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Combine trials with market research techniques

Student | Andrew ChenThroughout the years, jury trial participation in legal outcomes has decreased.  In the United States, less than 4% of criminal cases and 1% of civil cases are determined by juries.  Because of the high-cost and inefficient nature of the current jury trial process, most trials are resolved in summary judgments or settlement pleads, which are determined by judges.  One argument is that the current jury trial environment fosters a lack of engagement amongst jurors and lawyers, which results in a lengthy and costly process.  However, drawing on this current lack of engagement, lawyers can implement certain practices from Integrating Marketing Communications [IMC] in order to improve current practices and make arguments more effective.  This paper focuses on the facilitation of communication in a jury trial environment guided by core principles of IMC, such as creative consistency, research, and artificial intelligence (AI).

One way the judicial system can apply the principle of creative consistency in a jury trial process is the adoption of a dynamic platform whose main purpose is to provide lawyers with standard visual and storytelling tools and connect lawyers to a network of registered court officials.  The platform would allow lawyers to create sleek and easy-to-understand presentations with minimal effort.  The platform would also auto-generate graphical representations of common scenarios, such as DUI, attempted murder, and robbery, from a variety of pre-designed fixed templates.  Lawyers and their team would simply have to input relevant information in certain fields and drag-and-drop files, such as images and videos.  By implementing templates into the trial process, one is also integrating the visual aspect of storytelling that engages jurors and thus provides a clear understanding of the circumstance revolving the case. 

Another important aspect of any IMC strategy is the research that backs it up.  When applying research to a jury trial environment, once could conduct research on multiple trials for a continuous period of time.  Much like how corporations conduct focus groups prior to the release of a marketing campaign, the judicial system could adopt “smart room” in certain courthouses throughout the country.  By doing so, one could potentially obtain data from a representative audience while minimizing cost in the long-term.  Each “smart-room” would include twelve tablets in the jury booth, one for each juror.  Each tablet would be connected to a central server which gives them access to case materials, live chat capabilities, internal research, and rating systems.  Through the use of “smart rooms,” jurors are able to engage in real-time live chat that would allow them to talk among themselves and share insight while the trial is in session.  In the event that any member for the jury has doubts about certain legal concepts or case precedents, they are allowed to conduct research on their own through the use of an internal search engine regulated but the judicial system. 

A recent development in the IMC field is the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI).  AI has been used to analyze information and identify patterns with the goal of identifying information that might have previously gone unseen or would have been considered circumstantial.  With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), tech giants, such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, have been able to target people based on their search results and purchases.  Most importantly, AI can use its text analytics and machine learning capabilities to potentially find patterns in data that can tell a story.  By integrating AI software into a legal environment, legal teams could greatly reduce the time needed to find, analyze, prioritize, and prepare case materials.  Legal teams could also rely on AI to predict legal outcomes based on the precedents, legal principles, and rationale of U.S. Supreme Court cases. Through pattern recognition, AI can predict the future litigation of cases by simply cross-referencing current case information with past results.  Such an initiative would require work alongside lawyers to teach AI programs to think like them. 

Moving forward, the judicial system should make a genuine attempt to experiment with various ways to make the jury trial process more efficient.  One could agree with the idea of settling disputes through peaceful arbitration without the need to go to court if possible.  However, the rapid decrease of jury trials in legal litigation is due to its costly and time-consuming nature.  Thus, the legal system has shifted towards a heavy reliance on the legal professionals’ discretion to predetermine the fate of an individual being charged.  In no profession should outside participation be limited.  It is essential to maintain juror participation in criminal justice as it embodies the spirit of a democratic nation.  With the integration IMC principles, such as creative consistency, research, and artificial intelligence, the legal industry, as well as the judicial system, could make monumental strides towards the construction of a more engaging jury trial process.  

 

 

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Andrew Chen, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Fall 2017 Media Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response being asked how his major, Integrated Marketing Communications, could improve the trial process. 

  • Pepperdine Student Comments
  • Jan 10, 2018

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