The Zen of Jury Selection

Following a recent jury trial where the jury returned a result double the insurance company offer but less than my case evaluation, a juror who stayed to discuss deliberations gave me valuable input. He told me it is important to make things as simple and clear as possible.  He referred me to Garr Reynolds’ blog Presentation Zen.

Garr Reynolds Presentation Zen Blog is a wonderful resource  for anyone involved in designing a presentation. This includes trial lawyers. Garr teaches simplicity is beauty. Recent posts by Garr teach in any presentation we must have “connection” meaning we must connect with our audience to accomplish a worthwhile presentation. As Garr teaches without connection the audience is left with emptiness. Connection is an art. Through connection we bound with our audience. We then have the possibility of teaching our audience new concepts and our message which our audience learns.

Another recent post from Garr, “Lessons from the World of Aikido” is helpful to trial lawyers especially during jury selection. Below I take from a combination of Garr Reynolds, my study of  Tai Chi, and body language concepts for what I term “The Zen of Jury Selection.”

In the Present.To accomplish anything at the highest level we must stay in the moment.  In jury selection this means  neither concern about the past nor the future. The biggest danger is mentally jumping into the future as in thinking ahead about what we want to discuss instead of listening and being in the moment with our potential jurors. To be present is to listen, engage, and connect with  potential jurors as they relate to us and to one another. As stated by Garr Reynolds there is an energy in the present. This is an energy the jurors will see and be a part of but only if we are with them in the moment.

Relaxation of Movement. Our potential jurors will know if we are relaxed or uptight. When we are relaxed they are relaxed. When we are uptight they are uptight. In Tai Chi we learn to be soft and balanced in our actions. We learn to breathe  deep-into our naval-rather than shallow-into our chest. As far as our stance it is balanced and natural. From a body language standpoint our hands stay in the “zone of truth” which is waist high moving in and out side to side as we speak.

Acceptance and Non-Resistance. To connect with our potential jurors we must accept them. Even when jurors say they believe in tort reform and limits on damages we need to engage and accept. In Tai Chi we learn strength is through non-resistance.  To resist is to make an enemy. Conversely, successful non-resistance makes a friend. The tort reform friend you make may end up on your jury. Remember your tort reformer must have a frame of reference. This means there cannot be frivolous lawsuits unless there are also meritorious lawsuits. Through non-resistance and acceptance we can reach agreement by the end of on our lawsuit having merit and being worthy of compensation.

No Fear. As we learn from Garr Reynolds in Aikido one has no fear. This is also seen in Tai Chi. Fear comes when we worry about defeat. This happens when we think ahead to the result of the trial. This we cannot do when we stay in the moment. When we stay in the moment we operate at our highest level engaged with our potential jurors. Once we realize we have no control over the result, but we have control over ourself in the moment, we are able to move in the present, relaxed, balanced and engaged. This gives us the best likelihood of connecting with our potential jurors. Connecting with our potential jurors gives us the highest likelihood  of success.

    2 Responses to “The Zen of Jury Selection”

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