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Understanding the Convictions and Beliefs of Potential Jurors Helps You Win

The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already, but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” These lines were written by Leo Tolstoy and I saw them in an email from Harry Plotkin, who is a jury consultant in Monrovia California.

Tolstoy’s words are applicable to all, but what’s important to us is how does his thinking influence our jury selection? How can we attempt to gain advantage during jury selecton?

In his email Mr. Plotkin makes following pretty remarkable statement:

I have consistently found that a juror’s level of education, intelligence level, and understanding of the case (measured by objective comprehension of the facts) has no significant impact on individual verdicts. I have never once found educational attainment to be a statistically significant factor in predicting verdict.

What all jurors have in common is that they consistently impose their own values and ideas about right and wrong or fair and unfair on your case. In order to have the best chance at success you need to try to understand each potential juror. What are their values and whether they have life experience that makes them think (rightly or wrongly) that they understand your case.

Why must you understand the jurors? Obviously, you want to remove jurors who are hostile to your client or case theme from the begining. But more importantly, you must understand each juror because you need totailor your message–the theme of your case– to these individuals. And you must find a way to convince the jurors that you, the attorney, are the truth teller. The person they can depend upon to explain the case in a way that fits with the convictions and feelings they bring to the jury.

In October of 2010 the author obtained a $3 Million jury award after a thirty day jury trial. Experienced trial counsel can make the difference between success and failure in the courtroom.

Call 800 486-6814 for a free consultation with Galen Gentry

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