You are a trial lawyer. You know that the most important job you have in that trial courtroom is convincing the people in the jury box that your side is the right one, and that they should find for you. Easy right? We all know it is an immense task.
There are many challenges facing a trial lawyer. If you are a criminal prosecutor, you know in virtually every jurisdiction that you need to convince every single juror of something beyond a reasonable doubt. It is hard to get 12 strangers to agree on a lunch order let alone the guilt or innocence of a defendant beyond a reasonable doubt, so that is a tough job.
By the same token, it is equally challenging as a criminal defense attorney. Even though you only need to raise the specter of reasonable doubt, you are usually having to cross-examine police officers who are experts at testifying in court because they do it all the time. Thus, you have different challenges in trying to convince a jury of something.
Finally, all of the civil trial lawyers out there confront major challenges in winning over jurors because you often deal with complex fact patterns, or the need for expert testimony because your case has complicated scientific evidence that a jury needs to understand.
Overall, the struggle on how to win over jurors is constant and changes with each trial.
Accordingly, as a company that works with law firms almost exclusively, we thought we would share some of the tips we have heard over the years. Also, if you want to increase your marketing reach with the help of an experienced, professional, digital marketing agency, look no farther than Oamii of West Palm Beach. We welcome you to contact us at Oamii to help you market your firm and build your book of business. Please fill out our online contact form, or call us at 561-228-4111 today.
Now, on to the invaluable tips we have gleaned over the years that will show you how to win over jurors. We will add a little helpful angle by categorizing the tips into non-verbal and verbal ways on how to win over jurors. This will hopefully emphasize the point that most of communication – including commof West Palm Beachunication with jurors – is non-verbal. Some estimate as much as 90% of communication is non-verbal.
Non-Verbal Tips on How to Win Over Jurors
Tip 1 – Jurors Watch You, Even When You are Not Speaking
As you well know, jurors are asked to pay attention in the courtroom. That means that jurors give the trial 100% of their focus. Jurors, however, are not always looking at the person speaking, whether it is the judge, a witness, or another lawyer. Jurors essentially see everything from the rumple of your jacket to whether your shoes are shined.
That being said, jurors are also more in tune with your body language when something happens in the courtroom. If a witness says something that hurts your case, jurors will look at you to see your reaction. If you react as if you have been stung, then jurors will know that your case has taken a hit. If you seem to silently celebrate something, jurors will pick up on that too.
Knowing the above, you need to be “on” at all times. Jurors do not know the law, or the courtroom as well as you do. So, as anyone would, jurors will look to you, the attorneys as the experts in the law, for cues on how to behave. That means that you need to be careful about your mannerisms, your behavior, and the propriety of your conduct at all times. If you are, for example, on your phone a lot, not paying attention, or behaving unprofessionally, jurors will see it and make conclusions about you, your client, and your case.
Accordingly, always conduct yourself professionally whenever you are in the presence of the jury. That is one way to win them over.
Tip 2 – Never Let Them See You Sweat
A great way to show the jurors that you are someone with grace under pressure is by having a composed, subtle smile on at all times. No matter which way the case goes, no matter how bad your doctor flubbed his or her testimony on the stand, no matter how hard a time the judge is giving you, keep that small smile on.
It should not be a big grin or an expression inappropriate to the moment, but just the hint of a smile that tells the jury that “everything is going as planned.” You can non-verbally convey that message, even if you know everything is not quite going as planned.
Tip 3 – You Get More Bees With Honey . . .
Jurors will like you more if you are a nice person. That sounds pretty obvious, but a lot of trial lawyers think that an ornery, combative Clarence Darrow approach is the way to give jurors a real show. Ninety-nine percent of the time such an approach is decidedly not how to win over jurors.
Rather, be nice to everyone in the courtroom from the court reporter and the bailiff, to the judge and opposing counsel. If jurors think you are a good person, then jurors are also likely to ascribe good motives to what you say.
Verbal Tips on How to Win Over Jurors
Tip 4 – Use Illustrative Exhibits
If you have a case that has any technical aspects at all, from environmental pollution measuring techniques to drug testing, then you will need to teach the jurors some new information. Many people are visual learners. Therefore, do not be afraid to include some simple visual aids to enhance understanding.
Tip 5 – You Testify on Cross, Not the Witness
When you are cross examining a witness, you should use that as an opportunity to make out your case before the jury. The witness is merely there to give affirmation to the questions to which you already know the answers. The adage “don’t ever ask a question that you do not know the answer to” remains great advice. Follow it, and use your cross as a way to make your case to the jury.
Tip 6 – Take the Sting Out of Evidence That Hurts Your Case
There really is nothing worse than a jury thinking that you are surprised by evidence that hurts your case. If a juror sees that you are broad-sided by evidence that you never mentioned before, then the juror will automatically assume that you are trying to hide something, or worse, that you do not know all the facts of your case. It is human nature.
The way to win that juror over is to get ahead of the bad facts by bringing them out first and having an explanation for them – i.e., “taking the sting” out of bad facts. Jurors will forgive the fact that you do not have a perfect case, or a perfect client, but they will not forgive you if you appear to be hiding the ball.
These 6 tips are among many that will help you figure out how to win over jurors. Again, to learn more about how Oamii can help your law firm thrive, please fill out our online contact form, or call us at 561-228-4111 today.