I used to think that outside research on prospective jurors was a distraction that prevented lawyers from focusing on the more important task of sizing jurors up in open court. I also had faith (and personal experience) that the system worked, that judges would hear jurors out, and that jurors would speak up when lawyers posed simple questions that were easy to answer.
I no longer think that way. It is beyond obvious that in today’s world, most prospective jurors have an online presence where their comments, tweets, and “likes” can be directly relevant to litigation. Even when the information is not directly relevant, the internet and voir dire have changed so much over the years that in most cases, when time allows, online information about prospective jurors gives litigants a greater feel for whom jurors really are than the limited face-to-face interactions that occur in the courtroom. The following three case studies demonstrate how.