By Hon. (Ret.) Ken E. Adair
Video Transcribed: Hi, my name is Ken Adair. I’m a people’s lawyer and I’m a retired judge, and I want to talk to you again about civil voir dire. This is a series of short videos I’m going to do about what I call proper voir dire techniques, the kind of stuff that helps you connect with the jury and prepare them to hear your client’s case to understand and embrace the truth and to award money damages, which is the hardest part about a civil jury trial.
I’ve talked about making eye contact, I’ve talked about mixing it up, not going down the line. So what do you do after you’ve made eye contact with your jurors and you’ve identified those that don’t connect with you well? Well, I’m going to suggest that you take extra time with them.
Not everybody feels comfortable in a crowd. Not everybody feels comfortable in public. Not everybody believes that they are an “attractive person”, and I don’t mean that in the romantic sense or the sexual sense. I just mean that they’re attractive. They’re not approachable. They’re not used to being approached.
So you’re going to work on them a little bit. You’re going to let them know that you care about them being engaged in your case because you do authentically care that they’re engaged in your case. If you don’t care, then you got problems that I can’t help you with here today.
But you do care. So it’s genuine, it’s not fake. But what you have to do is not fake being engaged with them, but resist the urge to run in fear because that’s what lawyers do, because that’s what people do, and we are after all people.
So you have to resist that urge to run away from the jurors that don’t seem to connect with you. And you do that by making a note of those people. And I said that before, you make a note of who those people are, and then you go back to them time and time again, and you smile at them. You let them know that you care about them because you do.
And if you don’t care about these jurors, then I’m going to keep saying this, if you don’t care about them, that’s something I can’t help you with and you need to work on that. Because you do care and you better care about these jurors. You better care about everybody in the trial, including your client, including the opposing counsel, the judge, everybody.
But you’ve got to care about these jurors. And the ones that are not connecting with you, don’t write them off, because these people many times will be your best friends if you just give them a chance to understand and trust you and believe that you care about what they think. So focus on those jurors.
And when I talk from here on out about jury voir dire, remember to always go back to that person. Make them included. Make them feel like they are part of your jury panel and that you’re not trying to run them off. You’ve got nothing to hide.
That’s the biggest thing that lawyers do is they get afraid, then they create the impression that you’ve got something to hide. And oftentimes you do, but you’ve got to be more direct. So I hope this has been a little bit helpful to you. This has been trial attorney Ken Adair. If you are looking for co-counsel services or an experienced jury consultant, visit trial.win.