Steve Crandall Explored the Pros and Cons of Social Media on Juries at the 2018 OAJ Convention

The Annual Convention of the Ohio Association for Justice was from May 2 to May 4 this year, and it was – as always – a rousing success. This year’s convention offered numerous opportunities for attendees to obtain their CLE credits, to play a few rounds of golf, and to network and reconnect with colleagues from throughout the state. This year’s speeches (once again) stole the show, and Steve Crandall’s presentation was a very big hit.

Titled “Social Media in the Courtroom: The Effects on Jury Selection and Jury Verdicts,” Steve’s presentation focused on the psychological effects of social media on empathy and narcissism in society, in general. He also analyzed how this may affect jurors who hear Crandall & Pera’s cases at trial, and what effects that might have on the verdicts for injured clients, or for families filing wrongful death and survival actions.

What Steve found through his review of research was both interesting and informative. Many articles focused on the use of social media and concluded negative effects occur to both men and women who utilize social media for many hours each day. However, other articles indicate social media usage, when focused on communication with family and friends, can result in positive results for mood and feelings of self-worth. In the end, other articles pointed out it is how and why a person uses social media that may matter the most. If an individual uses social media to stay connected, positive results occur. Meanwhile, if the user focuses on self-promotion and changes their profile photo on a weekly basis, this can result in depression and narcissistic behavior.

Why social media usage and response matters in a jury trial setting

Aside from the obvious – what lawyer doesn’t want an empathetic jury? – there are many reasons why social media usage matters when it comes to selecting a jury and to going to trial. Potential and selected jurors:

  1. Will likely review the attorney and the firm’s social media usage.
  2. Will likely look one another up on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (as well as Instagram and Snapchat).
  3. May disregard directions about avoiding information from the case – or may be unwillingly subject to it through their own social media feeds.
  4. May reveal more about who they are on their own social media pages.

Understanding the correlation between how a juror posts, and the research regarding empathy and narcissism, could help a trial attorney determine the best way to present his or her case. In a medical malpractice trial, where people must weigh the facts about the case while contending their own feelings and preconceived notions about the medical profession and healthcare, this knowledge could prove invaluable to the attorney.

All of us at Crandall & Pera Law want to extend a warm “Congratulations!” to Steve Crandall for a job well done at this year’s OAJ Convention.