Leslie Ellis, Ph.D.


Northeast Division

Dr. Leslie Ellis is a Director in DecisionQuest’s Washington, D.C. office. She has conducted research on legal decision making for over 25 years and has consulted on hundreds of cases. She works with attorneys on high-risk and complex civil cases to develop themes and storylines, settlement and trial strategies, witness preparation, voir dire and jury selection. She assists clients in jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations and regulatory hearings.

Utilizing her strong research background and many years of investigating legal decision making, Dr. Ellis provides quantitative and qualitative analysis through initial case assessments, focus groups, mock trials, issues analyses, damages assessments, large scale surveys and venue analyses. Her research interests include the dynamics of the jury, judge and arbitrator decision making, the relationship between juries’ liability and damages decisions, how juries decide damage awards, jury reform and minority representation on juries.

Dr. Ellis has been involved in a wide range of high-stakes and high-profile cases, including securities fraud, accounting/auditing fraud, False Claims Act, antitrust, intellectual property, insurance, mortgage fraud, white collar crime, contract, toxic tort, products liability, class action and employment matters. She is a frequent speaker on the topic of juror, judge and arbitrator decision making.



  • American Society of Trial Consultants (Current President)
  • American Bar Association
  • Women’s Bar Association of D.C.
  • American Psychology-Law Society
  • American Psychological Association
  • University Club of D.C.

Select Speaking Engagements:

  • “Inside the Black Box: How Psychology Informs the Arbitration,” Istanbul Arbitration Center’s Psychology of International Arbitration Conference, Istanbul, Turkey (2019)
  • “Effective Voir Dire,” National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Washington, D.C. (2016)
  • “Wild Card Judges: Cognitive Error and Bias in Judicial Decision Making,” DRI Drug and Medical Device Seminar, Chicago, IL (2016)
  • “Effective Presentation of Expert Witness Testimony,” SEAK Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.  (2015)
  • “Jurors and Social Media,” ABA Litigation Section Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA (2015)

Select Publications: 

  • Ellis, “Inside the Black Box: How Psychology Informs the Arbitration Hearing,” (in publication)
  • Ellis and S. Schwartz, “The Rising Importance of Social Media in the Courtroom,” For the Defense (2017)
  • Ellis, “Are Juries Really Such a Wildcard Compared with Judges?,” American Bar Association Mass Torts Litigation (2015)
  • Ellis, B.D. McAuliffe and M. Phillips, “May It Please the Court: A social-cognitive primer on persuasion in legal contexts” in Handbook on Trial Consulting (Eds. Richard L. Weiner and Brian H. Bornstein), Springer, New York City, NY (2011)
  • Diamond, N. Vidmar, M. Rose, L. Ellis & B. Murphy, “Jury Discussions During Civil Trials: Studying an Arizona Innovation,” Arizona Law Review, 45:1 (2003)


University of Illinois, Chicago
Ph.D., Social Psychology

University of Illinois, Chicago
M.A., Social Psychology

Northwestern University
B.A., Psychology