Lawyers sometimes have to do jury duty, although it’s not something many lawyers look forward to. But while serving on a jury can be inconvenient, there are plenty of advantages that come with being a juror. One of these advantages is getting a behind-the-scenes look at how courts work and helping make positive changes in the law by sharing your own experiences from the courtroom.
What Are Jury Duties?
If you have been selected for jury duty, you have a legal obligation to attend court as requested. In many cases, employers are legally obligated to give employees time off from work to fulfill their obligations as electors. However, if your employer is unwilling or unable to provide paid leave during your jury service, or if you have other concerns regarding scheduling an absence from work due to a pending trial at court, contact your local elections office. Your options will vary according to local rules and regulations and may even vary depending on what type of case is being heard.
Should you require additional time to resolve scheduling conflicts, you can request an extended leave of absence. You should be able to request an indefinite postponement to fulfill your obligations as a juror without concern for employment retribution. Any reimbursement offered for jury service is determined by your employer or government agency. Jury duty pay is not considered taxable income and will not affect your tax return. If it has been at least two years since your last civic duty, then your prospective employer cannot refuse employment based solely on prior jury service.
Can Lawyers Perform Jury Duties?
The decision to subpoena jurors is left to court administrators in each state. The method of selection can vary by state but generally involves a random selection. If you are subpoenaed for jury duty, your employer may allow you to take off work to fulfill your duties as a juror.
However, under federal law, employers may consider an employee’s jury service when determining promotions or terminating contracts. In some cases when an employee is called for more than one session of court during a given year, they may be allowed time off from work with compensation. In either case—no matter how long ago you were called—you must make yourself available when summoned by authorities unless otherwise instructed.
Each state has its own rules regarding exemptions from compulsory jury duties; if you’re unsure whether your exemption still applies after all these years, contact your local elections office and confirm that they have properly recorded and stored your current voting information and status.
Can Lawyers Be Excused From Serving On Juries
In some cases, yes. In certain states, including California and Nevada, lawyers are allowed to get excused from jury duty if they can prove their law practice would be harmed by being out of work for a set amount of time. But in other states, such as Texas and Illinois, a lawyer’s ability to do his or her job while serving on a jury is not considered grounds for an excuse.
Those who have been called must serve—as is true with other citizens. If a trial goes beyond an allotted period, a judge may allow those attorneys who need to meet other professional obligations early enough due to business schedules to leave after their allotted day is up.
However, those workers face losing any pay they received for jury service should it go beyond what was initially expected. In addition, if someone has been selected as foreperson or received additional honors during that trial – such as being recognized for delivering excellent questions that aided in case discovery – it could also influence whether he or she gets excused should one be needed. It’s important to note that there is no right way or wrong way when it comes to receiving an exemption from a possible summons.
Being Exempted from Serving
In light of recent rulings, some states have changed their rules regarding which attorneys may serve on a jury. In some instances, only prosecutors and public defenders may be eligible to sit on a jury. This can pose problems for civil attorneys who are defending cases that might result in a verdict that they don’t agree with. However, there are states where all attorneys, including those practicing civil law, have been allowed to sit on juries as long as they meet certain requirements.
When Attorneys Should Not Serve On Juries
There are specific exemptions from jury duty as a Judge may choose to excuse you based on your occupation. Common occupations that are excluded from service include attorneys, teachers, doctors, law enforcement officers, and other similar professions. The exemption also applies if you have been a party in a civil or criminal case in any court within five years of being selected for jury duty.
If you do not fall under these categories and would like to be excused from jury duty it is recommended that you contact an attorney before going to court. Under federal law, if you’re a lawyer, you cannot be exempted from jury duty. However, some states offer exemptions to their lawyers for serving as jurors. You should check with your state’s requirements for service as a juror before assuming that your law license will exempt you from performing your civic duty.
If you have any questions or concerns about being called upon to serve on a jury, contact your state bar association immediately. Most attorneys also have professional organizations they belong to and should be able to connect with other professionals who have been through jury service for advice and support.
Your license to practice law does not include a stipulation that allows you to disregard jury duty. You will need to appear in court and report for your mandatory jury duty. The only exception is if you receive a note from your employer stating that you are serving as an attorney in a particular case and have been temporarily replaced by another lawyer due to your attendance at jury duty. If you do not have such a letter, then it is required that you report for jury duty just like anyone else would.