Case Plus: Focus Groups for Plaintiff Cases | The American Association For Justice

Case Plus: Focus Groups for Plaintiff Cases

June 6, 2019 to June 9, 2019
Program Information:

Sponsored by Lisa Blue and Williams Hart Boundas Easterby, LLP

About the Program:

Focus groups are invaluable tools for finding the key issues and weaknesses in your case before taking it into the courtroom – but they can be time-consuming and expensive to run. AAJ Education’s Case Plus: Focus Groups for Plaintiff Cases takes the guesswork out of conducting your own focus groups.

At Case Plus, you’ll not only participate in three focus groups, screened and recruited by AAJ staff specifically for your case, you’ll work with an experienced faculty member who will guide you in preparing for your focus groups, asking the right questions, and analyzing the results. And, you’ll get individual instruction in shaping your case presentation using your groups’ feedback. Plus, you can bring an additional member of your trial team at no cost!

Registration Fee:

AAJ Members: $6,995

This program is full and registration has closed. Please call AAJ Education at 800-622-1791 with any questions.

See what previous attendees have to say:

"This weekend was an eye-opening experience. The presenters had great thoughts and tools to share with participants. It was very insightful and well worth the cost and time."
 -   Melanie Bailey, Cincinnati, OH

"The Case Plus program is a great way to learn the strengths and weaknesses of your case. You will learn how to conduct a focus group and use them to bolster and evaluate cases."
-    Daryl T. Dixon, Paducah, KY

“I learned a ton of useful feedback on my case that will greatly add to its likelihood of a successful conclusion.  I also picked up much that will make me a better lawyer.  In my nearly 40 years of practice, this is the most beneficial program for my clients.”
-    Kenneth M. Trombly, Washington, DC

“Case Plus is like being a partner in one of the most powerful plaintiff firms in the country for a weekend of non-stop development. As soon as I finish my current case, I would like to come back and do this all over again on another case.”
-    Tony J. Brock, Lincoln, NE

“This was the best, most cost-effective way to not only test my case, but to learn these techniques.”
-    Richard Plattner, Phoenix, AZ

Contact Education 800.622.1791 | 202.965.3500, ext. 8612 |


Thursday, June 6

5:30 - 6:00pm

Evening Session (Dinner Provided)
6:00 - 9:15pm
• Welcome and Introductions
• Rules for Getting the Most Out of Focus Groups
• Developing Your Trial Story and Juror Decision Making
• Participants and Faculty Planning Session

Friday, June 7

Networking Breakfast
7:00 - 8:00pm

Morning Session
8:00am - 1:15pm
• Concept Focus Group (Participant One)
• Concept Focus Group (Participant Two)

Afternoon Session
1:15 - 6:30pm
• Using Focus Group Information to Shape Your Case Presentation
• Individual Case Analysis: Developing the Trial Story and Preparing for First Structured Focus Group

Saturday, June 8

Networking Breakfast
7:00 - 8:00am

Morning Session
8:00am - 1:15pm
• Structured Focus Group (Participant Two)
• Structured Focus Group (Participant One)

Lunch Break
1:15 - 2:15pm

Afternoon Session
2:15 - 5:45pm
• Individual Case Analysis: Developing the Trial Story and Preparing for Second Structured Focus Group

Sunday, June 9

Networking Breakfast
7:00 - 8:00am

Morning Session
8:00am - 1:15pm
• Structured Focus Group (Participant One)
• Structured Focus Group (Participant Two)

Afternoon Session
1:30 - 3:30pm
• Individual Case Analysis: Developing the Trial Story and Synthesizing the Focus Group Results

Invited Faculty:

Jeffrey D. Boyd

Jeffrey D. Boyd has been a trial lawyer since 1982 and has tried over 100 civil jury trials to verdict.  In addition to his private practice, since 1997, Mr. Boyd has worked as a trial consultant with a unique, highly interactive approach focusing on what real people think about his clients’ cases.  Mr. Boyd also does individual trial coaching, witness preparation, theme development, voir dire, mock trials, and strategic analysis.  Mr. Boyd received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Kent State University and his law degree from The Ohio State University. While in Ohio, he was a board member of the Ohio Association for Justice, where he was awarded their President’s Award.  He is active in the American Association for Justice and received their Wiedeman Wysocki Award.  Mr. Boyd is a board member of the Washington State Association for Justice and is a past editor of Trial News.  He is also a member of the Western Trial Lawyers Association and the Melvin M. Belli Society.  In addition to being the president of Boyd Trial Consulting, Mr. Boyd is a partner in the Seattle-based law firm of Nelson Boyd, PLLC and concentrates his practice in traumatic brain injury, serious personal injury, insurance coverage, bad faith insurance, legal malpractice, and consumer class action litigation.  Nelson Boyd, PLLC is a member of the American Association for Justice’s Leaders Forum.

Thomas W. DIllon

Thomas W. Dillon is a partner at Konicek & Dillon, P.C., where he concentrates his practice in trucking company negligence, personal injury, wrongful death litigation, nursing home negligence, legal malpractice, conflict of interest, and fiduciary duty claims.  Mr. Dillon has successfully argued legal malpractice litigation in the Illinois Supreme Court.  He is a member of the Leading Lawyers Network and has been included in the Illinois Super Lawyers.  In addition to teaching for the American Association for Justice’s (AAJ) National College of Advocacy (NCA), Mr. Dillon has been an invited speaker for the Illinois State Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association Mutual Insurance Company, Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company, the Association of Transportation Law Professionals, and the Workers Compensation Lawyers Association, Ltd.  Mr. Dillon is a member of the AAJ’s Aviation Law Section, Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway, and Premises Liability Section, Professional Negligence Section, Child Sex Abuse Litigation Group, Nursing Homes Litigation Group, and Qui Tam Litigation Group.  Konicek & Dillon, P.C. has offices in Chicago and Geneva, Illinois.

Carrie R. Frank

Carrie R. Frank is a partner with Klein Frank, P.C. in Boulder, Colorado, where she concentrates her practice in personal injury and products liability litigation.  She has consistently been recognized as a leading attorney in her field, has been voted a Colorado Super Lawyer since 2009, rated as one of the top 3000 attorneys by LawDragon, and listed in Best Lawyers in America since 2012.  She is a Diplomate of the American Association for Justice’s (AAJ) National College of Advocacy (NCA) and has completed AAJ’s Advanced Studies in Trial Advocacy; she is only one of a handful of female attorneys who has obtained those designations.  Ms. Frank is a past chair of the American Association for Justice Products Liability Section and a past president of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association.  She teaches nationwide and has taught at ATLA’s Ultimate Trial Advocacy Course: Art of Persuasion and Mega College.  She is a co-chair of the NCA Board of Trustees.  Ms. Frank also has a Master’s degree in social work, which is valuable for her work as a trial consultant and in running focus groups.

Lauren D. Fraser

Lauren D. Fraser is a partner at the law firm of The Fraser Firm, LLC where she heads the Personal Injury Practice Group. Ms. Fraser serves on the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) and is co chair of its Amicus Committee. She is the director and a founding member of the Women’s Entrepreneurial Network, is a member of the New Jersey Association of Justice, and is a past-president of the Sussex County Bar Association. Ms. Fraser served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Karen D. Russell, J.S.C. in the Superior Court of New Jersey. She was selected as the New Jersey Law Journal’s 2012 New Leader of the Bar, has been listed as a New Jersey Monthly Magazine “Super Lawyer for Personal Injury Law” since 2008, and was ranked as “Top 20 Under 40 Business Leaders” in 2009 by the New Jersey Herald. Ms. Fraser is the author of two young adult fantasy novels, Trinity and Queen Makers. Her first, Trinity, was published in 2012 and was a best-seller on Amazon.  Ms. Fraser speaks nationally on trial preparation and presentation. The Fraser Law Firm, LLC is located in Sparta, New Jersey.

Phillip H. Miller

Phillip H. Miller has an exclusively personal injury practice.  Mr. Miller has handled a wide range of cases including trucking litigation, nursing home claims, pharmaceutical torts, and day care center child abuse.  In addition to his law practice, Mr. Miller has extensive experience working as a trial consultant on a wide variety of cases.  He is a former member of the American Association for Justice’s (AAJ) National College of Advocacy (NCA) Board of Trustees, a Diplomate of AAJ’s NCA and a past president of the Tennessee Association for Justice.  Mr. Miller is a member of AAJ’s Jury Bias Litigation Group.  He is the coauthor (with Paul Scoptur) of Focus Groups: Hitting the Bull’s-Eye (AAJ Press 2016); Advanced Depositions Skills (AAJ Press/Trial Guides 2013), has produced a DVD of the same title, and a DVD on The Defense Medical Examiner.  Miller Law Offices is located in Nashville, Tennessee.

Deborah M. Nelson

Deborah M. Nelson is a magna cum laude graduate of Armstrong Atlantic State University, in Savannah, Georgia and the University of Cincinnati College of Law.  She is a partner in the Seattle-based law firm of Nelson Boyd, PLLC, as well as Boyd Trial Consulting. Ms. Nelson served as president of the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association (now the Washington State Association for Justice). She has also served as president of the Council of Presidents, member of the Executive Committee, and a State Delegate for the American Association for Justice (AAJ).  Ms. Nelson is a past chair of AAJ’s Insurance Law Section.  Ms. Nelson is a Fellow and board member of the Melvin M. Belli Society and a member of the Public Justice and Western Trial Lawyers Association.  Ms. Nelson has been named a Super Lawyer by Washington Law & Politics magazine every year since 2003, was twice named the Best Lawyer in Clallam County, awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Clallam Pro Bono Lawyers, the Alvin Anderson Award from the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association, the Woman of Distinction Award by Soroptimist International, and was named a Distinguished Alumni by Armstrong Atlantic State University.  Ms. Nelson is a frequent speaker and author on traumatic brain injury, personal injury, insurance litigation, trial advocacy and legal malpractice.  Nelson Boyd, PLLC is a member of the American Association for Justice’s Leaders Forum.

Jerome F. O'Neill, course advisor

Jerome F. O’Neill, course advisor, concentrates his practice in litigation on behalf of injured persons and their survivors and commercial litigation.  He has served three times as a cochair of the American Association for Justice’s (AAJ) National College of Advocacy (NCA) Board of Trustees, is cochair of AAJ’s Jury Bias Litigation Group chair of the Child Sex Abuse Litigation Group.  He has served as cochair of the Election Committee, chair of the Litigation Group Leaders Council, and member of the Organization Review Committee and Judicial Independence Committee. He has been a member of the AAJ Board of Governors for over 30 years. He has taught nationwide on trial advocacy topics and was the senior partner of O’Neill Kellner & Green for 26 years prior to joining Gravel & Shea.  He is “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell and received the Wiedemann & Wysocki Award from AAJ in 2012 and the AAJ Distinguished Service Award in 2016.  He is a Fellow of the International Society of Barristers; a past president of the Vermont Trial Lawyers Association; a past president of the National Crime Victim Bar Association and member of the Vermont Supreme Court Evidence Rules Advisory Committee.  Gravel & Shea, PC is located in Burlington, Vermont.


The room block for this program has now closed. Please contact if you did not or were unable to make reservations before the cutoff as AAJ may have hotel rooms on hold available.

The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center
1 East Pershing Road
Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone: (816) 474-4400


Who should attend:

This college is open to AAJ Members (Regular, Life, Sustaining, President’s Club, and Leaders Forum). Bring a second member of your trial team at no additional cost!


Call us. We'll provide you with names and phone numbers of previous attendees of AAJ Education programs who will be pleased to answer your questions. Or, if you prefer to speak with a course advisor or faculty member, we will arrange that as well. Call 800.622.1791 or 202.965.3500, extension 8612.

MCLE/NCA Requirements:

AAJ has filed for MCLE credit in the appropriate jurisdictions.  Registered participants can receive 28* CLE credits depending on the jurisdiction and will be applied to your participation in AAJ’s professional recognition programs. AAJ Education programs are routinely accredited by states requiring continuing legal education. CLE questions may be addressed by reading our FAQ or calling the CLE Coordinator at 800-622-1791 or 202-965-3500, ext. 8612.​

Click here to learn more about AAJ's Professional Recognition Programs, Achievement Recognition Program (ARP) and Advanced Studies in Trial Advocacy (ASTA), or call 800.622.1791 or 202.965.3500, ext. 8612. The Achievement Recognition Program (ARP) provides Advocate, Fellow, and Diplomate recognition to AAJ members. To gain ARP credits, submit a certificate of attendance for every seminar, college, and convention you attend.

* Number of credits may vary depending on calculation method used by individual state accreditation agencies. AAJ is a State Bar of California MCLE-approved provider.

Special Assistance:

AAJ Education will make every effort to ensure that its meetings are held in facilities that are fully accessible to persons with mobility disabilities. If you plan to attend our program and need special facilities or assistance relating to a disability, please call 800-622-1791 or 202-965-3500, ext. 8612.

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellations received in writing on or before May 22, 2019, will result in a refund less a 10% administrative charge. Cancellations received in writing May 23-29, 2019, will result in a voucher for the 50% of the registration fee, which may be applied toward any AAJ Education college, seminar, or webinar held within one calendar year of the date of issue. Requests for refunds or vouchers received within one week of the program will not be honored. AAJ is not responsible for any room cancellation fees or other travel fees which result from your cancellation. Cancellation requests must be made in writing. Fax or email your cancellation letter to the registrar at 202-625-7084 or

Contribute to the AAJ Education Fund:

Please consider a donation to the AAJ Education Fund 501(c)(3). Contributions support educational programs and activities to preserve and protect the civil justice system. Learn more>>

Terms and Conditions:

The American Association for Justice reserves the right to, in its sole discretion, refuse entrance to the event and/or remove any individual from the event whose behavior is disruptive and/or is not consistent with the character and purpose of the event. All American Association for Justice badges are the property of the American Association for Justice and must be returned upon request.

By registering for this AAJ Education program, you agree to receive electronic, written, and telephonic communication from AAJ staff regarding the program and to have your name, firm, city, and state included on the participant and exhibitor/sponsor roster.  AAJ may also need to contact you to service your membership record or to provide you with information about your membership, products and services, and advocacy and legislative updates.  By providing your contact information, including phone number, fax number, and email address, you consent and give permission for AAJ to contact you by any of those means, which may include calls to your mobile phone, faxes, or emails. You may contact AAJ at any time to change your preferences.

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