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Northwestern Law Co-Hosts Symposium on the American Jury System

Experts to examine modern jury procedures, discuss challenges faced by the modern jury

CHICAGO --- What can a judge and attorneys do to assist if a jury appears to need further help? Are background checks on jurors necessary or an invasion of privacy? Should time limits be placed on a trial?

Expert panelists will discuss these modern jury procedures, giving additional attention to controversial reforms and the continuing challenges of electronic media at the upcoming 2012 National Symposium on the American Jury System: The Optimal Jury Trial.

Co-hosted by the Northwestern University School of Law, the American Bar Association and the American Bar Foundation, “The Optimal Jury Trial” will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, and from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, at Northwestern University School of Law, Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago Ave., in Chicago.

The two-day symposium will use a pair of simulated civil and criminal trials to reveal the challenges faced by the modern jury. It will also demonstrate how to produce a jury trial in which the parties, the jurors and the public receive optimal treatment.

State and federal judges, attorneys, jury scholars and jurors are among the approximately 30 panelists and speakers that will participate in the symposium. Participants include District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly, U.S. District Court, N.D. Ill.; District Judge Virginia A. Phillips, U.S. District, C.D. Calif.; Paul Butler, professor of law, Georgetown University Law Center; and Nicole L. Waters of the National Center for State Courts.

Symposium co-chairs Shari S. Diamond, the Howard J. Trienens Professor of Law at Northwestern, and Chief Judge James F. Holderman, U.S. District Court, N.D. Ill., will serve as panelists and speakers as well.

Panel discussions include “Jury Summons and Selection Methodologies,” “12-Person Juries and Importance of Voir Dire,” “Issues Involving the Internet” and others. Robert J. Grey, Jr., a partner at Hunton & Williams LLP and former president of the American Bar Association, will give the luncheon keynote address on Thursday afternoon.

For the full agenda, registration information and a complete list of panelists and speakers visit

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