Art and Science of Mastering the Jury Trial

A book from Judge Samuel Johnston and Irv Cantor
Published by the Virginia Trial Lawyers Foundation

Facing a jury -- whether as a litigant, a witness or an attorney -- can be a traumatic event no matter what is at issue. It can unnerve the most self-assured/seasoned veteran as well as the tyro. While there are axioms, adages, and postulates which give guidance and comfort, there is no one methodology that will ensure success. There are too many variables, personalities and facts which define the path of the trial and its vagaries and vicissitudes. So why this book?

The two authors do not claim omniscience or possession of unique knowledge which guarantees success and smooth sailing in every jury trial. What they offer, however, is a combination of more than 60 years of participating in or presiding over jury trials of practically every ilk known at law. Between them they have interviewed some four thousand actual and virtual or focus jurors concerning every facet of jury trials, from voir dire to verdict. They have shared these experiences with dozens of bar groups and organizations across the country and now have penned this tome which they believe will serve as an indispensable guide and resource for those who find themselves facing the great unknown---“a jury.”

This book should assist the user in preparing for a jury trial, actually trying a case before a jury, and being certain that all necessary bases are covered after the trial is complete. There will be moments where one faces a question or dilemma not anticipated during the preparation for the trial. The authors have included some scenarios designed to heighten awareness of, and reaction to, those “unknown” problems that arise and increase the likelihood of a proper response, and in some trials actually “save the case.” There will be vignettes throughout the book which illustrate many of the dilemmas that often arise in jury trials. This book is as much a “how not to” as it is a “how to” guide through the labyrinth known as a “jury trial.”