If you want to know how to put on a jury trial, ask someone who’s done more than 200. That was our thinking when we interviewed Philadelphia trial lawyer Roy DeCaro of Raynes McCarty. What we learned: it’s some backbreaking work, and there are some things you don’t want to do in front of strangers. Keep reading to learn more.
What does it take to prepare for a jury trial?
Every hour you’re in court, there’s 100 hours that you’re preparing for that hour.
Yeah, it’s time-intensive. That is something I can’t say that I really enjoy, all the minutiae, putting in all that time, but you know, it has to be done.
What’s your favorite part of the process?
I’d say closing to a jury, knowning when you’ve done a good job. The juices still flow.
Tell us about your pretrial process.
If I know I’m going to be trying my case to a jury, I start preparing that closing argument before I even pick a jury, and then I work on the closing every night as the jury progress–you know, after every witness that I get, I figure out what piece do I want to tell the jury about this particular witness. So to me the preparation of the closing argument is a long process. And then, of course, you distill it the night before and then you change it around about 20 times before you actualy say it and then when you say it, it’s totally different than what you were going to say the night before (laughs). And you know, you talk from the heart, you talk right to the jurors. Generally, they listen, and more often than not, they do the right thing.
What advice do you give young trial lawyers?
Be themselves. Some lawyers want to go in and they want to be somebody that they’re not. All of a sudden they change. Juries can see right through that.