I’ll be one of the veteran lawyers helping younger lawyers with trial skills this week.
It’s a great program run by the NH Association of Justice, a group of dedicated trial lawyers in our state.
I’ll be one of the critiquing faculty for Voir Dire. This is when the lawyers on both sides get to learn something about the potential jurors so that a fair and impartial jury can be selected to serve on the case being tried.
There’s no science to it, and no one-size fits all approach.
The phrase Voir Dire means “to tell the truth,” and it is directed at the people being questioned by the lawyers. The lawyers need to know where the potential jurors stand on things they deem important. In others words, what are the things they hold as truths, and how does that square with their ability/competency to serve as a fair and impartial juror.
In my view, it also starts with each lawyer being willing to tell the truth, and I mean the whole truth, and not shading/slanting the truth in order to manipulate the jurors.
Sadly, the public perception of lawyers is not very favorable, and that’s because too often lawyers have been less than truthful.
Voir Dire is the first chance a lawyer gets to talk with the potential jurors. It’s immensely important, and one of my favorite parts of trial.
I’m looking forward to working with the “students”, all of whom are already lawyers. Performing in front of one’s peers is never easy, so I give them a lot of credit for doing it and practicing the skills.
Everyone there, including the veterans, will undoubtedly learn something from the experience.
Being a trial lawyer is a tough job.
Like anything else it takes lots of practice and hard work.
It also takes— in my view— a willingness to be a real live human being over being a lawyer.
That’s a blog for a different day.