The author is a partner at Frantz Ward, LLP, Cleveland.
For the novice and veteran alike, voir dire makes lawyers more nervous than any other part of trial. The dwindling number of cases going to trial means fewer opportunities to participate in seating a jury. Many lawyers do not know how to expose a potential juror’s bias. Others are just plain afraid to talk to people.
Yet, skillful, confident jury selection can mean the difference between winning and losing. Surveys of jurors show that not only do many form lasting opinions about the case during voir dire but also that lawyers’ success rate in altering juror bias is less than 15 percent. Anyone hoping to try cases needs to learn to root out bad jurors from the panel.