New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Inside The Jury Room


December 28th, 2009

Would you rather have a law professor on a jury or a practicing litigator?

Over at Concurring Opinions, law professor Adam Benforado asks this simple question, after being called for jury duty:

For trial attorneys out there, I’m curious: would you rather have a law professor on a jury or a practicing litigator?

The question isn’t really framed well. It is a popular misconception that lawyers get to pick the jurors that we desire. But it doesn’t work that way.

We don’t pick the ones we do want, but rather, do everything we can to make sure the lemons don’t ever see opening statements.

Thus, peremptory challenges get used on the the potential jurors sitting with their arms folded and a scowl on the face, who nevertheless answers all the questions appropriately about how fair they can be.

You do your best to dump the bad apples and are stuck with the rest. That’s jury selection in a nutshell. Picking between practicing lawyers or law professors isn’t a choice many will ever get, and will be superceded by a million other factors.

But all other things being equal, I would pick the one I most want to have a beer with.

For more on that, see: Who Sits Jury Duty? (The Turkewitz Beer Test)

Links to this post:

How to get bounced on peremptories
Prospective jurors, listen up: if you want to get out of serving you should try to give “correct” answers in voir dire, the kind that don’t result in a for-cause removal, but do it with folded arms and a scowling expression [Turkewitz]
posted by Walter Olson @ January 17, 2010 12:16 AM

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