When selecting a jury, it is very important that a lawyer learn which potential jurors have leadership responsibilities at their jobs because such jurors frequently become leaders during jury deliberations. If those jury leaders then decide to vote against the lawyer's case and are able to persuade other jurors to vote the same way, the verdict will almost inevitably go against the lawyer.
In her book entitled "Reading People," jury consultant Jo-Ellan Dimitrius echoes this sentiment when she writes that "when we select jurors, one of the most important questions we ask is whether they are supervisors at work and, if so, how many people report to them. People who spend much of their time in a position of control and responsibility over others typically take those workplace attitudes home. Not surprisingly, they also often become the foreperson of the jury."
Trial lawyer and jury consultant Anne Reed states that one of the things she looks for when evaluating potential jurors is leadership. Writes attorney Reed:
Leadership. Will this juror lead others, or follow them? Look for:
- Relevant knowledge. Anyone experienced or knowledgeable in relevant subjects will be looked to by other jurors as an expert, whether or not he or she is otherwise a natural leader.
- Employment and experience. Lawyers, others involved in the legal system, and teachers will almost inevitably be strong leaders.
- Age, sex, social class, education, and personality. Here, demographics do have meaning, at least to me. Over and over in mock trials, middle-aged male business managers tend to be jury leaders, while young blue-collar women and elderly women tend to be very quiet, and everyone else falls on the continuum between. Ask questions to seek out leadership roles at work and in personal activities.
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