One of the most crucial tasks a trial attorney must undertake is selecting a pool of jurors that will view her client’s case in the most favorable light possible. By carefully crafting and preparing a series of questions to ask potential jurors, a trial attorney can efficiently eliminate jurors with a potential bias. One effective way of examining a potential juror—but by no means the only way— is by asking what is known as a “scaled question.” A scaled question calls for an answer on a spectrum, which allows the attorney to know where on a pre-determined scale a juror falls on a particular topic. This technique, when applied to the jury selection process, helps to gain insight not only into reticent jurors, but also into those jurors who are willing to share their beliefs, concerns, and thoughts with the attorneys without hesitation.
Generally, to set up a scaled question, the trial attorney should ask a question that puts a specific subject, idea, or belief at issue and then pose follow-up questions that explore the juror’s beliefs, feelings, and opinions on that same issue. One of the best and most basic ways to use this technique is to ask: “On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 meaning you strongly agree with the following statement and 1 meaning you strongly disagree with the statement, how do you feel about [a specific subject]. This straightforward technique can then be adapted to work in a broad array of categories in both criminal and civil matters.