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How to Persuade Jurors in Trial Using Their Own Voir Dire Feedback

To persuade jurors, you’ll need to offer a thematic story throughout the entire case presentation and through each witness. With the aid of a mock trial, you’ll know what themes resonated best and have a case story crafted around those themes. But that’s only part of the equation. In a trial questionnaire and during voir dire, your […]

Commitment Effects, Part 2: Does Allowing Juror Discussion Prior to Deliberation Affect Their Decision Making?

In Part 1 of this blog, we discussed whether asking verdict-related questions early in a mock trial can cause a commitment effect in mock jurors, such that they are less likely to change their opinions as more evidence is presented. Now, we’ll extend this idea into “real world” trials, because some venues allow jurors to […]

Should an ESL Witness Testify Through an Interpreter?

When presented with a witness who speaks English as a Second Language (ESL), it is difficult to predict how they will be perceived by a jury.  In a previous post, we examined the challenges of identifying juror bias against foreign witnesses, but that raises a separate, yet related issue as to whether that witness is […]

Commitment Effects: Does Asking Verdict Questions Early Commit Mock Jurors to a Position?

When we design a mock trial – where jurors are read instructions and deliberate to a verdict form – we concentrate on presenting the case facts, witnesses, and evidence in a way that will impact jurors’ story of the case similarly to a “real life” trial.  As such, we typically wait until after jurors hear […]

What Analogies Can I Use to Explain My Case to a Jury?

When working on trial strategy with a client, it is almost inevitable that he or she will ask, “What analogy can I use to help the jury understand X?”  Then, the trial attorneys, in-house counsel, and anyone else in the room will begin tossing around various analogies – most of which sound like great ideas […]

Should My Client Say “I’m Sorry”?

As a corporate defendant, does it help or hurt to apologize for past conduct?  Does it show weakness?  Fault?  Honesty?  Sincerity? Well, it all depends on the case.  Just take a look at mock jurors’ very different reactions to two different defendants saying, “We’re sorry.” Juror A:  “They have done nothing to address the problems […]

A Millennial Could Be Your Next Jury Foreperson

Millennials – the generation born between roughly 1980 and 2000 – are showing up in large numbers to perform their civic duty.  In fact, this year alone we’ve had several trials in which the post-hardship jury pool was nearly 50% or more Millennial after hardships.  More importantly, in two very recent trials, a Millennial served […]

How Do I Get Jurors to Reveal Their Biases?

As we’ve discussed elsewhere, it is important to use voir dire as a tool for identifying your worst jurors while hiding you best jurors, and eliciting bias and obtaining cause challenges should be the primary objective.  In a previous blog, we offered techniques for cause sequencing, which is the series of questions that will lead […]

Maximizing Cause Strikes: How Do I Get Jurors to Say They Can’t be Fair?

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, eliciting bias and obtaining cause challenges should be the primary objectives of voir dire. Each juror you are able to remove for cause is essentially equivalent to having an additional peremptory strike that your opponent does not. Indeed, a successful voir dire should tilt the playing field in your […]

How Do I Keep Jurors Awake?

It has happened to every attorney that has ever stood up in front of jurors: maybe it’s just after lunch or maybe midafternoon.  Perhaps it’s during a particularly science-heavy, technical part of your presentation.  Just as you get to your main point, you scan the faces of the panel and notice one juror slumped over, […]

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