Given the epic nature of Bulger’s life, it is likely that all the potential jurors will have at least heard his name or perhaps even known him or his cohorts — or his alleged victims — legal observers said.

“The question is, ‘Based on what you know, do you feel you can be fair,’ ” said Dan Medwed, a law professor at Northeastern University. “Almost everyone in Boston is going to know about it. The goal is to find anyone who is impartial.”

The last time so many prospective jurors were called in was for the sentencing stage for serial killer Gary Lee Sampson, according to legal observers. That was to determine whether he should receive the death sentence. And it took weeks to empanel a jury.