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Jury Selection: Simple Rule 6: Improv Rule I

Rules 6 and 7 are timely, since they come from improvisational theatre and I just got back from four days of intensive improv training at BATS (I highly recommend the training).

Rule 6: No scripts.

I’ve written about voir dire scripts before. You’re not going to get very much information if you walk the jury through your list of questions. If you have a list of questions, you’re not ready for the unsettling answers.

More than a few times I’ve heard a potential juror tell a lawyer that the juror lost a family member to a drunk driver, to have the lawyer make a note on a piece of paper and move on to the next question. If someone tells you his brother was killed by a drunk driver, there is a correct response, and It’s not written there in your list of voir dire questions.

This is related to the Blind Date Rule as well: if you show up for your blind date with a list of questions, you’ll be seen as creepy, and rightly so.

Like my friend Neal Davis says, most trials boil down to only a couple of issues. When you go into a jury selection, have a few subjects you want to discuss with the jurors. Figure out a few ways to get the jurors talking about each of these subjects, then stand up and do it.

No scripts.


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