A couple of years ago, a client told me she was happy with how discovery was going in her case. We had, she assured me, “extremely strong evidence.” My initial reaction was what, what are you drinking?? It seems many folks new to the legal system expect much more. They expect a jury that listens thoughtfully, rationally. They expect a judge always sober, always calm. The reality is often different. In my experience, individual jurors are very busy with kids, school, sports, etc. They do not have time for jury duty! How many times have I been at a cocktail party and someone, upon learning I practice law and go to court, ask me how they can get out of jury duty. The reality is that jurors listen for a few minutes, but they really just want the trial to end.
Criminal trials might keep their attention longer. But, generally, in a civil trial, we can see they just want to get the trial over with. But, the TV reality is far different. In movies or on television, the juries always listen respectfully. They appear sober and attentive. Their eyes never wander. The TV juries never nod off. TV juries are so much better than the real juries. So, it is not surprising that a client might tell me with no sense of irony that we have “extremely good evidence.” I repressed a chuckle and explained to her that there are still a few holes in our case….