How Will You Prepare for Jurors of the Future?

In a few years, a generation of kids who apparently can’t pay attention long enough to read to the end of this sentence will find themselves sitting in jury boxes. Keith Lee at Associates Mind says “You have to provide [millenials] their panem et circenses whether you like it or not.” In response, Scott Greenfield throws up his hands: “it’s unclear whether the nature of a criminal trial offers the defense any solution.”

Are we really in for a horde of jurors with twitching thumbs ghost-typing as they snooze through a trial? I’m not so sure millenials are as inattentive as all that. A recent Pew survey (HT: The Panic Virus) found that “across the board, people who use the internet and other digital devices — such as cell phones, tablet computers, and e-book readers — are more frequent readers than non-users.”

It’s not directly on point, but I think reading probably correlates well with attention span. If that’s true, maybe it’s not all doom and gloom for the trial lawyers of the future.


  1. Avatar Guest says:

    Litigation is a zero sum game.
    If your case bores the jury because there are no fancy graphics, so does your opponents.

    Of course, the point that we should learn video technology for jury trials is well taken.

    Realistically, most of us won’t have many cases, that go to trial, where there is enough money at stake to put on a fancy video show. But first adopters, will have an advantage.

  2. We have always used presentations in our opening first it was blow ups then elmo, then projector, then flat screen TV, now its an iPad.
    Have to keep them engaged.

  3. Avatar Jason Hutchison says:

    I’d like to see frequent commenter (commentator?) Susan Gainen’s thoughts on this; I think the understanding of how to relate to Millennials is a core part of her business.

    The really interesting question, to me, is the interplay of Millennials with aging Boomers on juries. Juries are made up of a cross-section of the county, not just one generation. What do I need to do to make points with both the younger and older members? I think if I get too whiz-bang techno-centric, I’m going to lose the older folks. Maybe I should change my name to Matlock? But I think this is a real issue: people are living longer; we’re going to see a more generationally-diverse mix on the panel. I think that a lot of conventional wisdom about who becomes fore-person goes out the window when you get more millenials on-board (who, to oversimplify the ‘conventional wisdom,’ are: more collaborative, believe their opinions really do matter and should be heard, less likely to defer to age/ experience in decision making, more consensus-building, etc.)

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