People often tell me about the jury summons they received or their experiences serving as a juror, usually with a groan. If they’ve been summonsed, they want to get out of it, and if they’ve been called to serve in the past, many express relief that the case was resolved before trial or that they weren’t selected and got to go home after a few hours.
I’ve never served on a jury myself, and I probably never will now that I’m a lawyer. Most American adults, in fact, will not be called for jury duty. According to one source, less than a third of American adults have ever served on a jury, and the number of federal jury trials is declining.
I have, however, worked in several courts and sat through a number of jury trials. In this post, I hope to demystify jury duty and maybe even convince you to be excited about your next jury summons. My discussion will mostly center on the federal courts, as each state does things a little differently.