Attorneys partner with students for training

Maggie Eubanks, News Editor

Getting a notice of jury duty in the mail is most people’s worst nightmare. But some ULM students volunteered to serve on jury duty Friday when ULM mock trial coach Bob Noel held a jury selection training for Louisiana public defenders. 

The training on Friday was the second installment of trainings for public defenders that will be held on ULM’s campus as part of a partnership between ULM and the Louisiana Public Defender Board. Students that participated in the training flaunted their acting skills by serving as prospective jurors for the defenders to train in the process of a voir dire. 

A voir dire is the legal term for jury selection where lawyers from both sides of a case get the chance to question members of the community to decide who will be chosen for the final jury. 

Noel said the partnership between ULM and Louisiana public defenders will help to integrate the university into all facets of the community and help make the court system more efficient. 

“This partnership is going to transform the way in which services are provided to the public and will go along towards improving the quality of their work and the court system itself,” Noel said. “In the long run, it will also save a tremendous amount of money as we’re becoming more efficient.”

Freshman criminal justice major and member of the mock trial team Elizabeth Poydras said the training made her a “better witness” for the team and allowed her to “get into the mind” of attorneys. 

“It was a good learning tool to see what all the real lawyers do and how they pick the juries,” Poydras said. 

Each student in attendance had the chance to play a juror during the session, and some students got to try their hand at a voir dire. 

Senior political science major Owen Reppond said the training was beneficial for him as he prepares for law school. “I feel like as someone who wants to be an attorney, it’s essential I learn about the process of jury selection,” Reppond said. 

The trainings are held every month and are free to students.