Recently, the DRI Jury Service Task Force published its paper (which can be downloaded on the DRI website) in which the Task Force analyzed strategies for promoting jury participation in the civil justice system. The Task Force uncovered some startling statistics. In some jurisdictions 50% of the people summoned failed to appear and in others the undeliverable rate for jury summonses to minorities was 40%.
While it was enlightening to learn of the many organizations that have studied and researched jury issues, these organizations do not relieve us of our responsibility to promote jury service. A well funtioning jury system preserves public confidence and presents a viable alternative to binding arbitration, which has fallen into disfavor with our clients.
It is up to us, as DRI members, to participate work with our SLDOs and state and local advocacy groups to educate and communicate the value of jury service and to allay our clients misconceptions about the fairness and effectiveness of the jury system. As trial lawyers, we have the duty to act to promote and preserve the jury system.