NBTA member, and Board Certified Civil Trial Advocate, Eric Traut was ahead of the curve in using Expedited Jury Trials in his practice, and now a new California law, AB 555, mandates that all limited civil cases be handled as expedited jury trials starting July 1, 2016.

Having tried over 100 civil jury trials, many of them EJT’s, including the first two EJT cases in Riverside courts, Traut has trained attorneys across the state on the use of EJT’s for years, lauding expedited jury trials because the format allows for a more timely conclusion, frees up more courtroom space and provides a greater access to justice for all people.

A vocal advocate for the EJT process, Traut has been featured by the Daily Journal, Orange County Attorney Journal, and California Lawyer Magazine for his work with EJT’s and the positive contribution they make to courtroom efficiency and the legal process.

The process is simple but different than a standard trial: All parties agree to the EJT and there is a minimum of six and a maximum of eight jurors with no alternates, with six out of eight required to reach a verdict. One hour is devoted to jury selection and each side has three hours to present their case. The jury can deliberate as long as needed. The result is binding with rights to appeal waived.

Fashioned after a similar program instituted in South Carolina in the late 1990’s, the Expedited Jury Trial became law in 2011 with positive reviews from lawyers, juries, and judges who have participated, and now has become mandatory.

Says Traut, “Justice only works if the time, space and economic resources are available for court proceedings. The Expedited Jury Trial is a great way to offer access to the justice system for those who need it.”