Panel Voir Dire Embraced by Judges and Attorneys in First Year

A front page story in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reported that judges in the Commonwealth have embraced attorney-panel voir dire. The process was introduced in February 2015 and in the first year, lawyers conducted panel voir dire in 14 percent of Superior Court jury trials.

Speaking at a recent Massachusetts Bar Association voir dire workshop organized by Attorney Marc L. Breakstone, Judge Maynard M. Kirpalani reported that just over 700 impanelments were conducted in a one-year period and 14 percent or roughly 100 cases employed panel voir dire. Some 56 percent involved attorney-conducted voir dire of individual jurors; and 30 percent were judge-only voir dire.

There was a pilot project for a group of judges to use panel voir dire in most cases, except for life-felony matters or cases with good cause not to use it. While 15 Superior Court judges were part of the program, 38 of the 80 judges ended up trying panel voir dire.

“…The response of judges is extremely encouraging,” said Attorney Marc L. Breakstone.

While plaintiffs’ lawyers are seeking to use panel voir dire, defense attorneys and prosecutors requested it more frequently in criminal cases this first year. There was some form of attorney participation in voir dire in 81 percent of criminal impanelments and 54 percent of civil ones, according to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Attorney Breakstone predicted judges and attorneys will use panel voir dire for more cases going forward.

“Ultimately, judges will see its utility in every case as a time-saver and as a justice-enhancer. Lawyers and judges have a very steep learning curve,” Attorney Breakstone said.

About Attorney Marc L. Breakstone

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Attorney Marc L. Breakstone has established a reputation as one of the top medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers in Massachusetts and New England. Attorney Breakstone has represented seriously injured clients in medical malpractice and personal injury cases since 1986. He is a founder and principal at Breakstone, White & Gluck since 1992. Attorney Breakstone¬†works tirelessly to ensure that his clients receive full and fair compensation as well as achieve the most favorable medical result. He has been recognized as a Top 100 New England Super Lawyer, a Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyer and a Massachusetts Super Lawyer in Plaintiff’s Medical Malpractice.¬†

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

The Boston personal injury attorneys of Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience representing clients who have been seriously injured by negligence in Massachusetts. If you have been injured, it is important to learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, contact us at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.