Jury Duty, An Obligation Sure, But Also a Large Reward
by Michael Fox
I just happened on this post today by Adam Rich, talking about his 5 Lessons From Jury Duty that was posted on an American Express Forum for small businesses. I think his points are valid, although frankly, my role is more as a consumer of juries than as a participant.
So perhaps it is a little stretch for me to claim how large a reward jury service can be, but from jurors I have talked with or heard talk about their experiences, even those who thought a case was silly or a waste of time, have never the less come away with a renewed respect for the judicial process.
We are all binded by our own biases, but from my seat in trial representing employers, I am always amazed at how it is the individuals we would typically identify as those most likely to share the employer's perspective who are the least able to serve because they are too busy (an excuse that never works by the way) or because they just can't set aside their long held beliefs about the frivolousness of laws suits or whatever and listen to the evidence and be fair and impartial.
Call me cynical, but I am inclined to think that much more often they have figured the "out" than that they are any less able to be open minded jurors than all the other folks who seem to be able to put aside their past experiences and be fair.
Which if you are an employer type, you might think about when you hear that time honored phrase in reference to your particular law suit being tried by a "jury of your peers. " What that often means is a jury panel where all those who will at least understand the context in which the decisions you are defending were made, are the most likely to be gone well before the time that peremptory strikes are made.