How Do You Save or Rehabilitate Jurors in Voir Dire?

September 17th, 2020|Litigation Insights|

We’ve written a fair amount about the importance of getting jurors to reveal bias in voir dire and subsequently admit they can’t be fair, with the goal of maximizing cause challenges and removing your riskiest jurors from the panel. But equally important is saving the jurors who are likely to support your case. When it comes to voir dire, there are three skills necessary for reducing the likelihood of having your best jurors kicked for cause:  Hiding Your Keeps, Rehabilitating Jurors, and Defending a Cause Challenge. Hiding Your Keeps The first stage of preserving your good jurors is not to

Ghost Notes

September 17th, 2020|2's Company - Magnus Insights|

I’ve been thinking recently about how one ever demonstrates that nothing happened because something did happen. Specifically, with regard to the protests over police shootings, police abuse, etc., how does one demonstrate that new policies make a difference? The difference is noticed only when nothing happens. Undoubtedly, most police officer shootings happen because the officer had no choice other than to prevent being killed himself/herself, or to prevent someone else from being killed/injured. In other words, they are “good” shoots. But, with regard to the “bad” police shootings/arrests/killings, the only way to know if, for example, new policies on

Med-Mal Defendants: You Want a Jury of Educated Legal Skeptics

September 17th, 2020|Persuasive Litigator (Persuasion Strategies)|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: For trial lawyers, there is a great deal of lore on the kinds of jurors you would want for particular cases. While some attorneys will focus on traits like gender, age, or occupation, the smarter course, in my view, is to focus on mental habits and attitudes. In a medical malpractice defense, for example, you will want a jury who can look at the situation analytically and dispassionately, instead of being moved by sympathy, as well as those who have a good respect for doctors and an understanding that they do their best in an often

Dealing with Juror Fatigue in Zoom Trials

September 15th, 2020|The Sound Jury Library (Sound Jury Consulting)|

“Six months into the pandemic, trial-by-video-jury – at least in the civil context – is beginning to morph from experiment to expectation. And while lawyers aren’t totally sold on the concept, a growing chorus of judges is making it clear that it may be the only way to keep their dockets moving” (Law.com). Clearly, with the Coronavirus continuing to ravage the country, the need to explore and utilize other options for civil trials is necessary. And, while there have been several “successful” Zoom trials, there have also been dozens of legitimate concerns and questions raised about everything from how to

Respect Your Jurors (Especially in a Pandemic)

September 14th, 2020|Persuasive Litigator (Persuasion Strategies)|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: There’s something that judges will often tell potential jurors at the start of the voir dire process: “We know jury duty is an inconvenience, but it is a necessary duty.” But what if it is more than an inconvenience? What if it was a threat to health, or even life? In the context of the current coronavirus pandemic, jury duty may indeed be exactly that: Summoning a broad cross section of strangers to sit together in a room that may be small, old, and lacking in ventilation, before asking them to discuss issues at a common

The Role of Defensive Attribution in Jury Verdicts in Traumatic Injury Cases

September 10th, 2020|The Sound Jury Library (Sound Jury Consulting)|

One of the first memorable studies that I read about jury psychology in graduate school was the 1997 study by Neil Feigenson and colleagues on the relationship between injury severity and blameworthiness. This was early in my graduate studies when I was focused on the effects of injury severity, particularly on attributions of fault. My operating theory at the time, which was also a commonly held belief in the field, was that jurors were more likely to blame the defendant as the severity of the injury to the plaintiff increased, regardless of the strength of the liability evidence against that