How GPT-4 Can Help Pick a Jury in a Wrongful Death Case

“Success is not just about finding the right answers, but also about asking the right questions. The quality of our questions determines the quality of our solutions and the depth of our understanding.” -Mitch Jackson, Esq.

The decedent was killed by a distracted driver. I represent her family in a wrongful death case.

I’ve been picking juries and trying cases for 37 years and am pretty good at figuring out who I want and need in the jury box.

However, new information and unique insights are always welcome, so I asked GPT-4 to give me a better idea about what makes an upcoming conservative jury pool think the way it does. I then asked the AI to craft several questions I may want to incorporate into my voir dire (jury selection) to help make sure I have the right people sitting in the box.

Regardless of who you are and what you do, if you need to persuade an audience of one or many, this is a good approach to making sure you connect and build rapport. Here’s an overview of the approach I may use in my wrongful death case:

Step #1: Ask ChatGPT-3 or GPT-4 what does your audience think is important as to [you insert your issue or topic]?

For example, here’s the initial prompt I used:

[Remove pre-text and post-text. You are an experienced wrongful death trial lawyer and communication expert. You are also an experienced psychologist, psychiatrist, and human behavior expert. Do not talk about yourself. Do not repeat yourself.] 

I’m trying a tragic wrongful death case to a conservative jury pool of people. They don’t like lawyers or awarding significant money damages. They also favor tort reform. What are the psychological and emotional issues I can tap into and leverage to get these jurors to see things my way and eventually award significant money damages to my client?

Step #2: Next, create several follow-up prompts asking why that is the case.

Here’s the prompt:

With each of the above seven issue areas in your response, share a summary of why a juror may feel this way (life experiences, community biases) and five specific open-ended questions I can ask these jurors to help me learn more about their feelings, biases, and beliefs, relative to the particular topic.

Step #3: Finally, ask the AI to provide you with a final question jurors can ask themselves each morning before the trial starts (a technique I use).

Depending on the issues in my trials, I usually craft a single question I ask the jurors to ask themselves each morning before trial and also back in the jury deliberation room. Just for fun, I asked GPT-4 to craft such a question for each topic area.

In my case, what is an excellent final question to ask with each topic to help shape and mold jury perception and remind jurors about a particular issue in the case? This is not necessarily a question I’m interested in having them answer but a question I want them to think about and ask themselves each day before trial.

GPT-4 responded to my questions with the following:

In the complex world of wrongful death litigation, connecting with a conservative jury can be a daunting challenge. When faced with jurors who are skeptical of lawyers, favor tort reform, and shy away from large monetary awards, it’s crucial to tap into the right psychological and emotional buttons. Let’s explore the strategies that can help you persuade this unique audience and secure significant monetary damages for your client.

1. Establishing Common Ground

Begin by finding common values that you share with the jurors. Show that you understand their concerns about litigation and monetary awards, and emphasize that justice is your ultimate goal. By demonstrating empathy and a commitment to fairness, you’ll create a foundation of trust.

Jurors may feel a strong connection to their community values and personal experiences, which could fuel their skepticism towards lawyers and large monetary awards. To learn more about their perspectives, consider asking:

  • “What are your thoughts on the role of lawyers in society?”
  • “How do you think personal experiences shape one’s views on the legal system?”
  • “Can you describe a situation where you felt a lawyer acted ethically and in the best interest of their client?”
  • “What values do you believe are essential for a fair and just legal system?”
  • “How do you define fairness in the context of a wrongful death lawsuit?”

A final thought-provoking question to the entire jury panel that will help shape and mold jury perception, encouraging them to reflect on your case as the trial progresses is as follows. You may simply ask them to ask this question to themselves each morning before trial. Then pause, turn and walk over to the counsel table and have a seat.

  • “As you listen to this case, ask yourself: What would fairness look like for both the victim’s family and the defendant?”

2. Humanizing the Victim

Bring the victim’s story to life by painting a vivid picture of their personality, dreams, and aspirations. Share anecdotes from friends and family that showcase the victim’s character and the impact of their loss. By humanizing the victim, you’ll evoke empathy and encourage the jurors to see the case from the perspective of the grieving family.

Jurors may have been influenced by media portrayals of litigious individuals, leading to a dehumanizing view of victims. To explore their feelings and biases, ask:

  • “What qualities do you find most admirable in a person?”
  • “How do you think a wrongful death affects the victim’s family and friends?”
  • “What do you believe is the most important aspect to consider when evaluating a victim’s character?”
  • “In your opinion, how can we ensure that the true story of a victim is fairly represented in court?”
  • “How do personal stories and anecdotes impact your perception of a case?”

Final thought-provoking question to the panel:

  • “As you get to know the victim’s story, consider: How would you feel if someone you deeply cared about was in their shoes?”

3. Framing the Issue as a Moral Imperative

Reframe the case as a moral issue, emphasizing the need to hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions. Stress that compensating the victim’s family isn’t about money, but about justice and deterring future negligence. By appealing to the jurors’ moral compass, you’ll help them see beyond their preconceived notions about monetary damages.

Jurors’ life experiences and community biases may influence their moral and ethical beliefs. To delve into their views, consider these questions:

  • “How do you define justice in the context of a wrongful death case?”
  • “What moral or ethical principles guide your decision-making process?”
  • “Can you recall a situation where you had to make a difficult ethical decision?”
  • “In your opinion, how important is it to hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions?”
  • “How do you weigh the need for justice against the concerns of awarding large monetary damages?”

Final thought-provoking question to the panel:

  • “Throughout the trial, ponder: What decision would uphold justice and send a message that negligence and wrongful actions have consequences?”

4. Focusing on the Irreversible Loss

Highlight the irreplaceable nature of the loss, emphasizing the emotional pain and suffering the family has endured. Use compelling language to describe the void left in the family’s life, and explain how no amount of money can truly compensate for their loss. This emotional appeal can help the jurors grasp the magnitude of the tragedy and the need for significant damages.

Jurors may not fully grasp the emotional impact of a wrongful death due to their own experiences or community beliefs. Explore their feelings and biases with these questions:

“How do you think a family copes with the loss of a loved one in a wrongful death situation?”

  • “Can you share an experience where you or someone you know faced a significant emotional loss?”
  • “What do you believe is the most challenging aspect of dealing with the aftermath of a wrongful death?”
  • “How do you think monetary damages can help a grieving family move forward?”
  • “In your opinion, what factors should be considered when assessing the emotional impact of a wrongful death?”

Final thought-provoking question to the panel:

  • “While evaluating the evidence, think about: How can we ensure that the family’s irreplaceable loss is acknowledged and justly compensated?”

5. Addressing the Tort Reform Elephant in the Room

Acknowledge the jurors’ concerns about tort reform and clarify your stance. Explain that while tort reform aims to prevent frivolous lawsuits, your case is about seeking justice for a genuine tragedy. This open discussion will help dismantle the jurors’ preconceived notions and demonstrate your commitment to fairness.

Jurors’ support for tort reform may stem from community values or personal experiences with perceived frivolous lawsuits. To better understand their perspectives, ask:

  • “What are your views on the goals and implications of tort reform?”
  • “Can you share an example of a lawsuit that you believe was frivolous or unnecessary?”
  • “How do you differentiate between genuine wrongful death cases and frivolous lawsuits?”
  • “What concerns do you have about the potential consequences of tort reform on wrongful death cases?”
  • “How do you think tort reform could impact the pursuit of justice in wrongful death cases?”

Final thought-provoking question to the panel:

  • “As you hear arguments, ask yourself: How can we balance the principles of tort reform with the pursuit of justice for the victim’s family in this specific case?”

6. Using Social Proof

Present examples of similar cases where conservative jurors have awarded significant damages. By showing that others with similar values have made such decisions, you’ll make it easier for the jurors to follow suit. Social proof can be a powerful tool in nudging the jurors toward a favorable outcome.

  • “How do the views of your friends, family, or community members impact your opinions on legal matters?”
  • “Can you recall a situation where a peer’s opinion changed your perspective on a case or issue?”
  • “How important do you think it is to consider the decisions of others in similar situations when making your own judgment?”
  • “What role do you think shared values play in shaping a community’s perspective on legal issues?”
  • “In your opinion, how can examples of other cases or decisions help you better understand a wrongful death case?”

Final thought-provoking question to the panel:

  • “During the trial, consider: How have others in similar situations come to a fair and just decision, and what can we learn from their experiences?”

7. Encouraging Empowerment

Empower the jurors by reminding them of their critical role in the legal system. Emphasize their ability to make a difference by holding wrongdoers accountable and delivering justice to the victim’s family. By appealing to the jurors’ sense of responsibility, you’ll inspire them to take decisive action.

Jurors may feel a sense of responsibility and duty based on their life experiences and community expectations. To uncover their feelings, biases, and beliefs, ask:

  • “How do you view your role as a juror in the pursuit of justice?”
  • “What do you think are the most important responsibilities of a juror in a wrongful death case?”
  • “Can you describe a situation where you had to make a difficult decision that impacted others?”
  • “How do you think a juror’s decision can contribute to the betterment of society?”
  • “What factors do you consider when determining the appropriate course of action in complex cases like wrongful death lawsuits?”

Final thought-provoking question to the panel:

  • “As you weigh the evidence, remember: Your decision has the power to make a difference—what choice will uphold justice and create a positive impact on society?”


By tapping into these psychological and emotional buttons, and engaging in meaningful dialog by asking these open-ended questions, you can connect with your clients in the same way that I know I’ll be building rapport with conservative jurors. We’ll all be able to connect on a deeper level and persuade our audiences to see things from our perspectives.

Ultimately, this approach will help me navigate the unique challenges of a wrongful death case and secure significant monetary damages for my deserving client. For you, it will help you connect better and faster, and close your next deal.

Please reach out with any questions or needs. I’m here for you.

Mitch Jackson, Esq.

2013 California Litigation Lawyer of the Year

2009 Orange County Trial Lawyer of the Year

Author: Mitch Jackson

I'm a California trial lawyer trying to fix the world one client, cause, and digital interaction at a time.

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