CAOC and Orange County TLA
Persuading Conservative Jurors - Wrap-Up
April 24, 2008
Time to Come to Come Together
By Yoshi Kubota
On the plane ride to Sacramento for the Consumer Attorney’s Lobby Day hosted by CAOC, I had an opportunity to reflect on the recent educational program in Orange County. Earlier this year, CAOC offered to team up with OCTLA to bring R. Rex Parris to Orange County to assist lawyers in becoming more effective during jury selection. The program was attended by approximately 125 attorneys from all across the state. The program was incredible. As my plane ride progressed, I realized that the lecture by Mr. Parris offered life lessons and that CAOC and OCTLA were actually applying those life lesson.
During the seminar, Mr. Parris provided an insightful perspective on how to convince a jury. He demonstrated how to use terms (i.e., “responsibility,” “accountability,” “fairness,” etc.) to assist the jury to render a verdict that is commensurate with the injuries of the victim. Mr. Parris discussed why jurors responded favorably to these terms. He opined that these terms reflect current social values and jurors find comfort in supporting a verdict based on these values.
As I reflected about what Mr. Parris taught us, I realized that the terms he used not only reflect social values, but they also reflect my values as a person and a lawyer. The terms he used are the cornerstone values of my profession. I realized that lawyers implement and enforce certain social values every time they advocate for a client. We begin the process of enforcing these social values every time we fight to obtain a “fair” offer from the opposing side. The enforcement of these social values is magnified when we engage in a jury trial, especially after asking a jury to render a verdict to ensure that these values are upheld. As trial lawyers, we have taken the lead, knowingly or unknowingly, to continue the fight for these social values. There are many examples of how we have forced corporations to be “responsible,” “accountable,” or “fair.” However, when we are unsuccessful in convincing a jury or we accept unreasonable offers, we slowly lose the battle to enforce these basic values. The opposition seemingly becomes brazen and ignores these basic social values. We are one of a few professions that are given the responsibility to enforce these social values. We all must share in this responsibility. Imagine a world without us. The privilege of having the ability to enforce certain social values is an important responsibility. We must ensure that we uphold this responsibility in the best possible way.
OCTLA is, for the most part, a very autonomous and self-sufficient organization. It provides outstanding educational programs for its members. For many years CAOC has also provided its members with amazing educational programs up and down the state. Both organizations, independently, have understood that they have some responsibility to assist in educating its members. However, the recent joint educational program by CAOC and OCTLA made me realize that they don’t just put on educational programs, but they truly understand their role. Lori Sarracino, the Education Director of CAOC, and Janet Thorton, the Executive Director of OCTLA, have come together and carefully selected speakers who are willing to provide insight about the techniques they use. The insight they provide, gives us the tools to assist in upholding our share of the responsibility. Now, it is our turn to uphold our responsibility.