Read the latest from and about The Focal Point

OAKLAND, CA / DALLAS, TX—(October 7, 2013)—The country’s leading trial consulting firm, The Focal Point LLC, announced this week the opening of an office in Dallas, Texas.

The firm also announced the addition of James B. Stiff, Ph.D., merging his existing Texas-based trial consulting firm, Trial Analysts, with The Focal Point. As senior director of jury consulting, Stiff will lead the firm’s national jury consulting division. Located at 211 N. Record Street, the office will provide trial strategy, jury consulting, trial graphics and animation, and courtroom technology services.

Chris Ritter, partner and chief of visual trial strategy, indicated that The Focal Point and Trial Analysts collaborated over an eight-year period on various projects and cases prior to the merge. “Each time we worked with Jim we always ended up hoping that we would find a way to combine his company’s considerable talents with ours. We are pleased to have finally done so,” Ritter said.

Stiff has extensive experience conducting research and jury selections for patent cases in the Eastern District of Texas and is frequently involved in areas such as commercial contracts, intellectual property, securities, environmental, employment, and professional malpractice.

“Jim brings a rigorous research and academic background to his approach to jury consulting, making him a real jury consulting power-house,” said Scott Hilton, the firm’s managing partner. “We’re very excited that he has joined our team.”

Stiff has more than 23 years’ experience as a jury consultant, specializing in complex litigation involving more than 450 cases. In 2000, Stiff co-founded Trial Analysts, a Texas-based litigation consulting firm with a national practice. 

Clients routinely engage Stiff in a wide variety of consulting activities, including case theme development, witness preparation, focus group and mock trial research, community attitude surveys, jury selection, shadow juries, and post-trial interviews.

Stiff received his Ph.D. in communication from Michigan State University (1985). His scholarly interests include persuasive communication, credibility assessment, and human information processing. Stiff has authored more than 20 articles in academic journals and published two scholarly books, one on persuasive communication and another on the topic of deceptive communication. Stiff has also been an award-winning professor at Michigan State University, Arizona State University, and the University of Kansas. 

Ritter, based in the firm’s Oakland, Calif. office, will be splitting time to join the Dallas team. Ritter joined The Focal Point in 1998 after several years as a partner and trial lawyer at a major San Francisco law firm.

As a former faculty member at University of California Hastings College of the Law, where he taught trial practice, evidence, and legal writing, Ritter focuses on clarifying the complex and making esoteric themes understandable and compelling. His courtroom experience also includes creating strategically sound, clearly delineated, and creatively convincing presentations and storylines designed to win. Landmark casework includes: Microsoft v. Google, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Bayer Corp, and Perry v. Schwarzenegger.

A graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, Ritter has written three books all published by the American Bar Association, regularly publishes articles with major legal news outlets, and serves as The Focal Point’s general counsel.

The Focal Point, established 24 years ago, provides full trial preparation services, including litigation strategy, jury consulting, trial graphics, animation, courtroom technology, and war room support. The firm has worked on some of the largest litigation in recent years, ranging from complex commercial disputes to white collar defense and intellectual property cases, and involving matters ranging from securities and criminal cases to environmental and employment issues, including Colorado v. Kobe Bean Bryant, the Deepwater Horizon litigation, Microsoft v. Google, California v. Scott Peterson, University of California v. Genentech, ColorQuick v. Vistaprint, and Rambus, Inc. v. Micron Technology, Inc.