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Insights

November 2019

The Millennial Invasion of Jury Pools

By David E. Dukes, Glenn Kuper

For the Defense

Reprinted with permission from For the Defense magazine

Stereotypes and negative assumptions run rampant about millennials. But the most important fact to realize is that millennials are quickly becoming the majority generation in American society. In 2016, the Pew Research Center reported that the number of millennials (approximately 75.4 million) in the United States had surpassed the number of baby boomers (approximately 74.9 million). As millennials become established — buying homes, becoming gainfully employed, setting down roots — they are answering the call and showing up for jury duty more often.

For litigators, this means that the shared attitudes and experiences of millennials must be considered to understand how they will perceive your case. In this article, we will first explore what defines the millennial generation, what motivates them, and what common values they share. We will then take a look at conducting effective voir dire when venires include millennials, and how to make judgment calls on whether to accept or strike potential millennial jurors. Finally, we will look at persuasive techniques that counsel can use during trial to influence millennials’ decision making and play to their strengths.

Who Are Millennials?

A blurb from an article published by The Atlantic good-humoredly asks, “We can all agree millennials are the worst. But what is a millennial?” The definition of a millennial differs depending on the source. Generally, millennials include those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. For example, the Pew Research Center views those born from 1981 to 1997 as belonging to the millennial generation. The U.S. Census Bureau includes those born from 1982 to 2000.