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WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

JURY’S STILL OUT  –  In the July 27th edition of our Law.com Trendspotter column, we discussed how alternatives to in-person jury trials were gaining traction. At the time, along with nudging more litigants toward bench trials and traditional alternative dispute resolution methods, a number of courts were conducting experiments with virtual jury trials. Still, the vibe way back then (a month-and-a-half ago) was that most lawyers and judges were crossing their fingers that they wouldn’t actually have to resort to conducting remote jury trials regularly. But now, a solid six months into the pandemic, trial-by-video-jury—at least in the civil context—is beginning to morph from experiment to expectation. And while lawyers aren’t totally sold on the concept, a growing chorus of judges is making clear that it may be the only way to keep their dockets moving. In this week’s Trendspotter column, we dig into why judges are increasingly pushing for virtual jury trials and why some lawyers are pushing back.