Illinois has joined the growing list of states that have opted to reduce the size of civil juries. Last Friday, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn signed into law an act that reduces the number of jurors in civil trials from 12 to 6. This new law also increases the compensation paid to jurors for their service. Public Act 098-1132 will become effective in mid-2015. In cases filed before June 1, 2015, parties will still be entitled to a jury of 12.
Other states that have reduced the size of civil juries include: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. See Table 42: Trial Juries Size and Verdict Rules
A reduced jury size could affect many aspects of civil litigation. Empirical research indicates that verdicts from smaller juries are more unpredictable. On the other hand, smaller juries are less likely to deadlock. These findings could impact the way parties assess the likely outcomes at trial and conduct pretrial negotiations.