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Mike Myers
Mike Myers
Contributor •

Talking to Juries

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Jury service has been described as one of the most valuable civic functions. In fact, many people think it second only to serving one’s country on the battlefield.

These types of statements are made in almost every closing argument. However, they are often cloaked in archaic formality.

It’s not a great strategy to Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln or other historic figures who do not necessarily have relevance to today’s jurors. The better practice seems to be simply to express gratitude that six or eight or twelve or fourteen busy people have taken the time to actually sit on the jury and not manufactured excuses to avoid service.

It is also important to keep in mind that people tend to meet your expectations for them. If you let the jury know that it is your expectation that they make a decision based on the court’s instructions regarding the law and the evidence they have seen rather than on the insurance company’s hyperbole, it is more likely than not they will meet these expectations.

It’s important to deliver these and other messages to the jury in a direct and conversational manner consistent with everyday life. Fancy speeches and foreign words are not the best tools of persuasion and usually indicate that the speaker does not really understand or believe in the subject matter.