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Clay Rossi
Clay Rossi
Attorney • (800) 574-4332

No Shutdown for 1st Monday in October

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Building rapport with your jury is essential for any litigator. Many of us rely on the professional expertise of jury consultants and expert studies to help make than connection. Other of us may have, or think we have, our legal fingers firmly on the pulse of our local community. Despite what we think we may know, how many times have you been left scratching your head wondering of the jury “What were they thinking?” Other times rather than anything close to your “ideal jury” you find yourself looking at a collection the twelve of the least objectionable people you could find staring back at you from the jury box. They are not the jury you had planned to make your opening statement to as you plotted it out.

Then there is the problem of juror attention span. You might spend months crafting your message to jurors in your case. However, no matter how much time you’ve spend developing what you feel is the best storyline of events in your case, the question remains whether they will even be paying attention to you.

No doubt most jurors don’t want to be jurors and would rather be doing something else with their time. The trick is how to engage them in the process. One tip has always been to approach them on their own terms. Using themes, allusions, and metaphors crafted to the specific demographics of your juror and the geographic location your trial has always been seen as a powerful tool and a justifiable reason to engage local counsel if you are an out-of-towner. However, there is powerful tool that could help you get a glimpse into the psyche of your local venire that you probably don’t know about. Best of all, it’s free. I’m talking about Google Trends.

With Google Trends, you can determine what Google searches are hot as well as comparing the popularity of search terms  used by people in any geographic location. Does it come as a surprise that “Miley Cyrus” is a more popular nationwide search term this week than “Government Shutdown”? (here) Or Idid you know that you can track web searches about crime in Des Moines (here) to get a feel as to whether crime is on the Iowa jurors’ minds. You can also see that over the past month web searchers in South Carolina are much more intent on finding out about the University of South Carolina Gamecocks that they are Obamacare. (here) Finally, you can see that the nationwide trends chart for “accident injuries” and “tort reform” accurately reflects the back and forth real life struggle for the court system. (here)

The takeaway is that a well framed quip about Miley or South Carolina football may get you further along in making that much needed connection to the jury. Google Trends is only limited by your ability to come up with relevant search terms. Given that it’s user friendly and free, there is no reason why Google Trends should not be incorporated as a component in your jury persuasion strategy.