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May 08, 2007

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» "Connecting with Juries by Frequently Using the Word 'Folks'" from Stark County Law Library Blog
Posted by Evan Schaeffer: “The title of this post was sort of a trick. I'm not really advocating the use [Read More]

Comments

Quad Cities Injury Lawyer

I'm a "folks" guy. I don't overuse it, but as a young lawyer I think it splits the difference between the super-formal: "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury" and the super-informal: "'Sup, guys."

Frankly, I use "folks" because I don't want to use "guys" and can't think of another way.

Eh Nonymous

QCIL points out the right reason to use folks: because in the lawyer's dialect, there isn't a good substitute that isn't insulting or dangerous.

I could think of half a dozen, I would think, but many of them would be unnatural.

I sometimes (and never been in front of a jury, so not there) say "Folks" as the appropriate plural for "human" when I want to stay away from

- scientific pomposity (beings of the genus homo sapiens...)
- excessive formality (ladies and gentlemen of the jury...)
- generality or distance (people...)

etc.

I would also advise against "My peeps," "Folxen," "Y'all," and "Youse." But as Evan writes, it's about appropriate individual choices.

Of course, this may all change when I have my first jury trial. Time will tell.

Thanks for the post, ES.

Richard

What about using a Pittsburgh dialect and address the jury by saying "yins"? That just screams fancy-pants lawyer.

Ron Miller

I use folks too. I think the larger advice is you have to be yourself and do what comes naturally. People generally - no always - sense frauds and juries are people. We have a lawyer in our area who wears loud suits and tons of diamonds when he tries cases which goes against everything you would read in David Ball's book or any other trial book that touches on this issue. Yet he has more than 500 million in collectable verdicts. The message: be authentic to who you are or there is a good chance the jury will sense it and penalize your client accordingly.

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