Jury selection was two days. Another TLC strategy that I used was highlighting my danger points right up front and talking about these issues with them. No one really likes a slip-and-fall, you have to hold the City of L.A.responsible, and we had an out-of-state client. So all those were danger points.
But I just started talking to them about those issues and they really opened up. I shared that when I hear “slip-and-fall on coffee”, my radar immediately goes up. Once I described that, the jury was inspired to talk about their biases too. As they talked, I listened — really listened as I had been taught to do at TLC. And I was very appreciative of their honesty. We eliminated 14 jurors that didn’t feel this was the right case for them. They were very honest about it. I think they were honest because I was bringing out the danger points and sharing my own feelings. It really does enable the jury to open up and be honest with us. That’s a huge lesson I took from the College.
When did you feel like there was a turning point in the case?
Voir dire. We were really fortunate to connect with the jury, and they trusted us because I was being very honest with them. Then we were able to get their expert during cross exam to look like a fool on the stand without being too aggressive on him. We let him hang himself. Initially, I did a soft cross and then I started to get more aggressive once I saw the jury was kind of allowing me to go after him.
What happened during the cross examination?
This particular expert testifies all of the time so I had him talk about all of the things that he testified as an expert in. He slowly and slowly kept going and going. He sounded like a classic hired gun. I had him talk about what the LAX policies are for tile. He admitted the tile fell well below their own safety standards but he still said that the tile was safe.
Is this your first case where you were able to completely apply all the TLC methods you learned at the College?
Yes. I have another one coming up, but this was my first one since the Ranch.
What’s your favorite part of working a case?
I’m pretty addicted to trial as a whole but I would definitely say jury selection and cross examining experts are the most fun parts. During jury selection, I really enjoy connecting with different people from all different walks of life. Finding out how they feel about very personal issues and being able to open up with them and build a rapport and get conversation started.
Is that the way you felt about it before you want to TLC?
The way that I come at jury selection is completely different now. It’s really about opening people up and getting a really good conversation started. It is completely different than the way I did it before. I used to be scared. I was scared that people would say horrible things about my case. But what I realized at the ranch is that is okay. People are going to feel that way, and it’s better to get them talking. I say thank you so much for your honesty that’s exactly what we asked for, this is exactly how this system works. You want to get an open line of communication with everyone because if people aren’t talking, then you have no idea what they feel or what their background is or what their biases are, so I actually heavily encourage people to say bad things.
Is this something new since attending the Ranch?
Yeah, before, I would want to get people talking about my case in a good way because I thought that would convince other jurors. That’s not how it works. People don’t change their long held beliefs because some random juror says something. I don’t think it’s an effective way convince and reach people.