Just as there are no perfect people (or attorneys!), rarely does an attorney encounter a “perfect” client. Many clients, in fact, have serious problems that negatively impact the way they are perceived by juries. These problems include psychological disorders (including those related to the stress resulting from the event leading to the lawsuit), to prior criminal convictions, to I.R.S. disputes. Many attorneys attempt to ignore problem issues during voir dire, instead preferring to educate the jury in later parts of the trial. This strategy can backfire because jurors have not been questioned on their attitudes about the problem area(s). Asking potential jurors about their attitudes toward a client’s problems not only allows the attorney to de-select jurors with negative attitudes; it can help desensitize jurors to repeated mentions of the problem after voir dire.
Ask the experts at Magnus for more information on voir dire and the “problem” client.