Long jury trials helped spur tort reform, but the reduction in jury trials has hurt lawyers’ skills, including management of jury time that tort reformers intended to protect. Worse, jurors’ (read: humans’) attention spans are shorter than ever. Lawyers, penned up in their offices, are poor candidates for entertaining 12 strangers when those strangers have become accustomed to the instant gratification every juror has available on a mobile device.
Thus we read reports from complex cases about jurors who “look like they’re melting with boredom,” with “[e]ye rubbing, looking around, dozing, [and] twitching,” as Bloomberg News courtroom reporter Christie Smythe noted in a complex securities-fraud trial in December 2017. This negative feedback loop threatens a chaotic death spiral of bad trial lawyering, like a serpent eating its tail.
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