John & Alicia are convinced that the future of law will be shaped increasingly by science, technology, and big data. It is important that this is driven by a desire for just results and that the agenda is not co-opted by the defense bar.
Any lawyer who has been around long knows that it isn’t enough to fight on our own individual cases. That is why lawyers belong to groups like AAJ, NTLA, and local bars. It is important that policy and rules impacting jury trials are driven by a desire for just results. That is why John and Alicia are forming JEDI (Justice through Empirical Data Institute).
We all know what happens when we fall behind. The Chamber’s push for tort reform, and its significant investment in misinformation, led to tort reform that limits our client’s ability to obtain a just result, even today.
Now, there is a new battle field. Indeed, there is a new arms race. Defense firms are funding jury research with an eye towards producing papers that will convince judges and legislatures to limit trials, limit juries, and in general, advantage corporations. Defense firms are also hiring PhDs and social scientists at a startling pace in an effort to use big data to their advantage.
When John and Alicia started Empirical Jury, the plaintiff bar was ahead, but it won’t be for much longer if nothing is done. We must meet the challenge on two fronts.
First, we must fund academic research. It is critical that the research done on juries is impartial and fair. All the leading juror researchers agree that jury trials are effective. They agree that jurors work hard. They agree that jurors, and juries, can resolve cases fairly and even-handledly. But they also agree that this can happen most effectively when we have the right jury selection rules in place, when we have clear jury instructions, and when the rules of evidence function appropriately.
We need to study these issues. We need to seek to improve. We need to produce honest research. When we do, it can produce huge dividends.
To produce more meaningful research, Campbell Law has formed the Justice through Empirical Data Institute (JEDI). It is housed at ASU and it is designed to produce high-impact research for legislators, judges, and attorneys alike.
This work has already born fruit. An early collaboration with ASU, Cornell, and Stanford produced a paper in which John Campbell was a co-author and lead study designer. That paper was heavily relied upon to revise jury selection rules in Arizona, favoring questionnaires, meaningful voir dire, and disfavoring judicial rehabilitation of jurors.
If you would like to join in this fight by donating, you can click here.