This month’s Texas Bar Journal has an interesting piece about “The Millennial Juror,” which focuses attention on communication styles favored by Gen Y jurors (those born between 1982 and 1995) as well as generational differences in attitudes toward litigation.
Citing the work of jury consultants, demographic studies and a survey of law students in Texas, the authors reached a number of interesting conclusions. Among other things, they noted that Gen Y jurors:
- Want to hear everything up front, quickly summarized, with fewer details and are less likely to take notes.
- Are more tolerant of differences, and thus, expect tolerance.
- Have higher expectations of corporations and government, demanding more transparency in dealing with others.
- May be more defense-oriented in some cases where they expect plaintiffs to be skeptical of authority figures and to take some personal responsibility for protecting themselves.
- Expect the use of current technologies to present evidence at trial.
- Expect video evidence of juror testimony where witnesses are unavailable for trial.
- Expect the use of timeline software to help explain the critical order of events in any given case.
This article illustrates a fundamental point about successful communication – it must take into account the audience. As Karl Llewellyn said roughly a century ago: “When formulating your argument, know your judge [or jury].”