The Synchronics Group
19 Divisadero Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
t 415.626.2210
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www.synchronicsgroup.com
info@synchronicsgroup.com

 

The body talks - loud and clear. If you can hear it, you will gain a winning edge in the courtroom - especially in the difficult task of jury selection.

For example, you have a case with the following facts: A 34 year old woman was riding in her friend’s car when the car was hit by oncoming traffic. The plaintiff suffered minor neck and back pains, but otherwise, seemed all right. Now, however, she is complaining of depression, lack of concentration and nightmares. She makes mistakes at work, is nervous, anxious and ill tempered. She says her life has changed dramatically since the accident and is suing for pain and suffering and loss of ability to work.

Generally - and we are talking in broad strokes, here - as plaintiff counsel, you want jurors who are nurturing and generous. These are not the only characteristics you are looking for, but they are almost generic plaintiff traits in cases where someone is hurt and is trying to get compensation.

Your ideal plaintiff jurors should be nurturing so that they will want to help the plaintiff and make her 'whole again.' They should be open and receptive to the fact of her suffering. They should be generous so they will give her a lot of money.

These kind of people are touchy-feeley; they are gregarious, socially oriented and often work in the helping professions, such as social worker, teacher, therapist, sales. They do volunteer work.

As defense counsel, you want jurors who are more restrained and disciplined, both with their feelings and their pocket book. They are more 'thinkers' than 'feelers.' They believe everyone should take responsibility for what happens to them and not blame others or look to others to get 'fixed up.'

These kind of people are uptight; they hold on to their preconceptions. They often fill responsible positions in those professions which require analytical thinking, such as engineers, accountants, computer programmers and managers. They are usually part of the 'establishment,' and are satisfied with the status quo.

If this is the extent of the jury profile you carry with you when you begin voir dire, you will make it through the process okay. But if you can expand upon that profile by adding some nonverbal indicators which can visually describe your ideal juror, imagine the cutting edge, the distinct advantage you will have over your opponent.

This article will describe some of those nonverbal indicators which will help you identify the juror you want in this kind of case. I will describe a set of opposite indicators, one set to identify a plaintiff juror and one set to identify a defense juror.

These visual clues are subtle