Effective jury selection comes down to three things:
- Knowing the right questions to ask
- Knowing how to ask them in real-time trial conditions
- Knowing how to follow up effectively to obtain cause challenges and critical information for making informed strike decisions
Once you have these three skills under your belt, making strike decisions become easy and inevitable.
More important, being better at obtaining cause challenges than your opponent is the only reliable way to gain tactical advantage in jury selection. And it happens to be a skill that you can learn and quickly put into practice — if you have the right coaching!
You can hire Trialcraft to write great juror questionnaires and voir dire scripts for you (which covers knowing the right questions to ask) — and you can have us in court with you (which helps make the final decisions), but the key to effective voir dire is to understand how to ask those questions and follow up on jurors’ answers.
Because of the decline in jury trials, most attorneys we work with have minimal experience at jury selection. Even those who have experience are often nervous and feel uncertain of themselves and uncomfortable in voir dire. Why do you feel as if you’re stumbling in the dark? The interactional skills called upon in voir dire are 180 degrees apart from your everyday cross-examination and argument skills that have become habit. We also find that many attorneys have never been well trained to understand what you should be looking for in voir dire and why.
We developed our Voir Dire Savoir Faire coaching program and training materials to light your way.
We can include 1-on-1 coaching in a voir dire and jury-selection package, or a case consultation package; this usually takes a half-day plus some reading and study time on your own.
We also custom design and teach half- and full-day voir dire and jury-selection workshops for your group or firm that includes practice with a mock jury.
Without exception, every attorney we have coached who has followed our method has achieved more cause challenges in their next jury selection than ever before in their career — and our clients range from attorneys conducting voir dire for the first time to attorneys with 20+ years of experience trying cases to a jury.
In our 1-on-1 and half-day programs, we teach you:
- What your primary goals should be in voir dire — and why
- What are the best predictors of juror predisposition
- What causes bias
- How to figure out your key questions
- Specific techniques for phrasing your questions to help jurors feel connected to you and to open up, even in open court
- What to listen and look for in jurors’ responses
- Practical methods of note-taking
- A detailed method for asking follow-up questions to help develop cause challenges, and to obtain the information you need to decide if a juror is too dangerous to keep on your jury
In our day-long workshop, we also discuss juror questionnaires, and when and how to use them — including tips for getting judges to accept them even when these judges have never before used a questionnaire.