This is part 1 of a series
It’s come up before with friends and family that one of us has been summoned to jury duty. Each time, I have been ridiculously jealous. I’ve always wanted to be on a jury. Maybe it’s because I can’t get enough of law shows (current fave is For the People) or maybe it’s because in the back of my head, I’ve always considered going to law school. Either way, it has been a dream of mine to be on a jury. You can imagine my excitement when I received my summons! Now, you’re still probably thinking “why in the world would Jen want to sit all day in a courtroom with no windows & listen to a bunch of lawyers?” Here’s why: it’s FASCINATING! In the six days that I sat on a jury, I learned a lot about our judicial system, what really happens during a lawsuit, why taking Advil before surgery is a REALLY bad idea & that there are a lot of incredibly smart and talented doctors in this world. All in all, it was everything I dreamed of and more! So, I wanted to share with you my top 4 reasons of why I loved being on a jury:
1. The jury itself has quirks
I was surprised at how educated and employed our jury was. All but one person was employed. That same person showed up late almost every day and fell asleep during trial so many times that I lost count. Once you could hear the snoring, someone would tap her on the arm and she would wake up startled. Yes, there were boring parts, but sleeping? I’m still surprised that the judge didn’t say anything.
2. Attorneys have a sense of humor even if they don’t they don’t know it
You might consider it lucky that I was put on a medical malpractice case for plastic surgery, and you’re probably right. Learning the intricate details of what to do or what not to do post-surgery was alarming. Understanding the risks of having your face sliced up: frightening. So which part was hilarious? The defense attorney. Hands down. On day one he whipped out 5 or so poster boards and began writing on them. On day two, suddenly 100 more appeared…I am not exaggerating! At first I was dreading how long it would take him to get through all of them, but then I realized he was placing them strategically around the courtroom, making sure to block the other attorneys in the room. When he began weaving through them like they were a forest of trees, hustling around the courtroom for the 1 million files he had (and somehow he knew where everything was placed), it took all I could not to smirk. His courtroom choreography was flawless.
3. You see what really goes on inside of a courtroom
There’s no messing around inside a courtroom, even if you aren’t an attorney. The judge is the boss and it’s interesting to see grown men obey rules (not something we see very often anymore). I think my favorite question was “Your honor, may I approach?”. I swear, every single time an attorney asked, I chuckled. I plan on using this question in my daily life, FYI.
Repetition is at its finest in a courtroom. Just when you thought there were only a few ways to rephrase something, you enter a courtroom and find out that there are 100 different ways. I swear, I heard the same thing said 100 different times. Have you seen the first Legally Blonde movie? Remember when she asks “So, you were in the shower?” so many times that the judge finally said “I believe she said she was in the shower”. That’s what real life court is like.
4. I met new friends
Bringing 12 complete strangers into a tiny room that only has two bathrooms where everyone can hear what is going on inside there can be a little awkward at first. Ok, a lot awkward. One of the strict rules of jury duty is that you can’t talk about the case with anyone, not even your fellow jurors, until deliberation. So, now you have 12 strangers together for 6 days and the case is the only thing you have in common, but that’s the exact thing you can’t talk about. So, where do you start? Well, I tend to make allies when in such situations. You have to keep in mind that for the most part, everyone else feels super uncomfortable, so even the slightest kind gesture will make you a new friend. So, I asked my fellow jurors to lunch and they said ‘yes’. By the end of the six days pretty much everyone was playing 1010! (a game I told them about) and we had our own inside jokes. I also have some new fb friends.
Stay tuned next week for my second part of why I loved jury duty!