Voir Dire & Jury Selection
Particularly in high-stakes cases, where there is pre-existing bias against a party, jury selection is key to a successful outcome. But attorneys often focus on the wrong things. The key to effective voir dire and jury selection is for attorneys to understand the right questions to ask—and how to ask them.
Our approach differs from other trial consultants. We integrate three elements: coaching attorneys on trial-tested voir dire techniques; crafting voir dire scripts and juror questionnaires that are strategically designed to flush out your worst jurors; and, if requested, assisting in court by observing the jury, taking detailed notes on their answers, writing voir dire follow up questions on the fly, and helping argue cause challenges and make strike decisions.
Principal Sarah Murray is an acknowledged expert in jury selection and voir dire; she has coached attorneys nationwide in effective voir dire, including repeat sessions for US Department of Justice attorneys (anti-trust division), and has regularly conducted private voir dire coaching sessions and workshops for both the civil and criminal bar.
When I first started working with you, I had already done maybe 100 jury trials. I was surprised at what I still had to learn about voir dire and jury selection. I’ve used the skills I learned on every case I’ve tried since, to great success—so the value went far beyond what you brought to the cases on which we worked together.”
— Jeff R. Street, Partner, Hodgkinson Street Mepham
For more information, we invite you to read Sarah’s white paper on using jury questionnaires: “Eliciting Juror Bias under Trial Constraints: Why Open Court Voir Dire Is Often Not Enough.”
“When I first started working with you, I had already done maybe 100 jury trials. I was surprised at what I still had to learn about voir dire and jury selection. I’ve used the skills I learned on every case I’ve tried since, to great success — so the value went far beyond what Sarah brought to the cases on which we worked together.”
“After our meeting, I felt like there was a Spock mind-meld and I had the sense that I knew what the objective was for voir dire and, with that sense, I could be successful. It’s funny — I had the sense that the voir dire was a bit of a performance and taking stabs in the dark, but actually, it is much more concrete with clear objectives. Thanks again!”
“Sarah's quick mastery of complicated facts and ability to tailor focus groups and mock trials to the issues in the case is unsurpassed.”
“I worked with Sarah Murray on a complex civil antitrust matter. Well in advance of trial, Sarah and her team were involved in the development of trial strategies, our client narrative, and witness preparation. At trial, Sarah assisted with jury selection and ran a shadow jury. Sarah also developed questions for post-trial polling..." READ MORE >
"... using your script, for the first time in my career I was able to successfully challenge for cause a juror sitting on the panel. In addition, the next day after the jury was empaneled, it was discovered that one of the jurors was under a broker/client relationship for the purchase of a home and sale of an existing home where the broker was the wife of one of the defense counsel. Both the defendant and the judge minimized the possibility of bias. Again, using your script, I was able to get her to say the magic words such that I didn’t even need to move to strike her — the judge determined it on his own. Thank you for your help. It was invaluable!"
“... thank you for the excellent advice and guidance you have provided in a number of high exposure cases over the past several years. My clients and I have benefitted from an array of your services — ranging from mock trials to strategies for closing argument in a multi-month trial. What I have found uniquely beneficial is the depth of what you bring to a case and your unflinching commitment to calling it as you see it for the betterment of the case and its presentation. ..." READ MORE >
“We knew that the testimony of the defendant doctor was going to be the key to winning the case. The work you did to prepare her, getting over her feelings of guilt about the bad outcome and guilt about going against a patient, made all the difference: I don’t think we would have won without you.”
“...You did a better job on depo prep than I could have done because you were not concerned about interfering with the lawyer/client relationship. Your work was essential to the successful resolution of this case.”
“...The difference between our witnesses and theirs was like night and day. It made a huge difference with the jury.”