By Hon. (Ret.) Ken E. Adair
Don’t Go Straight Down the Line
Video Transcribed: Hi, this former trial attorney Ken Adair, I am a people’s lawyer and a retired judge. I’m going to continue with my series on civil voir dire. Today I want to talk about the process of identifying those jurors that you clearly identify with, and those that don’t identify back with you, that you don’t get a response from.
First of all, it’s important when you start out from the get-go is try. Now, it’s not always easy the first time, but try not to just go down the line, like one through six, and then seven through 12, and then 13 through 18.
Don’t do that, because everybody will become accustomed to you going down the line, and they’re not going to pay attention, because their time’s not up. You haven’t got down the line far enough, and so they’re not engaged, and so you want to avoid that.
When you make the first eye contact, you identify those. You want to kind of … Maybe if you’ve had a chance to watch them go in there and you make eye contact with them from the get-go, what you want to do is maybe go to the ones that you’ve identified as those that you don’t connect with first. Go to them first. Then go to the ones that you feel like you do connect with, in no particular order, but when you’re done, just make sure you’ve made eye contact with every juror.
Make mental notes of those that you don’t feel comfortable with, you don’t think they feel comfortable with you. But don’t go straight down the line, because that’s a bad habit to start because it disengages the jurors. You want them all engaged to know that any second they may be called upon.
That is important. Don’t go straight down the line. If you can, from the beginning, don’t go straight down the line, that’s great. It’s going to take some practice, and you can practice that. You can do practice voir dire, and get a workgroup together, and do practice voir dire, and practice doing what I just told you to do.
But certainly, that’s the first stage. Number one is eye contact Number two is don’t go down the line. Don’t disengage the jurors like that. I hope this has been helpful. If you want more information, go to trial.win, If you are looking for co-counsel services or an experienced jury consultant, visit trial.win.