Over the weekend I was introduced to an intriguing new app for trial lawyers: John Cleave’s Jury Tracker (iTunes link). As the name implies, Jury Tracker facilitates the collection jury information and observations about jurors during trial. Detailed data collection is supplemented by comprehensive reporting. Unlike the voir dire tool iJuror (iTunes link), Jury Tracker is designed to record jury observations during trial. I spent some time with the app this weekend and for a 1.0 release, it shows real promise.
On opening Jury Tracker, the user either chooses an existing case or enters data for a new case. The case data entry screen collects the expected case related details (parties, case number, court, judge, number of jurors, etc.) and has a notes field for other information. Data for each juror is then entered into a wide variety of fields including demographic information, employment data, family and marital status, military service, prior jury experience, hobbies and the like. Simple avatars can be selected for each juror to aid in identification and matched up with the jury layout in your particular court room.
Once the trial begins, the data capture features of Jury Tracker come into play. Tapping a juror’s avatar takes you to the Juror Observation screen. From here, juror reactions from the simple to the complex can be recorded. I like how the app separates facial reactions (nodding, shaking head, crying, smiling, etc.) from body reactions (looking at watch, taking notes, day dreaming, etc.). Facial reactions can be refined further through simple popups (reaction “to the witness” or “with the witness”). A number of multiple choice buttons and sliders allow for more categorization. Jurors can be assigned a flag (green, red, blue), designated as a “leader” or “follower”, labeled with a plaintiff or defendant prediction or labeled as a “key” juror. A freeform note field collects other observations by the trial team.
All or some of the above data can be recorded for each juror at multiple times during the trial. Once collected, the data can be compiled into reports for analysis. Sort all the data by juror to observe reactions over the course of the day. Sort by plaintiff or defendant to see who is leaning what way. Separate the leaders from the followers, or those with positive body language from those with negative. These reports can be saved to the case file for later review or e-mailed to other members of the trial team for analysis.
I like the interface of the app. It is clean and well organized, allowing for rapid data capture. The app could use some tune up in terms of responsiveness. Sometimes the app was slow to respond to my taps resulting in me tapping again (needlessly). Some of the animations also seem a bit slow to me (switching from one view to another). These types of things are typical for a 1.0 app, so hopefully we’ll see some updates in this department.
A feature for consideration in a future update is the ability to define custom fields and buttons for juror data or juror observations. I can see where a lawyer might like the ability to track a particular attribute or observation and a custom tick box or flag would help record that data quickly. This might also be accomplished through some sort of tagging feature.
My one main criticism is the use of a “save” button in certain screens rather than persistently saving data behind the scenes. This is a different approach than many apps and, for me at least, counterintuitive. More than once I jumped back from the Juror Observation screen to the Jury Tracker screen without tapping Save causing me to lose my observations. Perhaps there is a technical reason why this method of preserving data was used as opposed to the persistent background save used in many apps.
I don’t try cases myself, but it seems that effective use of the app would require a second set of hands. Along the same lines, one of the understandable problems is that a user can really only enter data for one juror at a time. At different times during a trial, there may be reactions you want to collect or observations to record for multiple jurors at the same time. For large trials, I can imagine multiple paralegals or jury observers, each with iPads, assigned to tracking chunks of the jury. I can see a tool like this being very useful in bigger trials. In addition to helping the lawyer adjust his or her presentation, I can see this type of reporting being very interesting to the client in evaluating settlement offers and trial progress.
All in all, a very solid 1.0 app. Looking forward to how this app develops. Great to see more apps customized for specific legal needs.
You can pick up Jury Tracker for $9.99 in the App Store.