Usually, jury service for me is over as soon as the lawyers understand I’ve spent 20-some years covering the legal profession as a reporter and working for it as a consultant. But I recently served on my first jury, and after relating the experience to a litigator friend was encouraged to share my observations. Litigators, he told me, are always eager for a perspective on what goes on in the jury room, even if the stakes of the case are low.

Years ago I made it deep into the voir dire process in a Manhattan Supreme Court case that was about as spurious as they come. It involved a “model” who had been frightened (not bitten, mind you, just frightened) by her “male-model’s” dog and had twisted an ankle. I’ll never forget the opening statement by the plaintiff’s lawyer: “Does anyone here have any prejudice against very, very attractive people? Because this case involves people who are really, really beautiful.”