This was a medical malpractice case.
The judge told us to go pick a jury.
My adversary and I were sent into a room with 25 potential jurors.
We had never met these people before.
They knew nothing about our case.
This initial meeting was an attempt to learn whether any of these potential jurors had any biases, opinions or beliefs that would prevent them from sitting as an impartial juror in our case.
During jury selection, I, as the plaintiffs attorney, have an opportunity to talk to the jurors first.
I let them know why they are there.
I give them an idea of what we will be doing during jury selection.
I tell them briefly what our case is about and what our claims are.
You should know that jury selection is not the opportunity for me to present testimony.
It is not my chance to give closing arguments.
It is not my opportunity to question witnesses.
Instead, I have the opportunity to question these members of the community to find out whether there is anything in their background which would prevent them from sitting as a juror in our case.
Often times the jury clerk will ask each potential jurors who appeared for jury duty to fill out a questionnaire.
The questionnaire asks basic things such as their level of education.
Where they grew up.
Where they work.
What type of work they do.
Whether they have ever brought a lawsuit before.
What their hobbies are.
This gives us a brief chance to skim through their basic history and begin asking follow-up questions.
In civil lawsuits in New York, we are searching for six people to sit on our jury. In addition, the judge will likely also ask us to select an additional two or three people known as alternate jurors. Those jurors play an important role if any one of the main jurors are unable to complete their jury duty sitting on our panel.
One of the gentlemen I was talking to during jury selection was 19 years old. His hobby was playing videogames.
The day before jury selection started, I had been talking to my son who told me about this military style video game called Halo. It was a brutally violent shooting style game that many people love to play.
When I learned that this potential juror love to play video games, I immediately thought that because of his age he probably would play this game called Halo.
I asked him innocently whether he liked the game Halo.
You should've seen his face light up. He became so animated telling me that it was his favorite video game of all time.
He formed an immediate connection to me simply by asking him this innocent question.