Posted by: johnocunningham | April 10, 2012

Persuading the Gen Y Juror

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].”

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