While researching the apps that I included in my recent review of jury selection apps a few weeks back, I came upon an app that offered the most unique approach to voir dire I’d seen in an app. Although the app didn’t really fit into what I was hoping for in a jury selection app, the promise of the app brought me back, and after spending some time with it, I’m definitely more impressed.
Jury Strike for iPad, designed by Atlanta attorney Jennifer Jordan of the Jordan Firm, was designed to assist attorneys in her firm to pick juries. Based on her own trial experience, the app allows attorneys to create a list of general voir dire questions, follow up questions, enter personal information about jurors, and track juror challenges.
This is what you get when an attorney designs an app to meet their own needs rather than what they perceive others need:
… an innovative app that beats every app on the market for General Voir Dire.
It Helps Me Do…
The biggest point that Jury Strike advertises is the ability to ask general questions to a panel of jurors, which is something that none of the other jury selection apps have really tried to address. And they should keep advertising it, because it’s awesome.
It Helps Me By…
Jury Strike begins by prompting you to enter some basic case information (case name, judge, venue, number of jurors, row width, and seating direction). Next, you move on to your questions. Here’s an area of voir dire that the other apps in this group seem to completely ignore: there are TWO steps to most civil trial jury selections: general questions asked to the entire panel, and follow up questions asked to individual jurors. You are prompted to enter a general question, which has enough room for a lead-in sentence along with a question, as you can see in the picture. You are able to add up to five follow up questions to each of your general questions.
Once you have entered all of your questions and applicable follow up questions, you move to the general questions panel. At this point, you are able to ask your general questions or, more likely, be able to enter some of the basic personal information for each jury. Each juror’s personal profile includes name, occupation, age, marital status, race, education, spouse’s name and spouse’s occupation. Unlike several of the other apps available for jury selection, the personal information section of Jury Strike is clearly designed for a civil case (unlike iJuror, which includes items like whether there is a police officer in the juror’s family).
Once entered, you move on to the true gem of Jury Strike: general voir dire. You go through your questions, with a check box for questions you’ve asked. You ask the question, and tap the screen for every juror you want to follow up with later. It’s an incredibly simple and easy-to-use interface, that addresses one of the most difficult aspect of general questions – quickly recording juror’s responses while their hands are raised.
Once you’re done with the general questions, you move on to the Individual VD section. Now, as you scroll through the individual jurors, you’ll notice that each juror that was tagged in your general questions has the particular follow up questions ready to be asked. Without needing to open up each juror’s profile, the page displays individual juror’s name, occupation, age and education. Right in the middle, there’s a box for taking notes on the juror’s responses. In the upper right corner, a hand symbol indicates how you feel about the juror: even, thumbs up or thumbs down.
Unfortunately, the promise shown in the general voir dire phase doesn’t translate fully into the individual VD section. The follow up questions are displayed, but your responses all have to be recorded in the box above the follow up questions, with no ability to distinguish what questions the notes recorded refer to. It’s quite nit-picky, particularly considering how much information Jury Strike is able to put onto the screen. However, there’s really no getting around how difficult it remains to enter information on this screen when you’re asking questions directly to individual jurors.
You move on to the next screen and indicate which jurors are challenged for cause, by the plaintiff, or by the defendant, and you get your final jury. It’s another solid system, but it’s currently entirely dependent on having a jury selection system that matches the one Ms. Jordan routinely deals with. In North Carolina, 12 jurors from the pool are put into the box, and replaced one-by-one as strikes occur, meaning this section of the Jury Strike app will not be very effective in this part of the process in NC.
The App: Jury Strike for iPad by Jennifer Jordan
Key Feature: General Voir Dire, hands down. No other jury selection app comes close.
Fatal Flaw: Although the Individual Voir Dire is well set up, it is still too difficult to actually enter individual jurors’ responses to the follow up questions listed.
Next Step: I would really like to see an update that allows for different types of jury panels. At the moment, you can’t enter a panel of just 12 jurors into the system, limiting Jury Strike’s value in jurisdictions like North Carolina.
Similar Apps: iJuror, Jury Star
My Rating: 4 out of 5
The Final Word:
Although Jury Strike, just like all the other voir dire apps on the market right now, will probably not be sufficient to eliminate your need for a legal pad to help pick your jury. However, for a solid early try, it’s amazing what Jury Strike has been able to accomplish. Of all the jury selection apps available, Jury Strike is the only one that offers a viable way to handle general voir dire, in my opinion. Since all the other apps are designed around an entirely different approach – directly inputing information about jurors one by one – to adopt a system like Jury Strike would require a massive redesign. Jury Strike may be poised to be the only app that can truly handle both general and individual voir dire. Here’s hoping they figure it out!