What is eJury? What is TrialJuries?
eJury.com and TrialJuries.Com are online businesses that help lawyers test cases in front of real people and find out how these real people react to the facts of the case and the arguments they make. Mock trial companies seek out individuals that from the same demographics that a real jury would have if the case went to trial in the geographic area the real case originates from.
Virtual Juries are a relatively new concept made possible by the internet. Pre-internet and mock juries, a lawyer would have to get everyone in a room and test argument all at once. Timely and expensive. With a virtual jury, participants can log in and review cases, submitting the results at any time until the quota is matched. Once the quota is met, new jurors who log in are generally told the case is completed.
What Are the Qualifications?
Qualifications for service as an eJuror are much the same as the requirements for actual jury service in the United States. To qualify as an virtual juror on eJuror,com, you must:
- be at least 18 years of age;
- be a citizen of the United States;
- be of sound mind and good moral character;
- be able to read and write;
- have internet access
- have never been convicted of a felony; and
- not be under indictment or other legal accusation of misdemeanor theft or felony theft or any felony charge.
Also individuals who work in the fields of law, insurance settlement, or who are related to people working in law and insurance settlement fields are excluded from being virtual jurors. The requirements on other sites are similar and are designed to mirror actual jury composition as closely as a field of self selected candidates can.
TrialJuries.com requires: "The requirements for being a TrialJuries juror are much like those for being a "real" juror. You must be at least 18 years of age, be a United States citizen and not have been convicted of a felony." To access their site go to: http://www.trialjuries.com/trialjuries/
Why Do Lawyers Like to Use Virtual Jurors?
This is not about practice, this is about getting usable information. With a report of what 50 individuals think about a specific set of facts a lawyer can do things like:
- Negotiate with the other side for a settlement based on actual 3rd party reaction. Mock Jury results can be useful in arbitrations, mediations, and direct negotiations between sides in a legal dispute.
- Show a client that their case is without merit or has limited hope of success. Reading comments from 50 impartial people can help a client realize their perspective might be a little bias.
- Test exhibits, photos, arguments and evidence to see how it resonates with a jury before presenting it to a real jury. Does a particular photo or illustration produce the desired level of sympathy from the jury? Will all members of a potential jury see the case a certain way or is it likely that the case will result in a hung jury?
One of the downsides for lawyers is that virtual jurors are all individuals that took initiative to sign up as virtual jurors. In other words they want to be on a jury for some reason - either the money or because they like watching crime and court TV or some other reason. Some virtual jurors may have an ax to grind after loosing a court battle or some other brush with the legal system. Real jurors are randomly selected and are therefore not as likely to be bias. Real jurors are also subject to cross examination and screening by lawyers. One of the keys to minimizing self-selection bias in a virtual jury is to include more jurors, one of the reasons that virtual juries often use 50 or more individuals. The larger pool allows the discarding of off the wall responses from biased individuals that may have been screened out in the real selection process.
How Much Can a Virtual Juror Make?
There are a number of factors, including the complexity of the case that determine the fee that each virtual juror makes but the range is from $5 to $10 a case at ejury.com $30+ on trailjuries.com and the payment is stated up front on each case. You only get paid for complete and submitted answers. Payment is via PayPal for these two sites.
OnlineVerdict.com pays by check - $20 to $60 a case and cases should take less then one hour.
Other sites were less specific about what they pay.
With all sites, the number of cases available varies widely by where the virtual juror lives and how many law firms the site has as clients in your area. Major metro areas have many more cases than small towns In a large city up to a case a week may be available according to eJury,while other sites are more vague with their estimates of workload. A typical 6 page case took jurors about 35 minutes on average to complete. So it is kind of like a minimum wage job or a little better but done from home and more interesting than flipping burgers.
The mock jury sites make their money by keeping the difference between what the site charges the lawyers using the service and what is paid to the mock jurors. The amount of spread will be different on each website, but what you get for participating is what you are promised without any deduction. Jurors are required to remit their own taxes (treat as self employed income).
How to Sign Up
Each virtual jury site has it's own sign up form. You will need to provide an email address to associated with a Paypal account to get paid and to receive notifications of cases. For some sites, they will need a mailing address for checks.
Signing up for all the available virtual jury jobs with various companies will ensure the best chance of getting selected. Be sure and check the requirements on each site and follow the rules closely. If you don't provide complete responses or don't respond at all don't expect the cases to keep coming.
Don't expect this to be a get rich scheme or even a regular income. Mock jury demand is just not stable enough to bank on. However, if you live in a large metro area and you sign up for the various competing services, mock jury service could be enough to let you pay some bills or buy a nice dinner every once in a while.