The People Would Like to Thank the Blogger for His Jury Service

 My friends laughed hysterically when I had jury duty last year.  Apparently, the idea of a lawyer having to do his civic duty is funny.  And yes, for the record, I did wear my bow tie.

 

 During the jury selection process, my exchanged with the judge went as follows:

 

American judgeJudge: Sir, what is your career?

 

Bow Tie: I am a lawyer, your Honor.

 

Judge: I had a feeling.

 

 

 

 

 

I was told by one of the other dismissed jurors that both the prosecutor and defense counsel were shaking their heads “no” the entire time I was answering the Judge’s questions on technology in the courtroom, e-Discovery and my job experience.  The Prosecutor apparently did not like the fact I did a little criminal defense at the beginning of my career and I was promptly thanked for my service. 

 

 Litigation support software, trial presentation technology and Web 2.0 are not just impacting how we practice law today, but jury selection as well.  There is even a specialty industry forming in jury research that checks jurors’ Facebook and MySpace pages to learn more about those jurors. [1] 

 

 There have also been attempts to dismiss jurors for their blogging.  In Gregoire v. City of Oak Harbor, 2007 Wash. App. LEXIS 2929 ( Wash. Ct. App. Oct. 29, 2007 ), an attorney tried to excuse a juror for a blog.  The attorney discovered a blog written by a juror, in which the juror blogged about his experiences dealing with suicide in his job as a youth minister.

 

 During jury deliberations, trial counsel brought the blog to the trial court’s attention and asked that the juror be excused, arguing that the blog was inconsistent with the juror’s questionnaire. The juror-blogger had answered “no” to the question regarding whether he had ever been depressed or suicidal.

 

The trial court found that the blog comments regarding the juror’s encounters with suicide in his work as a youth minister were not inconsistent with the juror’s questionnaire.  Moreover, the blog did not show any bias, thus a challenge for cause would have been inappropriate.[2]   

 

 Attorneys would serve their clients well by asking prospective jurors if their blogging practices relate to any issues of the lawsuit during voir dire.  A juror’s activity on Web 2.0 might be totally harmless and not relevant to the lawsuit, but it never hurts to ask.

 


[1] Julie Kay, Social Networking Sites Help Vet Jurors, The National Law Journal, August 13, 2008, http://www.law.com/jsp/legaltechnology/pubArticleLT.jsp?id=1202423725315

 [2] Gregoire v. City of Oak Harbor, 2007 Wash. App. LEXIS 2929 ( Wash. Ct. App. Oct. 29, 2007 ),


Deposition Review with CT Summation iBlaze Color Highlighting

You can open my old Civil Procedure course book and see I usually highlighted cases with three colors: Blue for the “Issue,” orange for “Rule,” yellow for “Analysis” and a note in the margin for the “Conclusion” (IRAC for the non-lawyers). Law students have been highlighting and writing in textbooks since the “Paper Chase,” be it in search of “peppercorns” in Contracts cases or untying the Gordian Knot in Asahi Metal Industry Co., v. Superior Court.

 The latest version of CT Summation iBlaze allows for issue color highlighting in deposition review. [1] The new feature in CT Summation iBlaze 2.9.1 allows for a lawyer or paralegal to color code all of their issues, select favorite issues (most likely the key issues or facts) or assign a specific color to a user.

cts-codingpalette1

 For some background, I first started using CT Summation iBlaze back with version 2.6. I later worked for CT Summation for two and a half years demonstrating the product at seminars and tradeshows.

My main assignment when I used CT Summation iBlaze was summarizing 60 depositions and reviewing documents. While nothing beats the analysis of a good note about a deponent, the color highlighting feature would have been very helpful for the managing attorney to visually look for issue colored excerpts on reviewed transcripts.

 Here is how I would use the new transcript highlighting in deposition review:

 Assign colors to 1 to no more than 5 issues as “Favorites.” For example, if I were representing a plumber in a construction defect case, I would have an issue for “Plumbing Work” and assign the color blue. I would assign “Damages” the color red. In that case, I might have issues based on the Plaintiff’s causes of action, the plumber’s defenses, facts relating to the other subcontractors and the damage to the property. I would avoid “color confusion” by assigning every issue a color.

 I prefer my deposition summaries to be each question and answer compressed into one statement for review.  [2] To accomplish this in CT Summation iBlaze, I would select the deposing attorney’s question and the deponent’s answer. I would then do a right click to the left of the transcript line number and select the “Add Note” option.

transcriptnote1

Once the Note appears, I would then type in my summary of the question and answer. I would then Issue code as needed for each note. My “Favorite” color coded Issues will appear if I have selected the option to “Show Only Favorites.”  

transcript1

The above would enable the reviewer to skim the transcripts visually for the colors Blue or Red guide their review. 

Those reviewing the deposition summaries may do so in CT Summation or a print out that includes the color highlights and notes. Additionally, you could print the notes creating a true summary of the deposition as paper or as a PDF.

 There are many ways to conduct deposition review in CT Summation. The above are just a few strategies for deposition review. Nothing will ever top the ability to do integrated searches across multiple transcripts or organize notes by issues. However, the color highlighting is a helpful new tool for deposition review.

 


[1] In the interest of full disclosure, I worked at CT Summation for 2.5 years.

[2] There are many ways to summarize depositions in CT Summation iBlaze, from copying excerpts into Notes, Digesting and many other combinations.