By Hon. (Ret.) Ken E. Adair
Everybody Does Voir Dire Different
Video Transcribed: Hello, my name is Ken Adair. I’m a people’s lawyer and a retired judge. And I want to talk to you about doing civil voir dire today. I’m going to do a bunch of short videos about voir dire in civil cases. Let me start by saying that I am me, nobody else is like me and I’m not like you.
And I don’t do voir dire like anybody else and you can’t do voir dire like me. But there are some basic ideas and principles that I’ve found to be helpful. And they’re helpful universally because I’ve learned these from mentors and dear friends from around the country. Many of them are here in Oklahoma, some are in other states in this country.
So I’m going to go down a list of some of the things we’re going to talk about in this series of voir dire videos. We’re going to talk about eye contact. Eye contact is very important. Lawyers tend to stare at foreheads and noses, and they’re so nervous to make eye contact with the jurors.
Well, if you don’t make eye contact with the jurors, you’re not going to make contact. We’re going to talk about, how do you question jurors? You go down the line sometimes, or do you never do that, and why? We’re going to talk about the inclusiveness of jurors.
We’re going to talk about how you never, ever, ever talk to a juror in voir dire. We’re going to talk about the difference between cause and peremptory challenges. We’re going to talk even further about latent bias versus patent bias, one of the most overlooked fundamentals in jury voir dire.
How to frame a question, every question can be framed positively or negatively. And what you’ll find is that some questions can be framed in a way to identify jurors that you want to keep, and you can frame the same question differently to identify jurors that you want to get rid of. We’ll talk about that in several other aspects, how to ask for money or prepare the jury for asking for money.
Do you voir dire about contingency fees? They all know about contingency fees. They all see the obnoxious lawyer advertising. What do you voir dire about? Voir dire-ing about how on whether a juror can give money damages for something that money just can’t fix, those damages that don’t come with price tags, like medical bills and pharmaceuticals or property damage.
How do you prepare a jury or how do you prepare to understand the jurors and where they stand on this issue and whether or not you believe they can follow the law?
And if you can’t get them stuck for a cause whether or not you need to strike them as a peremptory because they have latent bias, that is gut tells you that they’re not suitable for your jury trial. How do you address the concept that as the plaintiff’s lawyer, you’re always the greedy one?
Those are the things we’re going to talk about in my series on civil voir dire. If you have any questions or want to learn more, go to my webpage at trial.win. Subscribe to the Facebook or YouTube channel that will be provided at the end of this video. And I appreciate you very much. This has been trial attorney Ken Adair. If you are looking for co-counsel services or an experienced jury consultant, visit trial.win.