Source of article The Jury Room - Keene Trial Consulting.

We often find things we want to pass along but about which we do not wish to write an entire blog post. Here’s another installment of things you really (maybe, kind of) want to know. 

So, who is trusted more? Scientists or the government? 

You have probably heard about research on “nudges” (which is the idea that if people are given small informational “nudges” they are likely to modify their behavior). If you read the popular news telling us scientists are in so much credibility trouble—you will be surprised by this one. Scientists are seen as more credible than the government even when their “news” is outlandish. This research came out of large-scale samples in both the US and the UK.

Keep in mind that people have actually been convinced that this is accurate information. Go figure! Here’s a quote:

“The nudges were introduced either by a group of leading scientific experts or a government working group consisting of special interest groups and policy makers.

Some of the nudges were real and had been implemented, such as using catchy pictures in stairwells to encourage people to take the stairs, while others were fictitious and actually implausible like stirring coffee anti-clockwise for two minutes to avoid any cancerous effects.”

Being a good leader

Forbes has a nice article on how to be a good leader. It is an edited and condensed interview with Elizabeth W. Smith, the new president and CEO of the Central Park Conservancy. It’s a quick read and filled with insights you can use in your own office/practice. This is a continuation of an earlier talk with her and the story links back to the earlier discussion if you want to learn more. 

Remember the “nerd defense”? Apparently it works with salary offers too

The Economist is a serious publication that often has very intriguing (and well written) social science articles. Here they tell us in all seriousness that people who wear eyeglasses earn more money. 

The use of the death penalty in the United States

Here’s a recent report from Pew Research on how often the death penalty is actually used in those states that still have a death penalty law. Here’s a quote from that brief report: 

Overall, 31 states, the federal government and the U.S. military authorize the death penalty, while 19 states and the District of Columbia do not [snip]. But 11 of the states that allow executions – along with the federal government and the U.S. military – haven’t had one in at least a decade.

Yes, it’s especially hard to be accepted as a woman when you are also an attorney

The Atlantic often has pithy, well-written, informative articles on a variety of topics. This time, they took a look at the uphill challenges faced by female attorneys (and guess what, it’s written by a female attorney). This is likely a story you should not read first thing on a Monday morning. Here’s an excerpt from near the end: 

In 1820, Henry Brougham, a lawyer tasked with defending Queen Caroline before the House of Lords against allegations by her husband, King George IV, that she had committed adultery and should be stripped of her crown, explained his role this way: “An advocate, in the discharge of his duty, knows but one person in all the world, and that person is his client. To save that client by all means and expedients, and at all hazards and costs to other persons, and, among them, to himself, is his first and only duty.”

I’ve always loved that definition of a lawyer’s work and its description of the sacrifices we make for our clients. But in the courtroom, whether as an attorney or as an instructor, I’m constantly reminded that women lawyers don’t have access to the same “means and expedients” that men do. So I tell my female students the truth: that their body and demeanor will be under relentless scrutiny from every corner of the courtroom. That they will have to pay close attention to what they wear and how they speak and move. That they will have to find a way to metabolize these realities, because adhering to biased expectations and letting slights roll off their back may be the most effective way to advance the interests of their clients in courtrooms that so faithfully reflect the sexism of our society.