A quick thought on jury size

I recently had a Philadelphia judge ask me why, as a Plaintiffs’ attorney, I would want a twelve person jury instead of an eight person jury. His reasoning was that, with a twelve person jury, I would have to convince more people in order to win the case.

I like a twelve person jury for a variety of reasons. One of them is something that I haven’t seen discussed much, so I am mentioning it here.

Starting with a request for a twelve person jury gives more flexibility when scheduling witnesses. In Philadelphia, with sometimes only 24 hours’ notice of trial, it can be near impossible to get all witnesses to come in live when needed. The amount of time taken by jury selection can make a big difference in order of witnesses and whether testimony will be live. If I enter jury selection with a request for a twelve person jury, I can try to stipulate to a lower number of jurors or strikes during selection if I want it to move faster. If I enter with a request for eight jurors, I am stuck with that number and can’t later stipulate to a higher number if I want jury selection to take longer.