For those of you who read The Jury Expert, our hope is that you do not see what is often a last minute scramble behind the scenes to assemble an issue filled with practical advice and jargon-free explanations of the latest research with relevance to litigation advocacy. This time, I want to pull aside the curtain a bit and expose we members of the American Society of Trial Consultants for what we are–at least when it comes to The Jury Expert.
As Editor of this publication, I juggle the demands of work as a trial consultant with the constant need for articles to fill upcoming issues and the wish to maintain some semblance of a life outside of work and editing. This endeavor is complicated by the fact that, by definition, the life and schedule of trial consultants across the country are pretty constantly in flux. Trials are continued. Research is rescheduled. Schedules clear suddenly and are refilled with jury selection or trial attendance. You know the drill. What that can mean for The Jury Expert is that, without warning, a full roster of articles is suddenly pulled, put off, or rethought as lives are balanced and optional activity minimized in efforts to make schedules workable. This time when it happened, I actually had a dream that in place of three missing articles I had published three different recipes for variations of meatloaf! I awoke with my heart pounding and sent a "help me please!" message to organization members.
And here is where you will see what ASTC members are like. Within half an hour, I had four offers to write for this March issue despite the fact that the deadline was completely unreasonable. As my mother's transplanted midwestern irises rise to bloom in the arid soils of the Texas Hill Country and we see tulips and daffodils amidst the bluebells that herald spring here in Central Texas–I am grateful for spring. But I am especially grateful for trial consultants who drink coffee with extra caffeine to stay up late and write for us about rehearsing mock trials; those who read huge [Harry Potter sized] books right before vacation to write reviews for us; those who write about persuasion in general and the myths of scientific jury selection; and those who offer to write about novel topics like vocal pitch.
It is in this pulling together, making heroic efforts that express caring for the profession, and losing sleep to respond to the needs of the group that our trial consultants show their character. I am grateful and I am touched. And with that, we hope you enjoy the hard-won fruits of our labors in these pages.
Rita R. Handrich, PhD
Editor, The Jury Expert