124 – Malorie Peacock – Why Focus Groups Matter and How To Make the Most of Them

Focus groups can be a pertinent tool for complicated cases to get a sense of how ordinary people think about a case.

Malorie J. Peacock, Partner at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock, uses focus groups to gain an outside perspective on her cases.

“Sometimes you get so wrapped up in the minutiae of your case or some technical details, or you’ve learned the case so well that you think it’s obvious to everybody else,” she explains. “Having that outside perspective is a way to get feedback to make sure you’re not just buying your own bullshit.”

Host Michael Cowen joins in on the discussion with Malorie who recently returned from hosting a focus group for one of her upcoming cases. They share what they’ve learned about focus groups, why you should consider using them in your own cases, how to facilitate them, what you gain from them, and most importantly, how to learn from them to inform your cases.

The episode provides examples of how to use both concept and adversarial focus groups to achieve your objectives, sharing real-life case studies that both Michael and Malorie have seen play out first-hand.

Featured Guest

Name: Malorie J. Peacock

About: Malorie J. Peacock is Partner at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock. She was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, and received her JD from the University of Houston Law Center. During her time with Cowen Rodriguez Peacock, Malorie has worked on numerous commercial vehicle, trucking, and wrongful death cases. Malorie brings close attention to detail, commitment to finding safety issues and areas of neglect, continued utilization of technology and cutting-edge visuals in cases, along with a sincere passion to help those who have been hurt, to each and every case.

Firm: Cowen Rodriguez Peacock 

Connect: LinkedIn

Episode Highlights 

[02:18] Focus groups, defined: Malorie explains that a focus group is simply a group of people who are not associated with your case that allow you to test your strategy and get feedback. 

[05:29] Different ways to test: There are many different ways to employ focus groups to add value to your case. Malorie advises the most important thing is knowing the purpose of the focus group.

[09:38] Bringing out your competitive nature: Michael talks about how adversarial focus groups can help lawyers rehearse for their cases ahead of time while channeling their competitive sides.

[13:41] Focus groups are not predictive of the numbers: Malorie reviews all the different variables that can change between a focus group and a court case that affect the numbers in the final outcome.

[15:21] Expect the unexpected: Michael speaks to how certain rulings from judges or specific facts being presented can have a big impact on how a case proceeds. 

[21:18] Emotional attachments can get in the way: Michael points out that if you’re feeling emotional about a case and can’t run the focus group from a neutral perspective it might be better to hire a third party facilitator. 

[24:35] How to find people to participate: Several different channels can be used to recruit people for focus groups. 

[25:32] The right way to use Facebook ads: Michael provides an overview on how to properly use Facebook ads to recruit participants while maintaining neutrality in the process. 

[35:10] To record or not to record?: Michael and Malorie debate how they prefer to record and document focus groups along with the benefits of each method. 

[45:48] Choosing the right people to present: Malorie advises on how to balance the skills and likeability of two people if you’re holding an adversarial focus group to get good information. 

[53:41] Big Rig Boot Camp: Michael reminds listeners that registration is open for the Big Rig Boot Camp on June 16th in San Antonio, TX.

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In this popular and award-winning podcast for trial lawyers, noteworthy author, sought-after speaker, and renowned trial lawyer, Michael Cowen explores critical topics distinctive to the legal profession with some of the biggest names in the industry – specifically focused on developing extremely efficient law practices, securing a competitive edge in the industry, and wildly excelling in the courtroom.

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