Patrick McNicholas Discusses Challenges of Trying Cases in the Information Age in Thomson Reuters Westlaw Q&A
In the Thomson Reuters Westlaw article “Q&A: Trial Attorney Gives Tips on Litigating in the Information Age,” Partner Patrick McNicholas advises litigators on trying cases before juries in an era when most jurors have access to the internet.
In order to mitigate the risks from jurors conducting outside online research, Pat recommends that attorneys be honest and direct about the strengths and weaknesses of the case. “A trial lawyer has to assume that jurors will access all available information and [the attorney needs to] frame the issues so that jurors are not surprised by what they learn and it does not change their views of the credibility of the case, the client or the attorney,” said Pat. If attorneys do encounter this problem, Pat suggests that they may also be able to handle this issue by bringing the evidence to the jury and explaining it.
“In particular, millennials and Generation X jurors tend to be more tech-savvy and more skeptical about information they receive — even evidence presented in trial — and are more likely to ‘seek out the truth’ themselves,” Pat added. “It matters in all ways in every trial. Certain people are simply more apt to ignore the judge and look for information themselves.”