I’ve written about The jury Expert (www.thejuryexpert.com) before and my view that it consistently offers valid and helpful ideas for trial lawyers. In January Charlotte A. Morris wrote a piece she called “It’s Deja vu All Over Again: More thoughts on Doing Effective Voir Dire.” I wrote about this article previously: http://plaintifftriallawyertips.com/some-thoughts-on-jury-selecton
Here are some more thoughts from the article worth considering:
1. Don’t talk too much about yourself or ask personal questions before you have introduced a topic more generally. Note: I like to tell jurors why I’m asking the question and try to share, very briefly, something about myself regarding the issue before asking them to share.
2. Don’t forget that simple questions – based on life experiences – are the best way to begin. Note: In my view, significant life experiences are extremely important indicators of how a person will react to the same or similar situation in your client’s case.
3. The author suggests using “Raise your hand if…” I suggest a better way to frame the question is “How many of you or someone close to you have…” while holding your own hand up. In my experience people are less reluctant to raising their hand
4. The author suggests framing questions about these points as a plaintiff: (1) Aches and pains get worse, not better, with age (2) When a medical professional makes a medical mistake, responsible providers admit the mistake and make themselves accountable for the harm done and (3) medical records are the best way for health care professionals to provide an honest account of a patients care and for other provisers to rely upon,
5. When time is limited, the author suggests the following should be covered (1) quality of life questions – what does it mean, what is the most important part (2) medical care experience and (3) attitudes about lawsuits
6. She suggests the following open ended question format
- How many of you or someone close to you have…
- On a scale of one to ten, with ten the highest, how do you feel..
- Tell us about your experience with…
- What have you read or heard about…
- Tell us more
- How did things turn out
- If you had it to do over again what would you do differently7
- What did that experience teach you