accordingly. For example, for judges who seat the panel in four rows of ten persons each,
redesign the form to have four rows of ten persons. You will need more than one sheet.
As each juror is called to the box, or otherwise identified in the courtroom, write the
juror’s last name at the top of the form’s row corresponding to the juror’s seat. Then it
will be easy to jot a few notes about each prospective juror. For example, if it is devel-
oped that the person is an executive who thinks corporations make no mistakes worthy
of suit, you can draw a circle around the plus or minus sign on “corporation” as a quick
indication to you what that juror is like. If a juror knows a witness, the name of the wit-
ness known can be jotted next to “witness” on the form’s box for that potential juror.
You are then reminded which potential juror works with witness Jones.
Our form includes the following nine items. Usually, you need to know this much
about a juror. The list can easily be modified.
Friendly to corporations.
Tort reform mentality makes him distrust any plaintiff.
Occupation bears upon the matter at hand.
Government employee or engaged in a medical occupation.
Knows an attorney, party, witness or the accident site.
He or his immediate family has been involved in a similar type of occurrence.
He or his immediate family has either sued someone or been sued.
He or his immediate family had the same sort of injury or damages.
(Most important.) The juror’s personality is such that you consider it a “plus”
or a “minus” in your personal relationship to that juror during the course of
§19.2 Summary of the Case
At the start of voir dire, many judges ask the attorneys to each give a short descrip-
tion of what the case is about. Do not waste this opportunity. Be ready with a three-
minute speech giving a story of the case.
The old Perry Mason detective story titles had it right. The titles were “The case of
....,” such as “The case of the sixty orange signs” or “The case of the man who did not
show a light.” You need to tell the jury in your first sentence at least one factual item
you want them to key on. “This is an automobile accident case” will not grab a juror’s
interest. Be specific. “This is a case of a driver who drove too fast.” Or “this is a case of a
handshake that everyone thought was a contract.” For goodness sake, do not just say,
“This is a medical malpractice case” if instead you can say, “This is a case of a doctor
who did not take time to read the pathologist’s clear report of cancer, and John Smith is
now dead.” Or if you are representing a defendant, say: “This is a case of hidden cancer,
that even the best doctors, like Dr. Kirmis, have to work against.” In the voir dire, give
the prospective jurors a short skeleton of the fact story. Do not simply list legal issues.
Make your case summary a compelling three-minute description that you can use to
great benefit when the judge asks, “Counselor, describe the case briefly so the jurors
will know if they have a conflict with this type of case.”
§19.2 BUILDING TRIAL NOTEBOOKS 19-2