Source of article 2's Company - Magnus Insights.
Many people, including those who should know better, use stereotypes as a basis for making important decisions. Although, by definition, stereotypes can contain “a kernel of truth” (according to Dr. Gordon Allport, who coined the term), they are often incomplete and sometimes, wrong. A recent conversation with one of my clients prompts this post. The client, a well respected and experienced trial lawyer, called me recently to ask me whether I would agree with the premise that millennials are terrible jurors for plaintiffs in personal injury cases because they are self centered, entitled, uncaring, and cold hearted. I responded that, although some young adults certainly possess these negative traits and others, far worse, I could not say, with any scientific certainty, that all millennials possess these traits and thus, that everyone younger than 30 should be eliminated from the jury. Not liking my lack of agreement with his position, the attorney began to cajole me in an attempt to get me to buy into his stereotypical way of viewing young people. He informed me that he recently conducted a mock jury (on his own, without retaining the services of a reputable trial consulting firm) and there were 3 young adults who returned a defense verdict, refusing to award the plaintiff, his client, any compensation. Because of this experience, he was certain all millennials would be similarly predisposed. I was taken aback, but, in an attempt to be polite while explaining how wrong he was, I informed this attorney that: (1) I could not address the composition of his mock jury, in that there was no way for me to know whether the mock jurors were recruited properly, for example, randomly sampled from the population of jury eligible citizens in the trial venue; (2) a sample size of 3 people, from 1 mock jury, is too small for any generalizations to be possible to allow conclusions to be drawn about all millennials; and (3) it is illogical to suggest that 100% of the people within any demographic category (age, gender, race, etc.) are exactly the same. Thus, my answer is not “No, it is not true all millennial jurors are bad jurors for plaintiffs in a personal injury case,” my answer is an emphatic “NO! It is NOT true all millennial jurors are bad jurors for plaintiffs in personal injury cases.” I then tried to educate this attorney about the dangers in using stereotypes, such as “Everyone who is _____ is bad,” and “Everyone who is _____ is good” to judge people. Instead of using stereotypes to judge people, especially when the consequences of making a mistake are high, the attorney should ask appropriate questions when selecting the jury to really get to know each juror, on an individual basis. It is not possible to look at someone and know his/her innermost thoughts, feelings, attitudes, values, beliefs, and life experiences! Therefore, I recommended to my client that, instead of wasting valuable time looking for an easy way to discriminate among people, cast stereotypes aside and spend time more wisely by finding out what millennials, and other prospective jurors, think about the issues that are important in the case.