Don’t Lose Your Jury in the Science: Tips to Combat Jury Fatigue
Attention spans are shorter than ever. And if you are trying a case that’s chock-full of complex scientific, medical, financial, or technical particulars, the risk is real for disengaged jurors.
We may not be lawyers, but we’ve participated in and observed 100s of jury trials and witnessed the ‘usual suspects’ of a disengaged jury pool that you don’t always get to see: the dozer, the glassy-eyed, the fidgeter, the audible sigher, and the watch checker, just to name a few who express their distance from the speakers and discussions.
Unfortunately, sometimes getting lost in a jungle of details is unavoidable to properly present the facts of a case. But for many jurors, your opening arguments may be the first time they’ve been exposed to these types of details. Pairing a compelling story with the right visuals using the right technology can help increase a jury’s level of engagement and comprehension—and affect the outcome of a case. The secret is finding the right balance of emotion and complex detail.
Just recently, JURIS LTS assisted with a personal injury trial. While the lawyer detailed important minutiae of the car accident, several on the jury “checked out”. Had the attorney taken every opportunity to show the available photos of the smashed vehicle while explaining the details, it could have helped convince the jury that the accident that resulted in “a picture of a car like that” clearly caused harm to the driver. You’ve heard it before: A picture is worth a 1,000 words. The pictures, if shown repeatedly, or alongside the technical details, would have been more memorable overall.
Here are some techniques to balance detail and imagery to keep jurists engaged and connected to your message and deliver a positive trial outcome.
Make it pop
When you pair strong, emotional, and memorable visuals and sound with complex language, you create an impactful and compelling story. Professional, multimedia presentations combining images, audio, video, documents, and other forms of evidence into a single presentation, stimulate your audience, keeping them more involved in the trial.
Break it down
When it comes to technical-driven trials, offering bite-sized pieces of complex details can help jurors more easily understand –and remember– the concept you are introducing. For videos, audio, and other evidence documents, edit them so they focus on the important pieces of the puzzle. When you share the “whole pie” one time, you risk memorable impact.
Zoom in on it
For key technical phrases and other jargon that doesn’t come second nature to jurors, put them on a screen and leave them there, zooming in on them in documents if appropriate, throughout the discussion to give them context and help frame your argument.
Repeating the use of technical turns and emotional visuals with key technical language throughout the trial, and especially during closing arguments, is an effective way to get your points across to jurors and make them stick.
As the legal technology partner in preparation for and during jury trials—both plaintiff and defense—JURIS LTS is keenly aware of and adept at sharing the right visuals with your arguments. Consider us your mock trial. We take trial experience and legal tech and pair it with fresh eyes. We see it just like a jury sees it.