Recent revelations about corporate greed and wrong-doing have significantly altered juror attitudes, says Dr. Noelle Nelson, a California trial consultant and author of the booklet, "101 Winning Tips: How to Give a Good Deposition & Testify Well in Court."
Jurors who may have once rationalized, 'What the heck, everybody does it,"are now holding lawyers and their corporate clients to a higher standard,"notes Nelson. "Taking advantage of others by virtue of contractual technicalities and loopholes was viewed as flaky but an ordinary way of operating in the business world. Now, it's seen as an unacceptable moral failing. "
Nelson is finding jurors are favoring lawyers who express sincerity and genuine belief in their client's cause and who are respectful towards the legal process and all involved. "Jurors are less convinced by lawyers who focus on the 'letter of the law' and more persuaded by those who incorporate the 'spirit of the law' into their arguments. It's a subtle but important shift. Jurors are more likely to discredit lawyers' arguments if they appear to justify unethical behavior."
Nelson continues, "Jurors do not appear to be looking for perfection, or favoring only those 'without sin,' but are looking for honesty and other quintessential American ideals--ideals that in many jurors' minds have been sorely lacking in business and society in recent years."
Scott Drake interviews Dr. Noelle Nelson