Have you ever taken the time to mentally step into the shoes of your jurors and look at the trial as if you were a juror rather than a lawyer representing a client? We know that most jurors are asking themselves: “what does the person suing want and what does the other side claim?” But subconsciously the most basic question they all have is: “what is in this case for me? How does this case affect me, my family and the community?” Basic primitive drive we all have is survival which involves worrying about us. We are self-centered by nature. that being true appeal to self interest. In trials where we want to persuade the jury we should be analyzing how they are likely to feel and think about the jury process.
We know from jury research the basic motives and desires of jurors in a general sense. They are outlined below. I believe that good trial lawyers should appeal to the jury self interest as part of our request for a verdict in our client’s favor. Not only are these thoughts important to communicate throughout the trial in one way or another, my practice was to always incorporate them in summation. I always reassured the jury of the of doing the right thing; of being proud of their jury verdict; of the importance of their verdict and the benefit a verdict in our favor would be for them and community.
I recommend that you do further research into the basic desires and motives of jurors with the resolution to incorporate them into your next trial. Here are some of the basic jury motivations.
- They want to do the right thing
(1) They want their verdict to be the right verdict & the right decision for the case
(2) They want to feel they have acted fairly, rationally & wisely in making their decision
(3) They want to have accomplished justice: reject claims without merit & remedy wrongs that deserve remedies
2. They want their verdict to have made a difference
(1) They want their verdict to make the right difference to the litigants involved
(2) They want to have their verdict to have meaning beyond the litigants involved
(3) They want to have their verdict make changes for their good & that of the community
3. They want their jury service to have been important
(1) They feel like they have made a sacrifice serving & they want it to have been justified
(2) They want to be proud of having served on the jury
(3) They want to accomplish a result they can tell others about proudly