How Your Trial Could Have Gone Differently

For Jenna, it was one of those days.

The kind of day that just drags on in a perfect storm of bad luck. Her computer crashed right before she finished writing her quarterly report. For some reason, her office smelled like a rotting dairy farm, and she managed to spill her lunch all over her new blouse.

It was just one of those days.

As she flipped through her mail while walking through the front door of her tiny apartment, she paused on an official-looking envelope. “Official Jury Summons Smith County” was printed in a bright yellow box. Just like that, she knew the universe was working against her.

With no valid reason to be excused from jury duty, Jenna dutifully, yet grudgingly arrived at the appointed time and location to offer her services as a juror. When she arrived, she was amazed by the diversity of people who would be serving with her; people from a variety of backgrounds and education levels, all working together for a common goal.

But after the amazement came the worry. Jenna had earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and considered herself fairly educated, and even she was stressed about understanding the court proceedings and vocabulary used by the judge and attorney. But there were other jurors who didn’t have the same educational opportunities as her, and she wondered how was she supposed to reach a verdict with people who were so different from her.

After everyone had entered the courtroom, the trial began. Jenna’s thoughts quickly left the case as she started to think about the work she needed to catch up on and when she would go grocery shopping. Occasionally, she would tune back into the trial, but it was hard to pay attention when they were using so many big words that she didn’t understand and showing documents that didn’t mean anything to her. If she wasn’t getting anything out of this, she doubted that any of the other jurors were understanding anything.

Pause.

Does this sound familiar? It’s rare to find a group of jurors that are actively engaged during most of a trial, let alone the entirety of it. In a perfect world, each jury would be composed of 12 people from diverse backgrounds who are also well-versed in legal affairs while being wholeheartedly committed to pursuing justice. Since that situation isn’t a plausible option, we go for the next best thing: an appealing presentation.

Think back to your days in school when a professor would spend ten minutes writing on the board, and two minutes in you were mentally checked out; your jury isn’t any different. You can’t afford to spend time setting up documents, zooming in on images, and fast-forwarding to a specific segment of a deposition. You need to be able to present your case clearly and concisely so that the jury can understand and remember your presentation.

Yes, it takes a lot of time and effort to prepare a seamless case presentation beforehand; but if it helps the jury to reach the desired verdict, isn’t it worth it?

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