The Right To A Trial By Jury Must Be Protected and Honored And Picking the Right Jury Is An Important Part of the Process.
I have found jury trials to be a very rewarding experience. A lawyer must be mindful of all the factors that he or she should consider when picking jurors. This applies to civil as well as criminal cases. As a Chicago trial lawyer I have found that the best strategy in picking jurors is to look for people whom I believe will see my client's case as I do. I am looking to select people as jurors who think like I think. For instance, if I am defending a building owner in a personal injury case I might want jurors who are building owners, or who have family members who own buildings. If I am bringing a lawsuit against a school board for negligent infliction of emotional distress to a female student, I might want jurors who have children in school, or grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. Now at the same time a lawyer should be flexible based upon current events in the news. For instance, if a police officer has been a victim of a violent assault, this may weigh heavily in my decision on the type of jurors that I want in a lawsuit filed by me on behalf of a client who has been a victim of police brutality. A lawyer may also want to consider the type of juror that he or she will be most comfortable in talking to during a trial. I consider body language and eye contact as I question prospective jurors during the jury selection process. If a potential juror cannot look me in the eye or has his or her arms folded, that indicates to me that the person behaving in this manner will not be the right juror for my client's case.
Prospective Jurors See As Much As The Lawyer.
The intelligence and alertness of potential jurors should never be underestimated by a lawyer during the jury selection process. Potential jurors generally see and observe as much as any attorney in the courtroom. We live in the information age and lawyers should expect potential jurors to have seen an episode of Court T.V. as well as details of month long trials on the internet. A lawyer must be mindful of how potential jurors see him or her in the courtroom, and must be careful not to offend the entire jury pool while questioning a single potential juror.
I instruct my clients to remain quiet and attentive during the jury selection process because the potential jurors consciously or subconsciously may judge my client based upon his or her behavior and body language during the jury selection process. This usually works to my client's advantage.