I’ve been instructed to report for jury duty this morning. No, lawyers aren’t automatically exempted from jury duty. We’re just like everybody else.
Now, unlike a lot of other potential jurors, I want to serve. I can not think of a better possible way to improve myself at my profession than to serve on a jury — to see what other lawyers do, and to hear and witness how jurors actually deliberate. Ironically, I just finished an MCLE class on jury selection. And obviously, I’m quite comfortable in the court; it’s a familiar environment for me.
And as it happens, I have some substantial documents that I can review while I’m waiting to be picked so if there is idle time — and from what jurors have told me before, there is plenty of that — it won’t be a complete waste of the opportunity to get work done.
Then there’s the issue of the fact that there are damn few things the government makes you do. You have to register for the draft. You have to file a tax return. And you have to serve jury duty once a year if you’re picked. I’ve been back in California six years and this is the first time I’ve even been summoned to make myself available to be picked. These are hardly onerous civic duties.
The issue is: will another lawyer want me on their jury? And the answer ultimately depends on things I’ve not even a glimmer of hope of controlling — what kind of case it is and what those attorneys think of having someone who will be capable of analytical thought and retention of evidence on the jury will do to the deliberations. Maybe they both want someone like that for their case.
[ADDED]: After waiting around all day, I was finally excused from service at 4:30. I’ll have more detailed thoughts in a follow-up post.
* There seems to be a trend amongst other sub-bloggers here to emulate the Mindless Diversions format of a one-word-with-exclamation-point blog post title. At least this week there is. Now I’m part of the problem.