(6-16-04) Are jury trials vanishing? "Atlanta attorney Robert Rothman says he is shocked by the steep decline in the number of federal court trials over the last 40 years. "It's a sea change," said Rothman, referring to a long-term study by law professor Marc Galanter of the University of Wisconsin Law School. In 1962, there were 5,802 civil trials and 5,097 criminal trials in federal courts across the country. By 2002, those numbers had dropped to 4,569 civil trials and 3,574 criminal trials, according to the report. Despite a fivefold increase in civil filings and a twofold spike in criminal filings over the 40-year period, the actual number of trials had dropped by 2,756, Galanter reported. In short, only about one in 50 federal cases today goes to trial. . . Rothman said discovery is much more burdensome and expensive in the electronic age. Attorneys seek not only paper files but electronic information, upping the costs and time involved.
Comment: Electronic discovery now taking part of the blame for a decrease in jury trials from 1962 to 2002 even though electronic discovery in cases was minmal during this time period.