So we are sitting at trial and the jury pool is brought in, and those are the jurors who we are going to choose from as to who’s going to be sitting on our jury. We get a list that encompasses their names, their addresses, their employment, their education, their marital status and often the wife’s employment.
Then we get to the process of voir dire in which the jurors are quizzed about certain factors that we as attorneys think are important to our case. For example, we’ll ask in a civil case if anybody’s been in an auto accident before; has anybody worked for insurance companies; has anybody worked for plaintiff’s lawyers; does anybody know the plaintiff’s attorney; does anybody know the people involved in the accident. All of these questions are to get information, glean information if you will, from the jurors so that we can make an informed decision as to whether or not these are people that we want on the jury. We are allowed to preempt 4 jurors, meaning we just don’t want to have them on the jury for whatever reason … And there are, of course, challenges for cause if somebody says that they can’t fairly sit and judge the case.
The problem is that you really can’t predict for certain how somebody is going to decide a case. There are some rules of thumb. For instance plaintiff’s lawyers seem to like social workers and teachers because they’re caring people and they would be more likely to care and sympathize with an injured plaintiff. This is opposed to doctors, engineers and professionals, who might be a little bit more hardened.