witness credibility. This will include a discussion of Dr. Jan Spaeth’s 10-C’s of Credible Testimony, and the importance of developing them. The program will also present techniques for working with especially challenging witnesses, and how to improve their appeal to a jury, judge, arbitrator or mediator. This will include techniques for dealing with narcissistic, explosive, whining, terrified, theatrical and rambling witnesses. Video clips of witnesses and other well-known trial consultants will supplement this material. Both the material and video clips are portions of DVD sets published by Dr. Spaeth and the American Bar Association. In addition, a panel of three highly experienced attorneys will share their techniques and experiences with difficult witnesses.

Lunch On Your Own
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Trial Consulting 201B: Money Matters: How & Why Jurors Award Damages – CLE APPROVED
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Edie Greene, Ph.D. – University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, CO
Brian H. Bornstein, Ph.D. – University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE

Commentary by Attorney
Mark Kosieradzki - The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm, Minneapolis, MN

Mark Kosieradzki, one of Minnesota’s most accomplished trial attorneys, will join Drs. Edie Green and Brian Bornstein to discuss how and why jurors award damages. The national healthcare debate has taken the conversation about tort reform to the public like never before. How will jurors incorporate this discourse into their decision making? What are the potential consequences of tort reform on
damages determinations? Based on their scientific research, our experts will answer these questions and shed light on how jurors reason about damages and factors that can predict jury awards. Local attorneys will be available to provide feedback and commentary on the insights provided by their research. You will walk away with valuable suggestions for putting these findings into practice at trial.

Speakers Dr. Edie Green, Professor of Psychology at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, and Dr. Brian Bornstein, Professor of Psychology at the University of Nebraska, focus their research on how jurors and juries made decisions and are co-authors of Determining Damages: The Psychology of Jury Awards.

Sponsored by: National Jury Project & Litigation Insights

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Welcome Reception
5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Enjoy this time to meet speakers, sponsors, new members and see returning friends.

New Member Dinner at Loring Kitchen & Bar
1359 Willow Street South
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Everyone is welcome! ASTC members meet and greet new members. Directions and questions, please feel free to ask at the ASTC registration desk.

Sponsored by: Litigation Insights

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FRIDAY, JUNE 18, 2010

Leadership Meeting
7:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

Coffee & Bagels
8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

 Welcome Remarks
9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Cynthia Cohen, Ph.D., ASTC President – Verdict Success, LLC, Manhattan Beach, CA
Beth Foley, ASTC President-Elect – Zagnoli McEvoy Foley, LLC, Chicago, IL

Keynote: Mark Herrmann author of “Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law
9:15 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

""The Curmudgeon" has been practicing law for just a little too long, and he may be too jaded for his own good. Beneath his crusty exterior, however, lies a fount of wisdom. The Curmudgeon knows everything about the legal profession, and he's willing to share his keen observations from the corner office. He offers practical and honest, if blunt, advice for surviving and thriving in a law firm.”

Sponsored by: Zagnoli McEvoy Foley

Are you an ethical trial consultant?
Standard’s Committee Presentation with Follow-up Discussion

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
11:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Follow-up Discussion

Matt McCusker, M.A. – Tsongas Litigation Consulting, Inc., Seattle, WA
Laura Dominic, M.A. – Tsongas Litigation Consulting Inc., Portland, OR
David Fauss, M.S.M. – Magnus Research Consultants, Inc., Pompano Beach, FL

As the field of trial consulting has developed, the need to ask serious questions about ethical practices and standards continues to be an ever-increasing priority. This presentation is intended to both inform and incite discussion. Through the use of remote dials, the audience will be able to weigh in with their opinions regarding a host of ethical quandaries. A moderated discussion of ideas will accompany this process. The goal is to brainstorm on how ASTC should continue to navigate the sometimes murky ethical waters.

In addition, there will be a presentation on the status of the Ethical Dilemma Reference Guide Project that has been undertaken by the Professional Standards Committee. Again, the audience will be asked to weigh in on how this endeavor can best reach its goals.

Introduction to Committees/Chairs
11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Box Lunch Roundtable to Meet and Join ASTC Committees, Task Forces and/or Editorial Boards.
11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Sponsored by: Persuasion Strategies

Helping Trial Consultants Grow Their New Client Base
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Darrell Skramstad – Sandler Training, Minneapolis, MN

Do Your Selling Strategies Work Against You?

Do your prospects:

– Stall with excuses?
– Quibble over price?
– Back away from making any sort of commitment?
– Tell you that they have to think it over?
– Pick your brain for ideas and then give the business to someone else?

Are you working harder then ever, but frustrated with prospects that mislead you, stall with excuse after excuse, chasing prospects that don’t return your calls, shopping your proposals to your competition Attend this workshop and learn a selling system that will help you close more business, without feeling like a pushy salesperson.



Research Committee: New Research
2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

John McCabe, M.A. – Culver City, CA

This program will feature Student Research Proposal second place winner, Keri Weber Sikich, presenting her paper entitled, "Judge v. Jury: Punitive Damage Awards in Civil Trials" as well as a paper by Committee member Dorothy Marsil.

The Mind of a Gangsta – CLE APPROVED
Friday, June 18, 2010
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Mike Knox – Cutting Edge Communications, Houston, TX

Attorney TBA

The violence, crime and civil liabilities Street Gangs create in communities have become part of our legal system. This nebulous category of witnesses, victims, defendants, and plaintiffs create uncertainty for attorneys, trial consultants and the court systems, both civil and criminal. Can a gang member be a believable witness? How can you overcome the stigma of gang membership for your plaintiff? Can an individual, business, or community really do anything to reduce the likelihood of gang activity? If they can, and don’t, could or should they be held to account in our civil system? In this session Mike Knox will explore the “Mind of a Gangsta.” You will have a clear understanding about the history of gangs in the United States, what motivates them, and how to communicate with them effectively.

Afternoon Break
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Sponsored by: Instant Video Replay 

Improvise This: How to Think On Your Feet
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Molly Cox – Connect the Dots, Inc. – Houston, TX (Click here to find out more about Molly)

This may possibly be the most fun, interactive and interesting program in the meetings industry. Based on her book, “Improvise This! How to Think on Your Feet so You Don’t Fall on Your Face,” (twice on the CEO READ top 25 list) Molly engages her audience with razor-sharp observations, spot-on humor and improvisation exercises all sprinkled with stories and how-to ideas! Nationally known, she has successfully combined her background in business with her experience in sketch comedy and improvisation to create customized workshops for clients, who include AT & T, 3M, GE, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Rainforest Café, The Smithsonian Institution, and the National Cancer Society, among others. For ASTC, she will develop an interactive workshop designed to teach us to think quickly on our feet, especially with attorneys!

Book/Video/Literature Signing & Sales
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Vendor Appreciation Reception
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Dinner & Entertainment
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Alan Blumenfeld, MFA – ACT of Communication, Culver City, CA
Trial Consultant & Acclaimed Actor 

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Saturday Coffee/Bagels
Saturday, June 19, 2010
8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Mediation Skills Workshop
9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Follow-up Discussion

Matt McCusker, M.A. – Tsongas Litigation Consultants, Chicago, IL
Rosalind Greene – Advanced Jury Research, Tucson, AZ

This program will take on the question of how the field of litigation consulting can apply to mediations and other methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Given the continued rise in settlements, the timeline of a civil case is often drastically shortened. However, this does not mean that the same preparation and techniques utilized for trial are not completely applicable to cases that negotiate an agreement. Examples include: witness prep for depositions; case strategy and focus group research to determine what is vital in the discovery process; developing a powerful narrative with accompanying graphics that will significantly increase one’s bargaining position. All of these serve to move the settlement dollar amounts of opposing counsel.

In addition to the presentation, this workshop will include group activities and a panel discussion that brings the perspective of local high-stakes mediators from Minneapolis.

On-Line/Internet Research
9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Follow-up Discussion

David Cannon, Ph.D. – Jury Research Institute, Hermosa Beach, CA
Alan Tuerkheimer, M.A., J.D. - Zagnoli McEvoy Foley, LLC, Chicago, IL

Rapidly changing technology has impacted virtually every profession, and ours is no exception. On this panel, we will address the use of web-based technologies in jury research, focusing on web survey formats. Consultants will share their experiences in the use of these technologies, including limitations, success stories, client responses, and comparisons of findings relative to more traditional methods of jury research. We will also answer questions commonly heard among membership. Joining us on the panel will be an actual vendor with experience recruiting participants for online surveys, who will be able to tell us more about the participants who are serving as online mock jurors. We will close with an eye toward the future. Where is technology taking us, and what will more technologically sophisticated attorneys expect from consultants in the future?  

Business Luncheon
11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Cynthia R. Cohen, Ph.D., ASTC President - Verdict Success, LLC, Manhattan Beach, CA
Ronald Matlon, Ph.D., ASTC Executive Director - Matlon & Associates, Phoenix, MD 

Graphics: How to get the Picture in Your Mind into the Mind of Your Jury
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Follow-up Discussion

Laura Rochelois – By Design Legal Graphics, Inc., Portland, OR
Robert Featherly -
Ric Dexter - Haynes & Boone, LLP, Dallas, TX

What if we could all get on the same page when we collaborate to create persuasive visuals? Join us for an interactive session where you'll learn how graphic consultants think, the language they use and how things get made so you can discuss visual communication more effectively with your clients and with your 'graphics people. You will leave with a better understanding of how to avoid pitfalls, best practices and a new vocabulary to facilitate the creation of persuasive visuals.

Update on Significant Legal Rulings and Implications for Jury Trials
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Follow-up Discussion

Thaddeus Hoffmeister, J.D., LL.M. – University of Dayton, Dayton, OH
Susan Macpherson - National Jury Project/Midwest, Minneapolis, MN

Discussion of significant rulings over the last 10 years and coming on the horizon and how they will affect Jury Trials, with commentary by Susan Macpherson. 

State of the Union on Trial Consulting:
Current Topics and Conundrums Facing Trial Consultants and Our Clients

3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
4:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Follow-up Discussion

Karen Lisko – Persuasion Strategies, Denver, CO

All Star Panel
Beth Bonora - Bonora D'Andrea LLC, San Francisco, CA
Andrew Sheldon - SheldonSinrich, LLC, Atlanta, GA
Dan Wolfe - TrialGraphix/Kroll on Track, Chicago, IL

Join a conversation of varying ranges of exhausted past presidents to discuss the effects of the current state of trial consulting on private practice, what some of their biggest (avoidable) mistakes have been, and their single biggest prediction for the future direction of our profession.

Sponsored by: Tsongas Litigation Consultants

Closing Reception
Saturday, June 19, 2010
4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

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