Jury Project on May 16, 2012 gets Rave Reviews by Trial LawyersOn Wednesday, May 16, 2012, the Jury Project was held at an uptown restaurant in Kingston, New York. The Jury Project began with a Powerpoint presentation from Kingston, New York medical malpractice lawyer, John H. Fisher, that incorporated clips from the movies, "12 Angry Men", "The Verdict" and "And Justice for All". The emphasis of the Powerpoint presentation was the stark difference between the background, experience and mindset of jurors and lawyers. The goal for the trial lawyer is to get inside the minds of the jurors in order to answer the questions that are taking place in their minds.
The second phase of the Jury Project was the presentation of a rear-end motor vehicle accident by counsel for the plaintiff and defense before three juries designated as the "White Jury", "Green Jury" and the "Blue Jury". Arguments, witnesses and photographs were presented by the respective attorneys for the parties during the case presentation. After the case presentation, the jurors were given the opportunity to ask questions and they were then sent to three separate deliberation rooms.
Instructions on the law (the "jury charge") were read to the jurors before they began their deliberations and they were asked to answer three questions on the verdict sheet. When the jurors began their deliberations, the trial lawyers at the Jury Project went to work.
Why this is called a "Workshop"When the non-lawyer jurors went into three separate deliberation rooms, the trial lawyers at the Jury Project also separated into three "juries" where they deliberated on the evidence, witnesses and exhiibits presented by the plaintiff's and defendants' lawyers.
Each lawyer at the Jury Project made his case before his/her respective jury as to why the plaintiff or defendant should win and the lawyer jurors then attempted to collaborate to reach an unanimous verdict. After their deliberations, the lawyer jurors were shown a live video feed of the jury deliberations of the non-lawyers that was taken place in a different room. The live video feed of the jurors revealed the stark difference between the thoughts and perceptions of the evidence between the jurors and the trial lawyers.
At the conclusion of the deliberations by the Green, White and Blue Juries, the jurors were returned to the "courtroom" where they announced their verdicts and provided the reasons for their verdict. The trial lawyers at the Jury Project were permitted to ask the jurors why they reached their verdicts and how they were influenced by particular pieces of evidence and facts. Rarely do trial lawyers get this opportunity to get inside the thoughts and minds of jurors.
Here's what one trial lawyer had to say about the Jury Project"This was one of the best, if not the best, workshop I've attended."
"The multi-media approach was great. Using clips from The Verdict and Justice for All (my favorite films) added a nice touch. Having taught, Reel Justice: Hollywood goes to Court, for ten years, I know that you really put a lot of time into your verbal presentation and a lot of preparation into your material."
"The video of the jury panels were insightful. Being able to view the jury as they deliberated was an eye-opener to say the least."
"You have successfully created a very useful and educational experience. John, you reallly hit a home run. I can go on but I just wanted to touch base while the thoughts were fresh."
Steven I. Gottlieb, Esq., Kingston, New York