The voir dire and jury selection process is one of the most challenging aspects of a jury trial. It is at this time that lawyers must identify and remove poten-tial jurors who harbor some bias or hold beliefs that would make them less beneficial than others. Success in jury selection requires lawyers to draw upon a number of basic skills. These skills include the ability to:
- Operate effectively within the jury selection system in the trial jurisdiction
- Attain the major goals of voir dire (i.e., gathering info, rapport, education, and persuasion)
- Identify critical opinions, biases, and experiences of jurors that can influence their decisions
- Encourage jurors to reveal important information about themselves
- Utilize the information about their opinions and feelings that potential jurors communicate through their nonverbal behavior
- Develop and ask the questions on voir dire necessary to uncover desired information
- Employ methods for handling common situations and problems (e.g., reluctant jurors, difficult jurors, stealth jurors, negative spirals, and pretrial publicity) that arise during voir dire
- Capitalize on the information available through the use of juror questionnaires
- Effectively utilize information available on jurors through Internet sources and minimize potential threats to jury trials posed by the Internet
- Operate effectively in courts-martial member selections
- Exercise peremptory challenges and challenges for cause in a manner that removes the least desirable potential jurors
The goal of this book is to promote the skills needed to be successful in the area of voir dire and jury selection. It is through the sharpening of these skills that lawyers take a major step in improving the chances of a favorable verdict at trial.
Mastering Voir Dire and Jury Selection: Gain an Edge in Questioning and Selecting Your Jury goes beyond other books on jury selection in its focus on the skills needed to conduct effective voir dire and jury selection. Having a list of questions to ask is only a starting point. Conducting effective voir dire and jury selection requires developing strategies that secure the necessary information and adapt to the unique circumstances that lawyers face in their trial jurisdictions. Effective jury selection does not result from memorizing questions from a book. It is a dynamic process that places a premium on knowing what is needed and how to get it.
Praise for Mastering Voir Dire and Jury Selection
"Jury selection is the most important and often the least known trial lawyer skill. Mastering Voir Dire is by far the most complete and effective jury selection guide available. ... It has simple, short examples from real trials tied to hard-core research and common sense. I have tried many cases, but what I used to know has changed in this digital world. Thanks for Mastering Voir Dire."
--Morris Dees, Founder and Chief Trial Attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center
"The much anticipated Fourth Edition of Mastering Voir Dire and Jury Selection confirms Dr. Jeffrey Frederick as America’s foremost jury expert. With this thoroughly updated and lucidly written work, Frederick moves the needle in demonstrating how practicing lawyers can identify open-minded jurors and craft winning case narratives. A must-read book for the trial bar if ever there was one."
--John Monahan, Shannon Distinguished Professor of Law and Psychology, University of Virginia School of Law