Anthony Argiropoulos, Thomas Kane, Robert M. Travisano, and Maximillian D. Cadmus, attorneys in the Litigation and Health Care & Life Sciences practices, co-authored an article in the New Jersey Law Journal, titled “Lessons from a Socially Distanced Trial” (registration required).

Following is an excerpt:

We recently participated in what the New Jersey Law Journal called New Jersey’s “first complex civil jury trial to be conducted in person since the COVID-19 pandemic.” Jury selection began on Oct. 12, and the trial was expected to run through Christmas. More than 50 witnesses were expected to testify. Although the case settled shortly after opening statements, this experience taught us that New Jersey courts are ready to try complex civil cases safely and responsibly with new COVID protocols that may force trial attorneys to depart from their usual practices. Here are a few of the lessons we learned.

Virtual Jury Selection Makes Sense

Although in-person trials are resuming, jury selection is still taking place remotely via Zoom. This is a commonsense safety measure. Rather than gathering dozens, if not hundreds, of people in crowded jury assembly rooms where social distancing would be impossible, potential jurors can remain safely at home. Only those who are ultimately selected to serve on the jury will be required to appear in person at the courthouse.  

Virtual Jury Selection is Efficient

We expected virtual jury selection to be slow and cumbersome, but much to our surprise the process was speedy and efficient. Court staff has been well-trained to move jurors, attorneys, and the judge quickly between “open” and “private” virtual rooms during voir dire. 

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