Voir dire is the process by which prospective jurors, known as veniremen, are questioned about their backgrounds and potential biases before being chosen to sit on a jury. It involves a discussion/question-and-answer period between the attorneys and the potential jurors, and allows the attorneys to formulate opinions and decide which jurors they would like on the jury and which jurors they would not like on the jury.
Yesterday, Attorney James Burdick, a fantastic lawyer and long time friend of Neil Rockind, discussed his thoughts regarding the best way to voir dire potential jurors. During the discussion Burdick pointed out the following:
“I learned [my current voir dire style] watching an outstanding local trial lawyer pal of mine, Neil Rockind, who I think you know. He developed it, refined it, and then I stole everything I could from him. Seriously, it’s great (and seriously, he’s always happy to share).
My old ways of ‘would you agree’ type questions always left me wondering more about the ‘good’ jurors many times. Neil’s way is really just having yet another “critical conversation” with the jurors, like in opening and closing. I think they feel more a part of it. The method requires reminding them repeatedly that ‘there are no right and no wrong answers, only answers.’ I think they open up way more, and you get more truthful responses. More cause charges as well…
I don’t think Neil’s ever had a judge (who allows any voir dire) object, and he’s been using this method for years.” – James Burdick
That is extremely high praise from a greatly respected trial lawyer.
Keep up the good work Neil!
Colin A. Daniels