Driscoll & Feder, LLP

A Few Words On Jury Trials

Courtroom Experience, Skill, Confidence, and Results

In trial, everything collapses into simple realities. Your case will be won or lost. A jury of ordinary people is going to decide. The performance of your trial lawyer is crucial to your success. The size of your law firm is meaningless to the jury. Only one lawyer will stand to give your opening or closing statement, or to conduct that key witness exam or cross-exam. A courtroom “with a jury in the box” is where we make the difference. Our lawyers have the courtroom experience, skills and confidence that can only come from years of trying cases. We have tried small cases, and we have tried multi-week federal jury cases with over $26 million at stake. And our success rate is impressive.

The Myth of Jury Unpredictability (a Reason for Last-Minute Settlements?)

Lawyers say jury trials are inherently unpredictable. That is accurate, but only to a point. Climbing Mt. Everest is inherently unpredictable too, but that does not mean it can’t be done. It just requires experience and the right team, equipment, planning and mental attitude.

The unspoken reality is that some lawyers fear jury trials and the impact that losing might have on their firm’s finances or on their career. They hope to win with pretrial motions or to settle. Some have spent their careers doing pretrial discovery, motions and settlements with few, if any, days in jury trial. It is only after monstrous sums of fees and time have been spent that the client hears his or her attorney seriously recommend settlement. Often, nothing new has happened to warrant new advice. There’s no new evidence or law compelling a change. The attorney just emphasizes how “unpredictable judges and juries” can be.

We will try to settle your case on favorable terms. But if it can’t settle, you will know that your lawyers have the trial experience and skills to carefully select a jury, effectively introduce your evidence, prudently object, and convincingly make opening and closing statements.

As for unpredictability, trials are indeed a field of human endeavor where the participants—clients and lawyers alike—must accept the ultimatum of victory or defeat without a middle ground. There is always the risk of losing, but the existence of that risk alone is not a sufficient basis for settling—and certainly not a basis for waiting until the last minute before trial to do so. The first thing we do in a new case is to start writing the jury instructions applicable to your claims or defenses. We take discovery targeted at gathering the evidence required by the jury instructions the judge will read to the jury. Based on that specific evidence, and our assessment of its quality (how good the witness are, whether certain evidence will be admitted or excluded), we will give you our opinion of the chances of winning or losing. With our advice, you will have ample time during the case to decide whether to settle or go to trial.

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