NYU Law School will research decline in civil jury trials with $2M gift


Stephen Susman

The New York University School of Law will conduct research on civil juries with $2 million in initial funding from trial lawyer Stephen Susman of the Susman Godfrey law firm.

The new Civil Jury Project will also promote discussion about the decline in civil jury trials, the impact of the trend, and ways to improve jury trials, according to a press release. Susman is an adjunct professor at the law school.

Federal and state judges who have agreed to use their courtrooms as “laboratories” for reforms are among project advisers.

The press release provides some statistics about the decline in civil jury trials. In 1962, juries resolved 5.5 percent of federal civil cases. Since 2005, however, the rate has been below 1 percent. In Texas, 3,369 civil jury trials were held in 1997. In 2012, the number of suits had increased, yet the number of civil jury trials had dropped to less than 1,200.

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