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Beth Bonora

2011 Conference


Beth Bonora has been zealously providing consulting services for the advocates she worked with for more than 40 years. In the early 1970’s, before there was an ASTC or a trial consulting field, there was just a group of folks working toward the goal of ensuring a fair jury where it was not likely that there would be one. Beth Bonora was among those pioneers who were committed to social justice and to training others to take up the challenge of jury work.

The first case Beth worked on took several years and demonstrated the value of jury workers in supporting the trial team by preparing a change of venue motion followed by successful jury composition challenge. Using a survey to support a change of venue motion was still a new technique back then, and it required a huge undertaking with no funding. But that effort paled in comparison to the effort required for the jury composition challenge. The team discovered that the new county where the case was moved underrepresented women, African-Americans and young people. Through many months of careful research Beth and her team developed a challenge that the judge could not ignore.

Beth went on to help attorneys representing the Attica Prison inmates involved in prison rebellion. Selecting a fair jury was challenging and complex. False pretrial publicity claimed the inmates committed unspeakable acts of violence during the uprising. The jury selection strategy involved a survey and Beth helped to refine the new survey techniques that Jay Shulman began to develop in earlier trials involving unpopular, antiwar protesters.

To further develop the field of jury work, Beth contributed several chapters to a manual called “The Jury System: New Methods for Reducing Prejudice A Manual for Lawyers and Social Scientists.” In 1975, Beth and others formed the National Jury Project, an organization of jury consultants committed to pursuing social justice. Business and commercial litigators soon recognized the value of jury consultants, and Beth found herself immersed in antitrust work. In 1979 Beth and Elissa Krauss became the editors for National Jury Project’s two volume manual called Jurywork: Systematic Techniques, designed to bring together relevant tools and research from law, sociology and psychology to promote a better understanding of the jury system and jury behavior. In 2000, Beth left NJP and with her partner, Idgi D’Andrea, founded a new firm, Bonora D’Andrea, LLC

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