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Podcast: How juries bring legitimacy to legal proceedings

Jury box

Many people complain when a jury summons arrives, but when they actually serve on a case they become quite invested in the process. But how can a group of lay people handle making such difficult and consequential decisions? 

In this episode of Planet Lex, Northwestern Law vice dean and host Jim Speta talks with Shari Diamond, the Howard J. Trienens Professor of Law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and a research professor at the American Bar Foundation, about her research on jury process, including her finding that our trust in the jury system is not misplaced — even in challenging and complex cases, juries typically work very hard to ensure a just outcome.Diamond is one of the foremost empirical researchers on jury process and legal decision-making. 

Jury vs. bench trial

“The lawyer thinks that the order (of evidence in a jury trial) matters. And the lawyer thinks that a clear presentation is important and lays foundations. Sometimes there’s a tendency in a bench trial to say, ‘The judge will just ask a question’ or ‘We’ll go out of order.’ You can’t do that, you don’t do that, in a jury trial.” - Shari Diamond

About Planet Lex

The Legal Talk Network produces the Planet Lex podcast series. The podcasts typically feature interviews with prominent Northwestern faculty members, discussing the law’s role in changing global, societal and technological landscapes.

Topics of earlier episodes include the evolution of music copyright law; sexual misconduct on campus; election law and gerrymandering; the regulation of public corruption; Chicago’s gun violence epidemic; technological advancements and the law; law enforcement and implicit bias; and integrating the law and STEM-focused multidisciplinary education; online privacy and cybersecurity; and the U.S. Supreme Court. Listen to all 28 episodes

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