The Unexpected Freedom of Jury Duty

Alisa BonsignoreI was slated for jury duty in December. I did the responsible thing and notified my clients that I’d be off the grid for most – if not all – of the day. And the most marvelous thing happened: nobody contacted me.

On a normal Monday there are plenty of calls, emails and even tweets requesting just a moment of my time. A question answered here, a GoToMeeting conference there. Before I know it, it’s lunchtime and I’ve spent the morning pulled in a hundred different directions.

Jury duty day was different. Unlike a day off where maybe, just maybe, you’ll feel compelled to pick up your phone and take care of that one little thing, jury duty is an offline event. No one on earth expects you to defy a judge and answer a call in the courtroom. And so they leave you alone for eight blissfully uninterrupted hours.

There’s a not-insignificant amount of downtime involved in jury duty day, too. There’s at least an hour spent waiting around in the jury pool room before splitting out into the courtrooms. There’s a great deal of downtime in the courtroom itself as the judge and counsel confer with individuals in chambers. No, I wouldn’t dare try to fire up the wi-fi and log into Facebook, but I have no qualms about sitting quietly on the hard benches and jotting blog posts in my notebook.

I can get so much done on those days, completely guilt-free, that I’m wondering if I can convince my clients that in California, we have jury duty once a month.

How do you get one full interrupted day to work?

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