“Ok, Sari, I get how important voir dire is, but what do I cover if I only have limited time?”
This. This is what you cover whether you have all the time in the world (put it at the end!) or limited time.
What is “this?” Check out this episode, and get a pen and paper out!
“Asking your jury, ‘How can money help?’ will get you to where you need to go in voir dire.”
There are three principles you must source from the jury during voir dire:
-People should take responsibility when they hurt someone.
-Money holds people responsible.
-Money can help.
encore episode transcription
Hey there, Sari de la Motte here, and I'm taking a break from podcasting until January 2024. Until then, enjoy this encore presentation. See you in January.
Hello. Hello. Welcome to another episode of From Hostage to Hero. Sari de la Motte here with you, and I am so excited to be with you. Before we begin, reader, shout out. This is from Trial Guides. Curtis L says, "Five stars, unconventional and powerful." Y'all know that I'm always trying to get you to use less words and opening and I can't seem to do it, but here on my reviews, you're short and to the point. Can we reverse that? Kidding. Glad for any review. Thank you, Curtis. I'm really appreciative of that. If you've not reviewed the book yet, go to trialguides.com, and please review your podcast wherever you listen, just hit that five star rating, if you in fact believe it is a five star podcast, we certainly do and several others of you do as well. And I'm so glad for my listeners, there's literally been over 100,000 downloads.
I think we're nearing 200,000. I'm just absolutely thrilled to have such a committed fan base and that you are being helped by the podcast. That's really what I want for all of you. So thank you for being here. All right, well today, we are talking about voir dire, and if you haven't listened to last week's podcast, you're going to want to go ahead and do that, because I talk about how to get to your piss off point in that one.
But today I want to talk about if you're limited on time, that you need to be sure to cover this, what I'm going to talk about in your voir dire, because so many of you say,
"I have a limited voir dire, I don't get very much voir dire or this judge is weird about voir dire." And so what should I talk about if I don't have the time to talk about it?
In fact, I was doing this in a H2H event a couple weeks ago and I said to my crew members, I said, "This is actually the plaintiff voir dire." Right here that I'm going to show you today. If you have no time to do anything else, you got to do this at least, and this will get you where you want to go.
So know that we teach the issue oriented voir dire. Here we teach inclusionary of voir dire. That does not mean that we do not get rid of jurors, we definitely get rid of jurors, but we go in with the mindset that the jury can solve all of our problems.
Have you seen our new course yet? It's free. Go to fromhostagetohero.com/training and get our free course. Let the jury solve your problems.
But that's what we believe here at H2H, is that the jury will solve all of your problems in voir dire if you know how to go in and source your principles from them. So there's a whole process for doing that. Go through and look all the podcasts, we've got them sprinkled in there, or you know what? Just join the crew where you get this training from me and from our coaches every single week. Okay? Just saying. You can also do that, sariswears.com. Get on the wait list for that. But here's the deal, is that's what we normally do. So we spend a lot of our time there talking about the principles in our case and sourcing that from the jurors and all of the defense points that they're going to say, having the jury solve that for us. It's fantastic. Now, if you do not have time for that or you are limited or you think your judge is going to freak out, they won't, but some do, but it's rare.
But if for some reason that's on your radar, then what you can do and what you always should do is the voir dire that I'm going to teach you today. Now, what I'll also say is last week we talked about the two things that a jury needs to give you a verdict.
And those two things are:
One, they need to feel or see or be shown that the defendant's conduct was avoidable, meaning they could have made different choices and have avoided this harm.
So I guess the harm could have been unavoidable, had they made different choices.
And two, that money can help. So you're definitely going to want to go back and watch that. But now what I want to share with you is this idea or this fact actually, that when it comes to the money part, there are also two things that a jury needs.
They need to believe that money holds people responsible and that again, money can help. So now we're going to divide that money can help into two realms there. So here's what I want you to be thinking as you put together this voir dire, if you haven't already gotten a pen and paper out, do it. Do it now, because you're going to want to take notes today for sure. So we talk quite a bit about creating funnels. That's in fact it's become known as the funnel method, which is part of the H2H method now, which is this idea of you want to get the principle from your juror instead of giving it to them and asking if they agree. And we're going to do some more podcasts on that principle and all of those things. But what I want you to know here in this podcast episode is that there are three principles that you're going to want to get from jurors out of this particular voir dire that I'm about to teach you today. And here are the three principles. And remember, a principle is a truth that we most people agree with. Not everybody, but the majority of humans agree with. All right, so here's the three principles that we want our ideal juror to belief.
Principle number one, write this down. People should take responsibility when they hurt someone.
Don't we want our jurors to believe that? I think we want our jurors to believe that. It's very important that our jurors believe that. Yes.
Okay, principle number two, money holds people responsible. That's what we're there to do.
And the third thing is money can help.
So these three things together are what every plaintiff attorney needs to have the jury believing and jiving with in order to get our verdict outside of the could have been avoidable part, we also need that. But today we're just focusing on the money part. So let's talk about how to deal with these three things. So the first one, we want jurors to believe and they do believe most of them do, that's what principles are, that people should take responsibility when they hurt someone. So I want you to remember or think about if you're not in the crew, I'm saying remember to the crew, you should already know this, that principles are never something that we're trying to convince the jury to believe.
Principles are something the jury already believes. Let me say that again. We are not trying to convince the jury to believe anything. These are things that they already believe.
And what we are doing is just getting that into the air, so to speak. Bringing it out into the conversation so that jurors can rally around it, form the group, go on and give us our verdict. So we already come in way ahead of time. This is what my next podcast is going to be on. Knowing what these principles are and just getting them into the air. It's not about convincing them that these actually are true and real. We know going in that people should take responsibility when they hurt someone. So how can you get that into the air? Well, there comes in the funnel method. So what we do in the funnel method is we always start with a larger question that then narrows down and down and down until we get to our principle, and in many cases, but today may not go that way.
So what's funny about this? We tend to use this line of questioning- "Who here has experience with...?" So that's the experience question, which then narrows down to "What are your expectations of...?" Which is the second narrowing down of whatever the experience we just asked them about, and then, "What could happen if their expectations were not met?" So that normally gets us down to the principle. The point of today is is that you may not use those three questions, experience, expectations and what can happen if, but you want to make sure that you're narrowing down. So think of a funnel as you're doing this. So what I tend to use for the responsibility question, but you can use anything you want, is who here has ever had parents or is a parent. And what have I done? Everybody has to raise their hand. Everybody's had parents and some of them will have been parents or our parents. So now I'm not going to go and ask people anything. Normally that first experiential question, then you go and you dive in. I don't care about their experiences. That's just a way to warm up the group. Boom, I'm going to get down my funnel. Next thing, what did your parents do, or you who are parents, what do you teach your children? What did they do or what do you teach?
Your kids when they hurt someone, how do you hold them responsible? So they'll say, "Well, they have to go say they're sorry or they have to make up for it." Or whatever. So if they say for example, they have to say they're sorry. Then I'll say, "Is that enough?" What if they broke something? Right? If they say, "Well, they're going to have to make it right." I'd say, "And how would they do that?" So I'm not telling them anything, I'm just mining until we get to, they have to make it right. People should take responsibility, right? Because you'll say, "What's important about that?" And they'll say, "People should take responsibility." Right? It'll come out of their mouth. That's a great follow-up question. What's important about that? When they tell you, "Well, they had me go back in and pay for it."
"What's important about that?"
"Well, they were showing me to take responsibility." So should people take responsibility when they hurt someone? You can maybe wrap up the line of questioning if it hasn't come out of someone's mouth. But the point is is that you're questioning however you choose to do it. That's the way I choose to do it and I've done it different ways, is to get the group rallying around the idea that people should take responsibility when they hurt someone.
Now this method is so popular and so exceptional, if I may say so myself, that we just had several of my one-on-one clients come out spend a week with me a couple weeks ago, about a month ago, and they were done with their voir dire earlier than they planned, because they were like, "I got everything I needed, Sari." I didn't know what else to ask. They gave me all my principles right off the bat. So those of y'all complaining about how much voir dire you have or don't have, know that this can be done quickly. Why? Because these are principles that everybody believes. All right, so you got your first principle out in the air. People should take responsibility when they hurt someone. Second principle, money holds people responsible. So how do we get jurors to give us that?
Well now that everybody's rallying around this idea that we should hold people responsible or people should be responsible, you can just ask. All right, so it sounds like the group is saying if you hurt someone, you should take responsibility or that people should be held responsible. How as a society do we hold people responsible? And let the jury tell you. So they may say, "We send them to jail." And you say, "Absolutely. If they've done something criminal, we send them to jail. Thank you for that." Don't make them wrong. What about if they haven't broken a law, how do we hold them responsible there? And someone eventually will say, "Money." So then I want you to say back to them, "How does money hold people responsible?" You're going to get some great stuff here.
They're going to say, "Well, it makes them feel the consequences of their actions." It puts the burden on them instead of the person that they hurt. All the things make them think through this. They may not get it to it right away. It's really cool to have a flip chart at this point and be teacher standing there with a pen in the air waiting for their answers. Instead of getting that eye contact, it allows them to kind of brainstorm. Tell me, how does money hold people responsible? Great, you're going to have this great conversation plus a full flip chart full of things of how money hold people responsible.
So someone might say something like, I just thought of this myself. Well, when I pay my mortgage every month, I do that because I have a responsibility to do it, because if I don't, my house gets taken away. So there's an example of money holding people responsible, right? I loan you money, and if you don't pay it back, I take it back or I take back the thing that you bought with it. So you could throw that in the air as an example. It doesn't have to all be lawsuit example, it's just that money holds people responsible. That's what we want them to tell us. So notice what we've done so far, and we've probably done this within 10 to 15, maybe 20 minutes, those first two questions.
I'm telling you, you can easily get there in 20 minutes. So we've got them to tell us that people should take responsibility when they've hurt someone and that money holds people responsible.
So then our third principle, which is money can help. How do we get there? Well, you can say back to the jury. You can say, "So I'm hearing that people should take responsibility when they've hurt someone. I'm also hearing that money holds people responsible. But how can money help? What can money do?" And you go to a different flip chart. And this is when all of the economic damages will come up. Don't be scared, write them down. So they'll say, "Well, money can pay for medical bills." And you'll, "Great." And you write medical bills. "Well, money, it can pay for lost wages."
"Thank you. What else?"
"Well, it can pay for accommodations to their home if they've been hurt and they need can pay for medical equipment, it can pay for a new van, it can pay for all those things." So you're like, "Great, what else can money pay for?" Or this would be a great time to go into the price versus value and say, "Thank you for this list. I'm so glad you guys gave me this list." Because there are two types of damages that you're going to have to determine in this case should you become a juror. And the first one is exactly what's on this list, which is the price tag things, the things that have come with a price tag. We can easily tell you the cost of a wheelchair. We can tell you how much money this person would have made, had they lived or had they been able to continue in their job. We can tell you their medical bill, you'll see their medical bills. So these are the easy types of damages. Then you can go over to a different flip chart and I would definitely go over to a different one if you're going to use flip chart for this.
And say, "But there is a second type of damage you're going to have to decide in this case. And that's the value of something." You walk back over to the flip chart, and you say, "This one, the price. That's how much something costs." You walk over to your other flip chart, you said, "The value, this is the meaning or the worth of things." And you can get them started. "What it's like to no longer be able to mow your lawn and the neighbor's lawn? That's something you always did. You're the neighborhood guy. What it's like to no longer walk your daughter down the aisle? Can you guys help me with this list? What are some things that are hard to put a price tag on but that also have worth and meaning in our lives?"
And they start the list, and you're just noting, and they're like, "Time with family." And you go, "What else? What's important about that?"
"Well, my weekly phone calls with my mom. I love those."
"Yeah, tell me more about that. What's important about that?"
"Being able to spend time in nature."
"Oh, it sounds like that's something important to you. Tell me more."
Do you see what you're doing here? All right, so you get this big list going on the non-economic side, and you turn to the jury and you say, "Let me ask you, do these things have value?" And they're all going to nod. "Yeah."
And you say, "If you become a juror on this case, would you be able to put a price on these?" And a lot of people are going to say no. And say, "No, before you answer me. I know that you're going to think, how could I ever do that? That's impossible. And I'm going to tell you it's not impossible. It is difficult, absolutely. But that's what juries are for." If you say to me, "How could I determine the price of that to someone?" I would say, "Who does determine that?" Juries. That's what juries do. So how many of you're willing, because I love that question, to go there with our help, we'll help you? And then you see people raise their hand, they're willing, and then you say, "Jurors, so-and-so, you raised your hand. Tell me why you're willing." And you just get this great conversation.
It is the most beautiful moment ever. Notice how the energy is changing in this podcast, when we get to this part of the voir dire, or if this ends up being your only voir dire. At this point the defense is sweating bullets. And then you can leave the people who didn't raise their hand and go in for them for cause challenges. Beautiful as well. That my friends is how you do this. This is what we're talking about. If you have limited time or even if you don't, and you have all the time in the world and you've gone through your principles, this is how and not exactly, because that's the one I'm about. Do it your way. But these are the three things I believe you have to get out in your voir dire regardless of how long you have. So if you have a long voir dire, this goes at the end.
If you don't have enough time for voir dire, this is all you're going to do. But these three principles are what we're after and I'm going to talk about more about the principles and those kinds of things and how that informs voir dire in next week's podcast. All right, talk then.
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