As clients and counsel wrestle with the changing dynamics within litigation and trial work, Bradley has assembled trial lawyers with experience from hundreds of trials and a jury consultant of national standing to present on what is happening in courts across the country and how it is impacting the judicial system as we know it.
The panel will share their insights on the new landscape both inside and outside the courtroom, including remote hearings, virtual jury trials, litigating from home, and how COVID-19 may affect how jurors decide cases.
Jason Bloom, Jury Consultant, Bloom Strategic Consulting
- Plan in advance with the court, your witnesses, and opposing counsel.
- Ensure connectivity and familiarity with the video platform for court, parties and lawyers.
- Practice with exhibits to see what works best for the court and witness to view.
- Remember you are always on camera, so dress professionally, ensure good lighting, and minimize background distractions.
- Virtual jury trials are not likely to catch on. Actual jury trials have begun with precautions and more are scheduled.
- The American College of Trial Lawyers task force report will likely serve as a template for courts across the nation.
- The Hon. Barbara Lynn, chief judge for the North District of Texas, conducted a criminal jury trial June 1-3. Judge Lynn’s protocol was upheld by the Fifth Circuit in a published opinion, allowing the trial to proceed. Judge Lynn is a member of the ACTL task force, and her template for trial, approved by the Fifth Circuit, is likely to be used in other jurisdictions.
- Many jurisdictions around the country have interim orders regarding in-person proceedings, including jury trials, and should be consulted.
Jury Attitudes, Participation, and Decision Making / Mock Trials and Business Interruption
- The virtual deposition favors the witness due to the technology providing the witness with more control and power over the process.
- In-person mock jury studies are still feasible using social distancing and other safety precautions.
- Jury decision making stems more from life experiences and pre-dispositions than demographic features.
- It will be incumbent upon trial counsel to explore in jury selection those who have become energized by the COVID-19 crisis to right perceived social injustices.
Mediations, Depositions, and Remote Hearings
- Make sure the mediator is proficient with the technology being used for virtual mediations.
- Virtual depositions require more preparation and discipline than an in-person deposition.
- Go into your deposition knowing how you will handle a technology failure.