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
For example, you have a case
with the following facts: A 34 year old woman was riding in
her friends 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
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
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