The legal preliminaries necessary to establish the qualifications of a witness are
long and tedious. If the opposing attorney takes issue with the witness’s
qualifications or testimony, these objections will usually be discussed outside
of the presence of the jury. First, the jury will be removed from the courtroom.
Then the lawyers and judge spend several minutes discussing the legal issues
involved, and finally the jury is brought back into the courtroom. The effect is
to break up the flow of trial, making the proceedings confusing and frequently
tense. In a hotly contested case, there can be days of hearings on evidence
before the jury is impaneled and, once it is sitting, the jury may be out of the
room for more than half of the trial.