Tag Archives: courtroom

The Importance of the Me Principle for Jury Strategy (or Those Darn Millennials!)

By Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D.

Sadly, research on cultural changes in America over the past few decades show that we have become more of a narcissistic culture than ever before. Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University, wrote the following in an article in Time magazine:

“Here’s the cold, hard data: The incidence of narcissistic personality disorder is nearly three times as high for people in their 20s as for the generation that’s now 65 or older, according to the National Institutes of Health; 58% more college students scored higher on a narcissism scale in 2009 than in 1982. Millennials got so many participation trophies growing up that a recent study showed that 40% believe they should be promoted every two years, regardless of performance. They are fame-obsessed: three times as many middle school girls want to grow up to be a personal assistant to a famous person as want to be a Senator, according to a 2007 survey; four times as many would pick the assistant job over CEO of a major corporation. They’re so convinced of their own greatness that the National Study of Youth and Religion found the guiding morality of 60% of millennials in any situation is that they’ll just be able to feel what’s right. Their development is stunted: more people ages 18 to 29 live with their parents than with a spouse, according to the 2012 Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults. And they are lazy. In 1992, the nonprofit Families and Work Institute reported that 80% of people under 23 wanted to one day have a job with greater responsibility; 10 years later, only 60% did.” Continue reading

Attorneys’ Analogies Are A Lot Like My In-laws Dancing At Weddings (Or, Your “Metaphor” Is Actually A Simile)

wedding dancing










By Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D.

My aunt-in-law Josephine, a resident of a small town in southern Missouri (or “Missourah” as they say) that no one has heard of, loves weddings. The readings, the nuptials, the kiss…blah, blah, blah; who cares? But the dancing? Now we’re talking. Nobody gets as excited about the Electric Slide, YMCA, and Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” as Josephine. When “it’s electric!” is finally shouted over the DJ’s speakers, Josephine takes to the floor showing all of those leadership skills that go unappreciated at the local hardware store where she works part-time. The pride puts a special gleam in her eye when she gets to show a newcomer (usually some sugared-up toddler) the dance’s routine. This is her glorious moment…she will repeatedly tell friends the same ole stories about this night (much to their dismay) until the next wedding comes along. Family members will watch and laugh, happily cheering her on, excited to see another happy soul living in the moment. Fortunately, for Josephine, the family has a heart: no one has ever broken the devastating news to her that she is a terrible dancer who “makes my feet sad” as Ralph from The Simpsons might say. But that’s the great thing about weddings: everyone is so happy (and/or drunk) that bad dancing flies under the radar.

Continue reading