Read an Excerpt
From the Introduction
Should We Really Kill All the Lawyers?
Lawyers have a bad reputation. As a lawyer and a jury consultant, I live with jokes, insults, and questions. I have lost track of how many times I heard someone try to wow me with: "What do you call a hundred lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start!" Or, someone might wander over to me at party and blurt, "How do you live with the fact that you represent guilty people?" Some people want to relive the O.J. trial and always start with, "But O.J. did it! Why is he free?" Even the relatively sophisticated crowd might ask, "Isn't the voodoo you do to help other lawyers pick juries unethical?"
The reality is that most people do not understand how the system works. Famous lawyers write books about the cases they have tried so they can talk about how great they are (and I am not saying they are wrong). However, you probably read those books with some hope of gaining insight about what happens behind the scenes; you might want to learn a little about how the system really works, but instead you get memoirs.
It is time to pull the curtain back on the process in order to help you understand what lawyers and trial consultants are really trying to accomplish behind the scenes and in the public courtroom. It also is time to get the age-old nagging questions about guilt and innocence, civil liability, and damages addressed and answered. That lawyers represent "guilty" people has always triggered distaste in the American experience. These questions have been around for a long time, and we see them tweaked every week on The Practice or Court TV.
The reality is that most people do not have their first encounter with a real lawyer (and "lawyerly" behavior) until they find themselves embroiled in an unfortunate divorce, an unexpected auto accident, or perhaps something as simple as the need to draft a will. It is no secret that lawyers are not highly rated on the scale of public trust, but oddly enough, surveys about lawyers and trust often note an important exception: people think their own lawyers are terrific. So, if you have not had a need for lawyers, then you probably do not think too highly of them. If you have worked with a lawyer, you probably like your own, but you think others are unethical. I want to dispel that myth.
It is true that lawyers can be intimidating; they speak a language all their own. In addition, it is difficult to overcome the perception that lawyers make money from other people's troubles. However, many lawyers and jury consultants make their living in whole or in part by serving the public interest and working to represent those without financial resources. In reality, most lawyers recognize the law as a public calling and act accordingly.
In recent decades, a group of professionals called trial consultants, jury consultants, and jury psychologists-all mean about the same thing-have added their expertise to the courtroom drama. While I am a lawyer, I am also a trial consultant. It is my job to help my trial-lawyer clients do the best possible job of representing, which means advocating for, their clients. We are a relatively new profession, but trying to choose jurors that reach a verdict that pleases one side or the other is as old as the jury system itself. The difference is that now we have scientific tools available to help guide our work with trial lawyers. This book is my attempt to explain where trial consultants fit into the big picture of criminal and civil trials, thereby providing a better overall understanding of the legal process itself...