By Paul Jess, FJA Executive Director A full display of the Florida Justice Association’s horsepower…
Christian D. Searcy, President and CEO of Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A., has litigated cases primarily involving catastrophic injury and death in venues throughout Florida as well as other states for 45 years. A graduate from Stetson University Law, he is a past president of the Florida Justice Association and is a part of many elite and invitation-only legal groups, including The Inner Circle of Advocates, American College of Trial Lawyers, and is a Senior Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. He has also had honorable mentions in top legal publications including the National Law Journal, Leaders Magazine, and Florida Super Lawyers – The War Horse. He is a recipient FJA’s highest and most honorable award, The Perry Nichols Award, and exemplifies the prestige this award entails every day.
Throughout his career, Searcy has partaken in—and won—countless multi-million dollar verdicts against some of the most challenging cases involving big corporations, among these including freight train and railroad cases, medical malpractice, and personal injury. At just 29 years old, Searcy became the youngest lawyer in the United States to achieve a verdict of $1 million for a single personal injury lawsuit, Bernard vs. Florida East Coast Railway. In each case, Searcy acknowledges that one of the main keys to winning a lawsuit starts with jury selection.
But he’s not the only one. According to the Ed Sweda Jr., a senior attorney with the Northeastern University School of Law, jury selection can make or break a case, which can be seen in the more recent Johnson vs. Reynolds tobacco case.
So how do you best utilize jury selection in your favor?
The Florida Justice Association sat down with Chris Searcy to ask: What are the 3 most important goals in jury selection in a personal injury case?
Here’s his response:
- Discover the ringers and get rid of them; Those biased against your client, your case, and yourself.
- To strike for cause, bring out the parts of the plaintiff’s case that may cause otherwise unbiased jurors to be unfairly biased against your client.
- Determine which of the remaining jurors will be leaders if selected.
Given the weight placed in jury selection, Searcy coordinated with the Florida Justice Association to create his namesake seminar, the Christian D. Searcy Voir Dire Institute. This seminar focuses solely on what Searcy considers to be one of, if not the most, important aspect of trial, and was quickly deemed to be one of FJA’s most significant educational seminars.
The seminar is an in-depth approach to voir dire, allowing attendees the opportunity to receive hands-on teaching, practice, and critiques from the most renowned trial lawyers. For the last two years, the Christian D. Searcy Voir Dire Institute has continued to teach attorneys some of Searcy’s methods and tactics to selecting the best jury possible.
Invited faculty, including Searcy himself, have collectively tried hundreds of cases to verdict, and have extensive knowledge of techniques to best conduct voir dire. Searcy firmly believes mastering jury selection is a skill that will forever change the course of an attorney’s career and verdicts.
The next Voir Dire Institute will take place August 5-7, 2019 in Orlando, FL. Click here to register.