The Daily

Jury Trial

When I started this blog a couple of years ago, I wrote a series of posts that I called “What Is A Jury Trial?”. You can find the whole series here: OneTwoThreeFourFiveSix and Seven.

Long after writing these posts, I made a video talking about jury trials. You can find that video on our website page  “‘About the Firm” and on our YouTube Channel here.

Serious and complex cases have a zero chance of success if your lawyer does not have enough experience trying serious and complex cases. Insurance companies and defense law firms know which lawyers those are – even if you don’t. If you hire your lawyer off the television, chances are you didn’t get one of them. Advertising firms have simply too many cases and the cases they end up trying are the cases they can’t settle. Trying your case because you have to is not the position you want to be in. Some cases need to be tried because the client wants that result and does not want to be shoe horned into a result chosen by the firm they hired to represent their interests. This is a discussion you must have with your lawyer at the front of the case – not the back end. The other side may never know about your strategy – they will simply know that you have a real trial lawyer or you do not.

The photo accompanying this post is of a bench in the Broward County Courthouse, just outside one of the jury trial rooms. I’ve been sitting on these benches (and others just like them around the State and country) for almost thirty years with clients, witnesses and lawyers talking about everything from unimportant motions to significant negotiations that would determine whether a jury would decide the case or not.

The thing about serious and complex cases is that they take a long time to try. More than a week. This leaves the parties, the lawyers, jurors, bailiffs and clerks in a room together for a long time. People get to know each other pretty well. Sometimes they get chatty, sometimes the tension is too thick for that kind of thing. It can be a rattling thing for the uninitiated.

To make a resolution easier and facilitate discussions, a Judge in Atlanta where I tried a medical malpractice case had a habit of bringing the parties and lawyers back to his chambers at the end of the day every so often. He wanted the case settled and was keeping in touch with us about our progress. On the day I finished putting on our case, putting the rest of the trial in the hands of the Hospital and Doctors’ lawyers, the Judge called us back into his Chambers. It was a Friday night. When we walked in, he was wearing the opera getup from a Wagner production – Viking helmet, blonde wig with pigtails – the whole  thing. Everyone burst out laughing. The first time in a month as I recall. That case settled shortly thereafter.

The point is this: everyone there knew we were in it for the long haul. The defendants knew that we were prepared to go all the way. And until it was over, we assumed the same about them. Those are difficult times for a family not used to high stakes litigation. You need a lawyer with experience to get you through it. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury and think another may be responsible, please consider trusting me with your case.