Why Even Have a Jury Trial?

Why have a jury trial at all,, I mean most of the people out there don’t believe in justice. It is my experience that most clients believe that the government always wins, that big insurance owns the justice system and besides, they ask, what can you do?

That’s an interesting question. Most “lawyers” charge more money for a jury trial than a plea in criminal cases and most “lawyers” are afraid to invest substantial money into a jury trial, when they can take the offer given them by the insurance company and move on. Now the only one who gets the short end of the stick is the client, not the “lawyer”. What would happen if no one ever took a case to trial say against an insurance company? Do you think the offers would get any better? Or do you think the offers would get worse? How about not trying a case against the government, do you suppose the offers of pen time might get longer?

I am amazed as I sit in the courthouses today listening to “lawyers” talk to their clients. I hear all sorts of horrible, scary stories about what a jury will do to you the client. How after they find you guilty,, you’ll do pen time. Or how the insurance defense team has filed a counterclaim against you claiming that you have filed a frivolous lawsuit against their client.  The “lawyers” tell the clients, it’s better to take their offer,, than to risk nothing,, or worse yet, get a judgment against you for a frivolous lawsuit.

These “lawyers” ought to go home and sell insurance, they shouldn’t be in the courthouse. What I really imagine the “lawyer” is saying to the client is,,, “I’m not really prepared for your case, it’s just not worth the time or trouble,,, I need to pay the rent today and this money will help me make my overhead,,, I built up your expectations of the worth of this case and now I have to tell you it’s not worth what I told you I could get for you”. “The government is going to use this witness against you,,, you didn’t tell me about him / her,,, this changes everything, because I’m not really prepared”. On and on the excuses go by these “lawyers”, until the clients begin to believe there is no justice at all. If only the “lawyers” are honest enough to tell the clients the truth to begin with. I believe that the client then would be willing to take on the risk of trial with a “lawyer” who tells them the truth, rather than one who lies to them.

It’s amazing how often I tell my clients the truth about trial. I am really, really scared whenever I try a case. I have a hundred forms of fear running rampant in me whenever I face the jury. I mean, it’s real scary,, representing someone who has put their life in your hands,, someone who will never be whole again because of the actions of the other side’s client. It’s very scary knowing that the resources the government has are never matched by my client,, or the resources the insurance defense has are never equaled by my clients.

How does one do battle against such great odds? First of all, you must know your client’s story. Second it helps to read the law and discover the evidence the opposition will use against you. Third, it never fails to amaze me that 1 or 2 days before trial, a critical piece of evidence has just only now this very instance been discovered by the other side and the judge always lets it into evidence before the jury. If you know this will happen in any of your cases going in, you can always deal with it in trial. Finally, I can not say enough about preparation. If you are prepared you will always have the advantage. Does your “lawyer” really prepare for battle? Or is he / she just telling you how great they are? How many hours does the “lawyer” spend with you, the client?  You know, my friends understand me, support me and if necessary, would lend me anything I need. Do you feel your “lawyer” is like that? If so, win lose or draw, you’ve got a warrior to do battle for you.

But you ask again, “Why even have a jury trial?” Why bother? I say, watch what happens as the case develops,, see the miracle in the jury system. We will know the client’s story so we can tell it to the jury, warts and all. We will not lie to the jury, we will treat them as friends who want to hear this story. We will win. We will have justice for you. We will not be broken, we will prevail. Even if, as some lawyers say, “the Judge has taken away David’s stones and given them to Goliath”, we will still prevail. It is because we discover the client’s story and are able to present it to the jury. It is ultimately, because we care. Remember, “the jury will never care how much you know, until the jury knows how much you care.”

Well, enough for today, I’m off to court. Hope everyone has a wonderful day.


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