I have somehow managed to escape the trap many litigators find themselves in, of being almost exclusively a plaintiff’s lawyer or instead a defense lawyer. Over the past 35 years, I would guesstimate my practice has totaled out to about a two to one split, favoring defense work. Personally, I like both types of work, the variety in cases keeps the work interesting, and I think sitting at both tables gives you a more well-rounded set of skills. On that last point, when I was a young lawyer, an older trial lawyer pointed out to me that lawyers who prefer to counterpunch (metaphorically speaking, of course) are often better suited to, and more likely to prefer, defense work. I find that doing both types of cases has, over the decades, forced me to develop a whole range of styles in the ring (again, metaphorically speaking).

But one of the more interesting things the variety has done for me is leave me with an open mind about the role of juries, and kept me from imbibing the corporate and defense world’s tendency to either be skeptical about them or even outright afraid of them. I have found over the years that they get the outcome right about the same percentage of times as judges do in bench trials. I have written a number of times on my view that juries bring a great deal of strength to the courtroom process, such as here and here. Sometimes, I have to say, that view has provoked some good natured complaints from some of my professional brethren, but that’s all right – horses for courses and all that.

But given my views and my writing on this subject in the past I was very pleased to find, in this article in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, a comment from the dean of the defense bar, Bill Dailey, praising juries and the jury system. As he put it:

But over all these years, I’ve found that juries can be very objective, and if they feel that there has been no error made, while there’s maybe a great amount of sympathy surrounding the facts in the case, they’re able to make a fair decision,” Dailey says. “I admire jurors for doing that. That’s how the system has to work if it’s going to work.

I rest my case.