By Jedidiah McKeehan

Every few months I get a phone call from someone I know telling me that they have gotten summoned for jury duty and asking me how they can get out of it.

My answer is always the same:  you should not try to avoid jury duty if at all possible.

Here are the reasons I say that:

  1. It is incredibly unlikely that even if you are summoned for jury duty you will actually ever serve on a jury. Typically, you will have to attend the first day of jury orientation and then they will tell you to call in to a number every day after 5:00 p.m. and there will be a message telling you whether you need to show up the next day.  Because so few cases actually make it trial, you may never (and probably won’t) have to go back after the first jury orientation.
  2. If you do end up on a jury, it is something that you will remember for the rest of your life. Now I’m sure it may not be exciting to sit on a jury for a low level car accident case, but can you imagine sitting on the jury for a murder trial?  That would a quite intense and memorable experience.
  3. If you do get picked for a jury, it is not likely to be a multi-month commitment like the O.J. Simpson trial. Most trials are completed in one day.  The very rare case may take two or three weeks, but the normal length for a trial is one to two days.

So when you get that jury notice, do not think that you’re about to miss work for some crazy amount of time.

You do actually get compensated for every day that you have to report for jury duty, however, it is a paltry sum of money.  Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 22-4-101 you will likely receive either $10.00 or $11.00 per day for every day you have to show up for jury duty.  If you are on a jury that is sequestered (that means they put you up in a hotel and cut you off from civilization while the trial is going on) then you get $30.00 a day.

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.