The “CSI Effect” refers to the phenomenon of popular television shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Law & Order that supposedly are altering the American legal system.

Jurors’ familiarity with forensic evidence -- as portrayed on TV -- is believed to create higher expectations with regards to evidence. Lawyers are changing the way they prepare for trial due to these perceived expectations.

Law schools now maintain video libraries of these shows and use them as teaching tools. Attorneys, judges, and academics debate the reality of the CSI Effect and whether it is beneficial or harmful to either the defense or prosecution.

Despite the different views, attorneys need to be cognizant of how the practice is shifting due to the popularity of legal dramas. Juror opinions concerning evidence may be influenced by popular television shows; however, the courts are applying their own analysis. The question of what evidence should be admitted was addressed in a recent case U.S. v. Frabizio.

Suffolk University Law School and the Flaschner Judicial Institute will present a seminar exploring the myths and realities of the CSI Effect May 10. Leading academics, judges, and practitioners will discuss how expectations by juries are evolving, how litigation strategies are changing, and what attorneys should do to respond.

The CSI Effect: Litigation Strategies and Courtroom Dynamics
4 – 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 10
Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston