With the resumption of in-person court appearances, attorneys and litigants who are trying to decide whether to choose a jury must weigh the socioeconomic consequences of the digital divide and increased susceptibility to COVID-19 or moving forward with mediation. Litigants who personally or strategically require diverse decisionmakers, where such diversity cannot be accomplished with the jury system, racially and culturally sensitive mediators will be the best alternative.
All mediators, diverse or not, must be in a position to step into the void and provide unbiased insight and support to the parties as they mediate their matters. It should be made clear to litigators wary of facing a non-diverse jury system that for our profession, diversity is the key strategy for ensuring the constitutionally protected right for litigants to have a jury of their peers.
Judge Candace Cooper