Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Recession Revelations & Your Jurors

The continuing recession and revelations it brings about corporate and other wrong-doing – be it excesses, or cavalier squandering of the ordinary citizen’s financial well-being – have significantly altered juror attitudes. Jurors are no longer taking the position of “What the heck, everybody does it,” rather they are holding lawyers and all parties in the action to a higher standard. For example, taking advantage of others by virtue of contractual technicalities and loopholes is less viewed as a flaky but ordinary way of operating in the world, and more as an unacceptable moral failing. Issues of abandonment and betrayal are rarely excused. Turning one’s back on others and leaving them in a helpless or difficult situation, is virtually always unacceptable.

Jurors are favoring lawyers who express sincerity and genuine belief in their client’s cause, are well prepared, and respectful towards the legal process and all involved. Jurors are less convinced by lawyers who focus on the “letter of the law” and more persuaded by those who incorporate the “spirit of the law” into their arguments. Jurors are more attuned to anything that smacks of a lawyer’s attempt to pull the wool over their eyes, and likely to quickly discredit that lawyer and his or her arguments.

Jurors appear to be more favorable towards the lawyer who admits to problem areas of a case, and then proceeds to give common-sense, believable reasons for those actions. Jurors do not appear to be looking for perfection, or favoring only those “without sin,” but rather for honesty and other “straight-shooter” type qualities, which are quintessential American ideals - sorely lacking these past few years in many a juror’s mind.

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