Trial is without a doubt the most exciting part of being a trial lawyer—at least, that is true for me, who practices business cases mostly for plaintiffs. Hollywood seems to agree with this notion as the most exciting part (or, the more dramatic part) of legal movies is frequently a trial scene. Movies such as “To Kill A Mocking Bird,” “The Verdict” and “Philadelphia” immediately come to mind. One commonality among these (and many other great legal) movies, and what makes these movies more exciting, is that they all have dramatic jury trial scenes.
In real life, in addition to the excitement (or drama) of a jury trial, jury trials offer many other, nonexcitement-related benefits. Juries are curious. They are not cynical. Juries try hard to get the right result. They are not biased (or less biased) toward one of the parties. Juries get it right. This is not meant to be a knock on judges, as I had many successful, and more importantly, fair and just nonjury trials. Rather, there is something special about having a group of people from all walks of life coming together to make an important decision—something they may never again get to do—compared with a judge who makes such decisions routinely.
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