You and your client are not who you are, and not who you think you are. You and your client are not who you think others think you are either. For a jury, you and your client are who they think you are.
To persuade you need to establish rapport. To establish rapport you need to assist the juror in exchanging information with you and to see you as sincere, and non-assumptive about how they think and feel. A successful voir dire will leave the juror willing to hire you to represent them should they ever need a lawyer.
Not unlike a job interview, voir dire is a time for you and the prospective juror to be educated. You about them and their inherent prejudices, and them about you and your posturing of the case.
In some courts voir dire is limited or conducted by the judge in it’s entirety. Where this is the rule your impact is limited. When you are given free reign it would be helpful to consider the following:
- Do not presume you have pronounced their names correctly.
- Allow yourself the use of humor.
- Self disclosure about the obstacles inherent in the case should be judiciously explored.
- Make no promises.
- Solicit commitment from them that when they believe that your client’s position has been proven, they will vote and act accordingly with their power as decision makers.
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Good morning. Like some of you, I arrived today not fully knowing what to expect. Although I have had the opportunity to become familiar with meeting potential jurors I stand before you wondering what you think and how you feel about this process. You look at me and perhaps wonder if I am like other attorneys you have met. I look at you and wonder if you will be able to put aside assumptions or beliefs you have naturally come here with from your life experiences.
Not unlike a job interview, I would now like to ask you some questions to gain a better understanding of how you might consider various elements that will become clearer to you as we proceed through the trial process. Should I mispronounce your name please help me say it correctly.
Dr. Kenneth Manges, is a Forensic Psychologist and vocational expert who offers consultation and comprehensive evaluations across the United States. His analyses have been recognized for their clarity and scientific rigor. He offers reasonably certain opinions about the psychological impact of physical injury or emotional trauma as they effect earning capacity and the impact of loss on future work and quality of life. Well regarded in the litigation arena, he is a trusted and respected authority and offers evaluations that have been consistently upheld in both state and federal courts.