Upper School

Students Experience Jury Duty

Senior Law and Society students experienced what being on a jury entails as they simulated a deliberation of a real case with Seattle attorney Mike Jacobson on Dec. 21.

Specializing in employment law and immigration law, Mike introduced students to one of his actual cases, which involved the firing of a woman from a public utility company because of "unprofessionalism."

"This experience allowed the students to see a summation and a closing argument," says teacher Scott Davis, whose class culminates with a mock trial in the spring. "Most importantly, the students experienced the limitations and difficulties of being on a jury."

The case involved a plaintiff suing the public utility company for sex discrimination and lost wages, to the tune of $11,500 per month for 84 months. Mike, often acting in the role of devil's advocate, encouraged the students to debate the nuances of the case. After Mike delivered a closing argument, the students took on the role of jurors to determine if the plaintiff had a valid claim, and if so, what the monetary damages should be.

Many of the students grappled with the monetary total. Linus B., who was nominated to be the jury foreman by his classmates, correctly noted that, as jurors, they were only allowed to make a verdict given the information both sides presented during the case.

"The students learn what criminal procedure is, and how it is designed and intended to get us as close as possible to the truth," says Scott. "Procedure, with all of its restrictions, can really plod along, but it is also the reality of the law, versus the fictionalized version we see in shows and movies."