iPad app targets jury selection

By Jack Zemlicka
The Daily Record Newswire
Jury selection can be an intense task.
But a new technology seeks to modernize the traditional pen to pad format of notetaking with a computerized database of juror information that can be updated throughout a trial.
The new iJuror application for the Apple iPad allows attorneys to electronically track individual juror trends and patterns through icons, as well as a “drag and drop” on-screen option to choose alternates or dismiss jurors during voir dire.
Trial consultant and attorney Bruce A. Olson said the concept is an attractive alternative to charting jury selection on paper.
“Traditionally, you have a bunch of sticky notes and when a juror is struck, you add another one,” he said. “The problem is you go back to the office the next day and they’ve all fallen off so you have to reconstruct everything.”
Olson, who runs ONLAW Trial Technologies LLC in Appleton, developed a different method of electronically tracking jury selection through the use of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.
At this point, he hasn’t encountered many attorneys who utilize electronic jury selection tools, but endorsed them as a substitute for traditional notetaking.
“I think it’s a much-improved way to go and knowing how easy the iPad is to use, it’s a great app for those attorneys starting to use the technology in court,” Olson said.
But there are those who are skeptical of the iPad application’s efficiency.
Milwaukee attorney Paul J. Scoptur said he has played with the new technology, but suspected that it might be more of a distraction than a useful tool in court.
“I think it might actually divert attention away from observation of jurors,” he said. “You can jot down notes while looking at jurors, but this app seems to demand a lot more of your attention.”
The Aiken & Scoptur attorney also consults on jury selection and suggested that the new application might be beneficial as a secondary source of information.
Fellow jury consultant David E. Frank of Milwaukee agreed that having an assistant with the capability to monitor jurors on an iPad would be ideal.
“Voir dire is tough enough already,” he said. “It’s fast and furious and you need to listen, so as lead counsel, if you are playing with a gadget, you might miss some stuff.”
Still, Frank said that if he owned an iPad, he would be inclined to try iJuror, which can be downloaded for about $10.