Category: Trial

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule 15: The Bat Rule

    If the rules were in some particular order, this would have received much higher ranking.  Simple Rule 15: The Bat Rule: Ping, then listen. Or fail. Because bats, you know, use echolocation: ping! and detect food and obstacles by the signal that bounces back. A bat that doesn’t ping doesn’t eat, but neither does a […]

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule 14: The Atticus Finch Rule

    Remember the scene near the end of To Kill a Mocking Bird in which Atticus Finch, having lost the case, wearily packs up his things to leave the courtroom? As he’s preparing to leave, the blacks in the gallery stand up for him; Reverend Sykes tells Scout, “Miss Jean Louise? Miss Jean Louise, stand up! […]

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule 13: The Undertow Rule

    In Simple Rule 12: The Field Trip Rule, I talked about how the jury panel is a group, and you have to stay with the group. This group has sixty heads and sixty bodies, each one of which is throwing off communications cues every second. It is not possible for one lawyer, talking to sixty […]

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule 12: The Field Trip Rule

    In Simple Rule 2: The Blind Date Rule, I pointed out that the 60 potential jurors, by the time they reach the courtroom, are no longer strangers to each other; they have formed a group. When you get up to talk to them, what’s your relationship to the group? You’re an outsider. You are not […]

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule 11: The Playing Doctor Rule

    Back to our originally-scheduled program: So you’re in jury selection, and you want to get the jurors talking about the things that maybe they’re not used to discussing in front of 60 near-strangers. What do you do? Well, everyone knows The Playing Doctor Rule: I’ll show you mine if you show me yours, right? That’s […]

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule 10: The Marathon Rule

    I want to make it clear that I don’t do foolish things like play beer pong or run marathons. But I draw inspiration from the foolish things that other people do. So the next Simple Rule for Better Jury Selection is The Marathon Rule, to wit: Save something for the end. There’s the possibility that, […]

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule 9: The Beer Pong Rule

    In Beer Pong, The ball is always in play. If the ball hits the floor, ceiling, wall or even leaves the room it can still be, and should be, hit back in the direction of the table. So it is in jury selection, except that “the ball” is the conversation and “the table” is the […]

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule zero: One Rule to Rule Them All

    Jury selection is not only—nor even mostly—about selecting (or deselecting) jurors. If you use voir dire simply to find the jurors whom you want to strike, you're missing out on most of the value of jury selection. These rules will help you anyway.  

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule 8: The Shrink Rule

    We lawyers are analytical creatures. The LSAT doesn’t include a section of intuition puzzles. So Simple Rule 8 for Better Jury Selection is The Shrink (as in therapist) Rule: Rule 8: How Do You Feel About That? Jurors decide cases based on their guts, then look for intellectual reasons to support their emotional decisions. As […]

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule 7: Improv Rule II

    Rule 7, also from improvisational theatre: Don’t block. In improv, blocking is when you take another actor’s idea, and negate it: “It sure is quiet here on the moon.”“No, this is the bottom of the sea.” Your partner looks bad, and you’ve killed a scene. In improv, if your partner says you’re on the moon, […]