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The Art and Science of Jury Selection


No doubt, you’ve heard that for trial lawyers: if you don’t have good facts, you argue the law; if the law is not on your side, you argue the facts. What if the lawyer has neither good facts nor good law? She can win anyway by properly selecting the jury. Perhaps a slight over-statement; perhaps not. We will pass over, rather summarily, the rules of jury selection in the various courts. Instead, we’ll focus on the art and technology that is actually employed in the courtroom for jury selection. Rather than much lecturing, our presentation will utilize movie clips from such hits as “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “My Cousin Vinnie,” and Henry Fonda’s portrayal in “Young Abraham Lincoln,” as well as some lesser-known flics. Further, we will engage in some role-playing and a mock trial demonstration to deepen our understanding of this rather arcane and little appreciated, yet quintessential, aspect of a trial and our judicial system.

Instructor Biography

Jim Kearney was a senior litigation partner at the global law firm, Latham & Watkins, where he also headed up the firm’s award-winning global pro bono practice for five years. In addition to his commercial clients, he represented US domestic and non-domestic pro bono clients. In 2006, he was a co-founder of the Foundation for the United Nations Global Compact, the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world. He now serves as chairperson of the Foundation’s board of directors. Throughout his commercial legal practice, Jim specialized in jury research, communication arts and litigation strategy. For more than 30 years he taught litigation tactics to practicing lawyers in the U.S. and abroad. Jim was a philosophy major at Manhattan College in New York and obtained his law degree, cum laude, from New York University Law School.

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