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When lawyers fail to handle jury selection properly

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Legal Malpractice |

Many different issues could lead to a jury trial. Obviously, criminal defendants facing accusations may prefer a trial by a jury of their peers as opposed to a trial simply overseen by a criminal judge. Those pursuing personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits are also among those who could theoretically benefit from having their case heard by a jury instead of the judge entering a summary ruling on a legal issue.

Of course, the decision to have a case heard by a jury is only beneficial when the jury is truly neutral and gives the issue appropriate consideration. Sometimes, jury trials return unfavorable outcomes in part because of the jurors selected. An attorney’s professional failings could theoretically affect the chances of their client securing an appropriate outcome during a jury trial.

Juror selection is a critical process

Both legal teams involved in a matter going to trial have the right to communicate with the prospective jurors. They typically need to ask the jurors questions to gauge whether they are truly neutral and if they could return an appropriate ruling given the circumstances.

Lawyers may need to ask individual jurors about their personal and family history. They may need to explore the likelihood that jurors could set aside certain details or personal biases while in court. Lawyers should approach the jury selection process with the same attention to detail and focus that they employ when researching legal precedent or presenting their closing arguments.

The failure to properly explore the background of individual jurors and to challenge the inclusion of certain people on the jury could negatively impact a client’s chances of success when taking a matter to trial. In some cases, the way that a lawyer handles the jury selection process could theoretically constitute legal malpractice.

If other lawyers practicing the same type of law immediately recognize the mistakes or oversights an attorney made during the juror selection process, then the client affected by the case may have grounds to claim that they experienced legal malpractice.

Provided that there is evidence of legal malpractice, a dissatisfied client could theoretically take legal action against their former lawyer who provided inadequate legal support. Recognizing that juror selection plays a major role in the outcome of a legal case could help people identify scenarios that might constitute legal malpractice.