DBA Hosts Mock Voir Dire
By Kirby Drake
Law Day is a yearly celebration of the U.S. justice system. One of the highlights for the Law Day Committee each year is sponsoring a mock voir dire program for Dallas ISD high school students. This program gives high school students the opportunity to visit the Dallas County courthouse, learn about the jury system and participate in a voir dire demonstration by several accomplished trial lawyers.
The mock voir dire was held at the George C. Allen Courts building on May 6, 2011. Approximately 300 high school students from nine different high schools participated. DBA President Barry Sorrels and Hon. Martin Hoffman (68th Civil District Court) each welcomed the participating high school students. Michael Lyons, of Deans & Lyons, L.L.P., then moderated a panel discussion concerning the importance of the jury system. Panel participants included Judge Hoffman, as well as Lisa Blue, of Baron & Blue, Dick Sayles, of Sayles Werbner, and Kirk Willis, of Helms & Greene, LLC.
The high school students were then treated to a demonstration of the voir dire process by several of Dallas’ finest trial lawyers—Ms. Blue; Mr. Sayles; Mr.Willis; Lea Dearing, of Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr PC; Luis Bartolomei, of Reyes Bartolomei Browne; and Shelley Greco, of Eberstein Witherite LLP. The high school students played roles as members of the jury panel. Judge Hoffman along with Hon. Mark Greenberg (County Court at Law No. 5) and Hon. D’Metria Benson (County Court at Law No. 1) presided over the mock voir dire proceedings. Following the demonstration, the high school students were given an opportunity to ask questions of the lawyers and the judges.
The Law Day Committee would like to specially thank Judge Hoffman’s interns, Shay Powell and Caleena Svatek, for their assistance in putting this program together.
Kirby Drake is a Senior Associate at Klemchuk Kubasta LLP and Co-Chair of the DBA Law Day Committee. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.