Barnes & Thornburg LLP has formed a new non-legal subsidiary and has hired a key professional to help lead the new entity. ThemeVision LLC, a trial consulting firm, offers jury research and advocacy analysis services to law firms and litigants nationwide.
Previously a service of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, ThemeVision LLC is now a wholly owned non-legal services subsidiary of Barnes & Thornburg and is one of only a few law firm affiliated businesses of its kind. Clients can contract with ThemeVision for a variety of trial consulting services, including jury research, community attitude surveys, jury selection, demonstrative exhibit testing, post-trial juror interviews, and mock hearings and bench trials. These services can aid in the preparation for litigation or alternative dispute resolution.
In anticipation of continued growth, ThemeVision recruited Dr. Christina Studebaker. Studebaker, a social psychologist with more than 10 years of experience in juror and jury decision making, joins Dr. Dennis P. Stolle, who created the original ThemeVision service with Barnes & Thornburg’s Litigation Department Chair Robert D. MacGill in 1999.
“ThemeVision has made great strides since its inception,” MacGill said. “Barnes & Thornburg’s litigation department has used the service in cases throughout the country. We have seen the value of this service in utilizing state-of-the-art social science to help predict key aspects of decision making by courts and juries.”
ThemeVision’s services are available to Barnes & Thornburg clients as well as other law firms and their clients. “For years, Barnes & Thornburg has been one of only a handful of law firms in the country to offer sophisticated jury research services in house. Today, more and more trial lawyers are recognizing the importance of this type of trial preparation. As a result, corporations and law firms are increasingly seeking the trial consulting services that ThemeVision offers,” said Stolle.
“Forming ThemeVision as a separate business entity was simply the logical next step in our continued growth,” Stolle added. “The separate business structure will allow ThemeVision to better serve its clients beyond Barnes & Thornburg,” he added. “We are excited that Dr. Studebaker has joined us to help take ThemeVision to the next level.”
Studebaker, who is recognized for her knowledge of the impact of pretrial publicity on juror decision making, previously worked as a research associate at the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C. She received her doctorate in social psychology from Northwestern University in 1996 and completed post-doctoral training in jury decision making at the University of Nebraska, where she also earned a master’s degree in legal studies.
“As the best trial lawyers have become more sophisticated about the methods and social science underlying jury research, they have come to demand trial consultants who are respected social scientists in their own right, are skilled communicators, and who bring hands on experience with trials and jury decision making,” Stolle said. “This combination is difficult to find but is in high demand. Dr. Studebaker fits this profile.”
ThemeVision’s offices are located in the Barnes & Thornburg building in Indianapolis, but it consults on trials throughout the country. “We know Indiana juries,” said Stolle. “But our services have long been national in scope. We often work in remote locations that many trial lawyers consider to be high-risk venues. Experienced lawyers know that the quality of the research means everything, and if obtaining quality means hiring a Midwestern trial consultant to work on a case on the West Coast, then that is what they do.”
With nearly 450 attorneys and other legal professionals, Barnes & Thornburg LLP is one of the largest law firms in the Midwest and was ranked as one of the top 100 law firms in the United States according to the National Law Journal’s 2004 survey. The firm serves clients worldwide from its offices in Chicago; Elkhart, Ind.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Indianapolis; South Bend, Ind.; and Washington, D.C.