Ronald H. Clark and Thomas M. O’Toole have written a masterful textbook on how to pick a jury so you can win: Jury Selection Handbook. The authors’ expertise is a perfect combination for such a book. O’Toole brings his wisdom as a jury consultant, and Clark shares his extensive teaching and writing skills as a professor at Seattle University Law School.
Most lawyers prepare for trial, but they never prepare for jury selection because they are terrified of the process and believe they can never develop the skills to make a difference in selecting a jury that helps their case. With the publication of this book, that excuse does not work anymore.
The Jury Selection Handbook has everything for the new and experience lawyer to learn how to succeed at jury selection every time. It is clearly written and provides fresh insight with examples that make its strategies memorable. For the busy practitioner, it has a very detailed table of contents that allows you to hone in on a very specific question that needs answering in a hurry. In addition, the book allows for in-depth study and supports its ideas with footnotes to rules and caselaw to give you the authority you need if an opposing lawyer or judge challenges what you do.
Aside from being very thoughtfully and crisply written, the Jury Selection Handbook will persuade you to disregard the conventional wisdom that you pick jurors that favor your side. Instead, the book argues convincingly that your goal should be to find the jurors that are against you so you can prevent them from being on the jury. Why? If you follow the conventional wisdom and find jurors that will help you through your questions and their answers, the only thing you have done is identify the jurors that the other side will strike. In short, you are doing the work for your opponent.
Instead, as Clark and O’Toole discuss in Chapter Seven, your goal is to get as many negative responses from the jurors as possible so you can prevent them from being on the jury. The authors give you loads of practical tips on how to create such a discussion. As the book points out with ringing clarity, there are two chances for jurors to tell you something bad about your case: in jury selection when you can do something about it or with their verdict.
This book is a must read for new and experienced litigators.