Cal. Litig. 2019, Volume 32, Number 3

Out with the Old, in with the New – Try an Updated Approach to Jury Selection

By Dr. Noelle Nelson

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D. is a trial consultant who specializes in trial strategy, witness preparation, and focus groups. She is the author of "Connecting With Your Client" (ABA) and the blog "A Winning Tip." NNelson@Dr.NoelleNelson. com

Times they are a-changing. Jurors are no longer siding with plaintiffs or defense according to readily predictable demographic characteristics.

Take, for example, a focus group assembled to help the plaintiff’s attorneys evaluate how jurors would react to different arguments in a medical malpractice case. The plaintiff was claiming negligence by the doctors and hospital resulting in catastrophic damage to her newborn. The plaintiff’s attorneys fully expected members of the mock jurors who were mothers with young children to find for the plaintiff. Imagine their surprise when three out of the four moms did not find for the plaintiff, stating that births are difficult and untold complications could occur.

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