It’s an advantage. JuryPickers™ works with you, taking your input on which jurors you want or want to exclude. We believe the more hands on deck for jury selection, the better.
Many trial lawyers claim that jury selection is their opportunity to “bond” with jurors and establish a personal relationship with them. This may have been true in years past, but in the current climate of cynicism and antipathy toward government and the civil justice system, jury panelists generally view questioning attorneys with jaundiced eyes. ‘What is he trying to convince me of?’ they think to themselves. ‘What answer is he looking for?’ and ‘What answer will get me out of this case?’ are the common thoughts of potential jurors under voir dire examination. These thought processes do not lend themselves to a strong “bond” between juror and attorney. It is far more likely that the juror will be on guard against a lawyer who behaves in an overly familiar fashion. “He’s trying too hard to make us like him,” is what they think about the lawyer who hopes to “bond” with them.
Years of study of juror behavior through mock trials and focus groups teaches that a lawyer can establish a completely favorable relationship with her jury during opening statement and in the absence of jury selection. After all, opening statement is where the critical relationship between attorney and jurors begins to occur: Is this attorney the truth teller? Do the facts of this case call out for a solution to a serious problem? Or, is this case a waste of taxpayer money and juror time?
Opening statement, not jury selection, is where the attorney-juror relationship should begin. Unlike jury selection, in opening statement the attorney is in control of everything said. Everything said in opening statement is important and relevant, not awkward and mysterious. An affable lawyer who may have been charming during voir dire runs the risk of being viewed in opening statement as an untrustworthy manipulator. Having a specialist pick your jury is an advantage; there is no downside.