10 Signs of a Good Jury Questionnaire

by Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.
Expert Jury Consultant

A jury questionnaire is distributed to jurors when they arrive for service. More often than not, this is a highly contested document that all parties want to have a voice in crafting. Knowing what to ask for without overreaching is critical since a judge may revert to a default jury questionnaire.

As in any investigation, answers are only as good as the questions. Accordingly, a jury questionnaire should avoid “garbage in/garbage out” like the plague.  I have seen far more bad questions than good ones on jury questionnaires.  The following is a guide to help avoid questionnaires that ask a lot, but answer little by way of useful information and helpful results.

A good jury questionnaire …

  1. Avoids questions that reveal your good jurors.Perhaps the most frequent mistake is asking questions to reveal friends rather than enemies. For example, why should a civil defendant ask, “Do you think there are too many frivolous lawsuits?” or “Do you agree there should be a cap on damages?”  If someone agrees, you have just given your opponent a gift.  You’ve done their job for them and made it easy to target your good jurors for follow-up questions or a strike, whether for cause or a peremptory.

    Instead, target enemies!  For example, better defense questions leave more room to reveal adverse opinions to your side, such as, “Do you believe that if a case gets to court, it must have merit?”

  2. Is based on data, not opinion or past experience alone.

Read more helpful hints here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/65970/10-Signs-of-a-Good-Jury-Questionnaire?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+a2lc+%28The+Litigation+Consulting+Report+from+A2L+Consulting%29

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