Smart phones. iPads. Laptop computers. Take a look around and you’ll see faces glued to a device of one sort or another. We can order groceries to be delivered to our homes, hire someone to walk our dogs, and even get a college degree, all from the comfort of our couch. Technology has made it so that we never have to leave our homes.
North Carolina trial lawyer Perry Fisher recently introduced me to the work of Dr. Twenge. Dr. Twenge has done some interesting research around the rise of individualism; this is where society places a greater emphasis on the self and less on social rules. Individualism, for example, is often blamed for the decline of religion in America.
On its face this shift from community to individual and the increasing isolation of the individual would seem to be a negative one for trial lawyers. I, however, think it’s a unique opportunity and can work in your favor.
Regardless of the shift towards individualism and isolation due to technology, we cannot erase our very nature: humans are social creatures. We crave interaction with each other; the massive popularity of Facebook is testament to this fact.
So how is this good for trial lawyers? We crave social interaction, but we rarely get it. Due to our reliance on technology it is easy to remain isolated, and yet, research shows that isolation is causing more depression and takes a major toll on our mental health. Trial gives people a place to come together and do something important.
Think about this for a moment: the opportunity to come together with our fellow community members and do something that will have a lasting impact is so very rare in today’s world. And yet the experience of affecting real change is incredibly rewarding. Ask any juror who has served on a jury and they’ll tell you that it was one of the most meaningful experiences of their lives.
We must do a better job of conveying this opportunity to potential jurors during the jury selection process. I’ve seen time and time again jurors self-select to be on a jury once they understand how important their job is and the effect they’ll have on their communities.
Our increasing isolation as a society isn’t something we need to worry about in trial; it is something we can use to our advantage. Trial offers people a unique opportunity to feel important, affect change and connect with their fellow human beings.
What a gift this is in today’s world.
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