… aren’t all that good. As a civil litigator, I really enjoy selecting my jury. Apart from getting to know the jurors, jury selection sets the tone for the trial. But I hate those post-it notes! I was really hoping that a solid jury selection app could help streamline the process. Sadly, no such app exists.
But, if you’re looking for an app to assist your jury selection, to compliment your gut instinct and post-it notes, rather than to replace them, here are my 7 Best Jury Selection Apps…
The ratings reflect an evaluation of five criteria (4 points per criterion), all related to how effectively the app would allow me to conduct voir dire without a legal pad:
- Ability to add and modify a list of questions;
- An interface that allows basic information to be input quickly and accurately;
- The ability to record responses to “group questions” without having to open every single juror’s page;
- Useful reporting functions (as opposed to pretty-but-pointless reports) that allow me to compare jurors on the fly; and
- Overall utility in selecting a jury.
1) iJuror (Front9 Technologies) – $19.99
iJuror is possibly the most popular apps available for attorneys conducting voir dire. Available on iOS since 2010, it has also been released for Android devices. With the most comprehensive set of features (in my opinion), as well as a number of useful add-ons (although it REALLY gets on my nerves when they demand an extra $5 for stuff that SHOULD be in the app in the first place!), iJuror came the closest to actually meeting my criteria of all the apps on this list. However, it could also be said of iJuror: Jack of all trades, master of none.
Best Features: iJuror has its competition beat when it comes to being able to quickly input a juror’s responses to your questions. The answer “spinners,” which you can see in this image, are the best tool out there for entering information quickly, and they are even available to a limited degree for “group questions.” (“Group question” answers appear to be restricted to basic demographics: age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, children, whether they have police in their family, prior arrests, education level, prior crime victim, and prior jury service).
Fatal Flaw: The “spinner” feature for quickly adding information for each juror comes with pre-set criteria that cannot be changed (and have, in general, limited utility in civil cases – not too many jurors are going to be dismissed from a commercial litigation matter because their brother is a cop). The limitation plagues one of the best features, as well, since your “group answers” are limited to the 9 demographic categories.
Well, and I really have a hard time getting over the fact that Juror Scoring ($4.99 in-app purchase) or Juror Behavior ($9.99 in-app purchase) do not come with the full version. Also, you can purchase iJuror Stickies, which allows you to basically slap an electronic post-it note onto a juror, for an additional $4.99.
Rating: 15/20 (3/3/2/4/3)
(For more in-depth reviews of these apps, visit our Review Catalog)
2) JuryPad (Bench & Bar) – $24.99
Another stalwart of the voir dire wars, JuryPad has been around for a while, and has received the highest user ratings of all the jury selection apps in the Apple App Store (SO scientific, right?). Click here for a video review of JuryPad’s features.
Best Features: Clean interface that skips the ridiculously cartoon-ish look of many other apps. The showy feature is integration with Google Maps, allowing you to essentially “map” your jury, which is probably mostly gimmick, with a few exceptions. Overall, JuryPad hasthe best individual juror evaluation and reporting of all the apps.
Fatal Flaw: No ability to respond to “group questions,” which ends up being a bigger problem than you might think. For most civil litigators I know, JuryPad stops being an option right there. Despite JuryPad’s over-reliance on basic demographic questions, that the makers of these apps seem to believe is really the only information attorneys use to pick a jury, the app would be solid if you could provide group responses. But sadly, no. Want to enter a response for multiple jurors, you’re going to have to open each of their pages, one by one.
Rating: 11 (3/2/0/4/2)
3) Jury Duty (Stacy Kelly) – $39.99
Another of the earliest voir dire apps available, Jury Duty seeks to assist attorneys in selecting the right jury, with more attention paid to the time crunch and reality of voir dire. (Note: This app has not been updated since March 2011, so make sure it will work with your OS before downloading!)
Best Features: Record and track up to 200 jurors (iJuror and JuryPad limit you to 60), and record unlimited info can be entered for each juror. A key feature of the app is a color background for each juror that changes once their information has been updated, letting you know which jurors you have not yet questioned.
Fatal Flaw: Well, aside from the fact that it hasn’t been updated in over 2 years, virtually guaranteeing that it won’t work with iOS7, Jury Duty also suffers from the same flaws that drag JuryPad down. Jury Duty has no options for group questions, requiring you to enter information one at a time for each juror. Moreover, with unlimited information, your notes could actually be too long (and since they were written during voir dire, likely too unorganized) to be of much assistance in evaluating individual jurors. The potential for confusion would be compounded my multi-day jury selection.
Rating: 9 (2/2/0/3/2)
4) Jury Tracker (John Cleaves) – $4.99
Okay, first and foremost, Jury Tracker is not technically a voir dire app. It was initially created to allow attorneys to monitor jurors throughout the course of a trial. Nevertheless, the app has many of the same functions and information inputs as other voir dire apps.
Best Features: Since the app itself was designed to monitor jurors throughout the trial, the app has numerous ways to characterize a juror’s reaction to events and the course of voir dire or trial. As you can see from the screenshot on the right, Jury Tracker provides depth of evaluation that no other app can match.
Fatal Flaw: Aside from not being designed for voir dire, and therefore completely lacking the whole “question-and-answer” aspect, the app itself relies on constant and consistent observation of jurors. And immediate recording of all information learned. Followed by more constant observation. Anyone who has performed voir dire knows that keeping an eye on everyone is impossible, and few attorneys are going to want to take their attention away from the entire panel just to record their observations about one juror, particularly when the app’s usefulness depends on entries being made constantly. Effective use of this app is really only going to be made by support staff or an attorney in second chair.
Rating: 7 (0/3/0/2/2)
5) Jury Strike (Jennifer Jordan) – $29.99
A relatively recent entrant in the jury selection app Battle for Mediocrity, Jury Strike is a flashy looking app that bills itself as the solution for attorneys who need to keep track of the “general voir dire.”
Best Features: There is no app on the market right now that does a better job of handling “group questions.” Period. Once you’ve entered all of your questions, you are able to modify large numbers of juror profiles for each question. When you open up each juror’s individual page, all of the responses that were recorded from the “group questions” are displayed, allowing you to follow up on certain topics if you so choose.
Fatal Flaw: Well, sadly, pretty much every other aspect of voir dire. Hopefully you don’t have too much information you need to follow up on once you’ve gone through your general questions, because adding notes is clumsy and tedious. Jury Strike also lacks the high-level reporting functions of the other voir dire apps, although most of those reports are pretty overrated (for example, once my trial is over, will I really need to know what percentage of my jury had a brother that was a cop?).
Rating: 13 (4/2/4/1/2)
6) Jury Star (Litigator Technologies) – $39.99
An early competitor in this field, Jury Star didn’t really get much traction until a massive redesign (titled “Jury Star 2.0″) was released in 2012. The new version provided a much more fluid system than the completely impractical design of the original. The updated version has fixed many of the app’s early problems, allowing Jury Star to become legit competition in this area.
Best Features: Jury Star’s best feature, far and away, is the sliding-scale rating system for jurors. Based on answers to individual questions, Jury Star rates jurors on a 10 point scale. Whereas the other apps tend to rely on a fairly basic, 3-option analysis (you either like them, don’t like them, or don’t know), Jury Star’s analysis allows you to evaluate a juror’s overall responses, with more important issues given greater weight. As an added bonus, Jury Star comes stocked with more pre-written voir dire questions than any other app, and unlike some of the other apps, the questions are actually useful!
Fatal Flaw: The interface is simply not intuitive, and buggy software, of which a badly-functioning “undo” button (feel like asking prospective juror number 6 if he can tell you again whether he’s ever committed a felony because you accidentally lost the info?) is just one example, leaves a lot to be desired. Additionally, although there is a generic ability to adjust values for multiple jurors at a time, true “group question” evaluation is lacking.
Rating: 14 (4/2/1/4/3)
7) iJury (Dynamis Law) – $14.99
Advertised as a jury selection app “built by trial attorneys, for trial attorneys,” iJury’s unique approach to rating potential jurors should make fans of analytic metrics happy. By rating jurors based on their responses to individual questions, iJury allows you to see at how a juror answered all of your questions, including showing trends, rather than a generic like/dislike option.
Best Features: iJury’s best feature is, without a doubt, the feature that sets it apart from its competitors: the rating system. By allowing an attorney to apply positive or negative points to individual questions, with each juror’s ratings then coming from the sum total of their answers, an attorney does not have to rely on basic gut feeling about particular jurors. Moreover, by cataloging the responses, you can always go back to see whether a specific juror who may be on the fence answered a crucial question in your favor (or not). iJury also allows you to rate responses to “group questions” the same way.
Fatal Flaw: That very same rating system. By applying a numerical value rating system to every question, iJury overlooks one relatively important part about a juror’s response: what they actually say. Can you put a value on whether or not a juror is married? I hope so, because there’s no option for recording “yes” or “no.”
Rating: 11 (2/4/3/1/1)
Unfortunately, unless you have a remarkably simple criminal trial, there is no app that will replace your notepad and post-it notes for jury selection. Yet.
Don’t forget to visit our Mobile App Review Catalog for more in-depth reviews of these apps.
If you have come to a different conclusion in your own practice, I would love to hear about it! This is one area I’d love to be wrong, because I REALLY want an effective jury selection app!