Juror 12 is adrift. It's not that he doesn't care about the contract dispute tediously unfolding in the courtroom. Who knows -- he might be the kind of natural leader who can rally 11 wafflers behind closed doors during deliberations. The real problem with this hopelessly distracted juror is his irrepressible urge to grab his BlackBerry, manage his bloated e-mail folder and cram as much business as possible into each recess.
Meet today's juror, so overloaded with information that he can barely focus on the important things in his own life. Chances are, more than half the jurors on any given panel belong to Generation X or, even worse, Generation Y -- raised with a television in every room, surfing the Internet, cell phones in their pockets and iPods in their ears.
Still, connecting and engaging with jurors these days is not simply a generational problem; it's a struggle for everyone. Nor is the challenge limited to the courtroom. Like everyone, jurors live in a dynamic information marketplace that bombards them with data day and night. With smart phones and personal digital assistants now ubiquitous, jurors no longer are able to leave their obligations behind when they enter the courthouse. As a result, attorneys accustomed to presenting complex cases orally, in artificial sequences and without visual stimulus, can no longer expect jurors to pay attention.
The business world has already taken note of this phenomenon in the marketplace. Authors Thomas Davenport and John Beck suggest that business leaders should treat their employees' attention as a scarce resource and search for the best way to capture that attention for as long as possible in order to communicate core issues. Thomas H. Davenport and John C. Beck, "A New Perspective on Business: Welcome to the Attention Economy," Harv. Bus. Sch. Press (2001).
Trial lawyers can do the same, treating jurors' available bandwidth as a commodity and borrowing communication strategies from the worlds of marketing, education and advertising to capture more of this scarce resource.To Continue Reading: Click Here
By: Trey Cox