May 25, 2006

For the Kentucky Trial Lawyer: Essentials of Voir Dire

In preparing for an upcoming bad faith trial, I came across this fantastic article on voir dire by my good friends and worlds best trial consultants Mark Modlin and Becky Jones.  This is from the Florida Trial Lawyers website, and was repreinted from the Kentucky Bar Association’s Bench and Bar. 

Essentials Of Voir Dire

By Mark Modlin and Becky Jones

Trial consulting has existed as a profession for nearly 25 years, but certain aspects of the consultation process have been decades in the making. Voir dire is one of those areas. Considered by some attorneys to be the "necessary evil" of a trial, voir dire has the potential to make or break a case.

Voir dire, the "getting to know you" process of a brief but important relationship between an attorney and a story of strangers, is a conversation that can be the cornerstone of a strongly built case. It also can be a stumbling block between an attorney and the jury, so it is imperative to remember that the relationship is a two-way street.

Attorneys often become too concerned with telling jurors about themselves, and fail to focus on who the jurors are. The key to successful use of voir dire is to educate the jurors about your case and educate yourself about the jurors. To talk one-on-one with prospective jurors and to find out not only what they think but, more importantly, why they think it, is precisely what scares a lot of attorneys.

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