National Jury Summit

 
NATIONAL JURY SUMMIT SEEKS TO MOLD THE JURY TRIAL OF THE 21ST CENTURY

Collaborative forum to direct attention to opportunities for advancements in the trial system and improving public access

DALLAS (Feb. 25, 2011) /PRNewswire/ — The dramatic reduction in the number of civil jury trials in recent years is a wake-up call to anyone interested in preserving a fundamental constitutional right, say planners of the upcoming National Jury Summit in Chicago, June 23-24. One of the most basic rights of Americans is in jeopardy. This is a story that needs to be told.

Themed as “The Jury Trial of the 21st Century,” the National Jury Summit is a call to action that will feature goal oriented sessions on the best practices for jury innovations, reforms to improve access to jury trials, technological advancements in courtroom presentation, and assessment of the public perception of the jury trial.

Numerous studies, including a recent one conducted for ABOTA, have demonstrated that there is overwhelming support for the jury trial among Americans. And yet, there is an alarming downward trend occurring in the nation’s civil courts.

“We intend to make reforms and innovations happen, not just ponder them,” said Harry T. Widmann, president of the American Board of Trial Advocates, the organization sponsoring the Summit.

ABOTA, in collaboration with the National Center for State Courts, has advocated changes that will improve the system’s ongoing quality and relevancy.

“Juries are the backbone of our democracy and are as critical as the right to vote itself,” said Summit Chair Gilbert H. Dickinson of the Denver law firm of Dickinson, Prud'Homme, Adams & Ingram, LLP. “The jury trial not only provides protection to the litigants, it also directly involves our citizens in the judicial branch of government. The declining numbers of jury trials demonstrates the need for innovations that will make the system more effective and efficient. Inaction is not an option.”

Summit speakers were chosen because they have backed up their research with action and are dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the jury trial.

  • Federal Judge Mark W. Bennett of the Northern District of Iowa has written extensively about the vanishing jury trial and has been an active proponent of using technology in the courtroom.
  • Professor Robert P. Burns of Northwestern University is the author of the books, “The Theory of the Trial” and “The Death of the American Trial.”
  • Daniel J. Hall and Paula L. Hannaford-Agor are from the National Center for State Courts, a clearinghouse for research information and comparative data to support improvement in judicial administration in state courts conducts research on emerging issues.
  • Justice Rebecca L. Kourlis (retired) is the executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, a national, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving the process and culture of the civil justice system.
  • Professor Nancy S. Marder of the Chicago-Kent College of Law has written and researched a wide range of issues regarding jury innovations.

The National Jury Summit is open to lawyers, judges, legal professionals, and the public. For registration and event information, call (800) 932-2682 or go to www.abota.org.

ABOTA is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges. ABOTA and its members are dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial right provided by the 7th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Foundation of ABOTA is an affiliated charitable entity, the mission of which is to support the purposes of ABOTA through education and research. ABOTA membership consists of more than 6,400 lawyers and judges spread among 96 Chapters in all 50 States and the District of Columbia. ABOTA publishes Voir Dire magazine, which features in-depth articles on current and historical issues related to the 7th Amendment.

For more information:

Brian Tyson
(214) 871-7523

Click here for the National Jury Summit brochure.