About this blog

After more than 20 years operating a trial consulting practice together as co-founding partners of Magnus Research Consultants, Inc. and Magnus Graphics, Inc., and more than 25 years of marriage, Dr. Melissa Pigott and David Fauss decided to share some of their thoughts, experiences, pet peeves, and perspectives on operating a small “mom & pop” business. The intended audience for their writings is other business owners, as well as employees of small businesses. Trial consulting is a professional service business, as was David’s photography business. There are many unique issues faced by professional service providers; Melissa and David share some of their insights on running a successful business.

What have you got to lose by doing mock jury research?

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 1, 2016

Category: Business Frustrations, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Psychology, Trial Consulting, Trial Science, Work-Life, Workplace Technology

Advance warning, this post is positively self serving to our means of earning a living – trial consulting. Every once in a while, and more often than I think it should happen, I hear comments from prospective clients who say something like “my client or my co-counsel doesn’t think doing mock jury research is really […]

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It is a well known social psychological phenomenon that most people prefer schema congruent information over information that is incongruent with their schemata. (The reader is probably asking himself/herself, “What does this mean, in laypersons’ terms?”.) Most people have a certain way of viewing the world that, for them, is more important than reality, the […]

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Crazy Mock Juror Story #2: Fore!

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 29, 2016

Category: Jury consultants, litigation consultants, Litigation Tips, Psychology, Trial Consulting

This is the second post in the series about “Crazy Mock Juror Stories.” Anticipating the reader’s question, “Is she making this up?” the answer is, “These are true stories; really they are!”. I have often thought it is too bad we have to give the mock jurors restroom/smoking breaks. A common occurrence has been for […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 29, 2016

Category: Jury consultants, litigation consultants, Litigation Tips, Psychology, Trial Consulting

Fore, as in forewarned! Jurors, mediators, and judges are people, just like the rest of us. People do strange things. I don’t know whether the subject matter, that is, the case being mock tried, was so boring that the juror/golfer found it more interesting to spend his time chipping away than return on time. But, […]

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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

This expression which is the title of this post is credited to English author Charles Caleb Colton’s writing in 1820. I don’t feel flattered. To explain, Melissa and I formed Magnus Research Consultants, Inc. in 1993. We worked hard to come up with a name that fit many criteria we established for our new, nameless, […]

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I respectfully disagree with Mr. Colton about being flattered by imitation. Think about it. Is imitation leather flattering to real leather? Is eating imitation cheese ever a good idea? What exactly is imitation crab imitating? I could go on. When David and I discovered that one of our competitors had copied our name, we were […]

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Crazy Mock Juror Story #1: If we’re in Miami, that must be cocaine

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 22, 2016

Category: Litigation Tips, Psychology, Trial Consulting

This is the first in a series of posts based on a general theme, “Crazy Mock Juror Stories.” I have been working with human research participants since 1977; in the early days of my studies and career, we psychologists referred to anyone who participated in our research as “subjects.” Now, the socially acceptable term is […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 22, 2016

Category: Litigation Tips, Psychology, Trial Consulting

I was in the office the day of this particular event, but not directly participating in the mock jury research. However, when the hunt was on for the missing mock jurors, I became aware that something was amiss, especially upon seeing Melissa’s (that is, Dr. Pigott, during business hours) expression. Clearly something was wrong, but […]

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The Psychology of Medical Malpractice

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 17, 2016

Category: Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Psychology, Trial Consulting, Trial Science, Work-Life, Workplace Technology

In the September 2016 Monitor on Psychology, there was an article entitled “Medical Errors are the Third Leading Cause of Death in the United States.” My reaction was “WOW”; it’s hard to believe medical errors are responsible for more deaths than respiratory ailments, strokes, Alzheimer’s Disease and are only surpassed by heart disease and cancer. […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 17, 2016

Category: Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Psychology, Trial Consulting, Trial Science, Work-Life, Workplace Technology

Psychologists who have analyzed data from numerous adverse medical situations have identified 5 types of errors that cause medical mistakes: (1) errors of commission; (2) errors of omission; (3) errors of communication; (4) errors of context; and (5) diagnostic errors. The underlying problems that lead to medical errors have been studied by psychologists because many […]

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Do you really know what I’m thinking? Do you want to know?

In this final post inspired by a dreadful meeting David and I recently attended, I will cover a dangerous game played by some people. These people, none of whom are psychologists (or our counterparts in the medical field, psychiatrists), have an inflated sense of self and often believe other people share in their belief that […]

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There are several takeaway lessons from the fateful meeting which prompted this series of posts. One is definitely “know what you don’t know.” A favorite professor of mine once told me about the difference between smart, and not so smart, people. The smart ones know they don’t know it all and try to learn what […]

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Mirror Jury

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 10, 2016

Category: Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Psychology, Trial Consulting, Trial Science

Following the recent Bull theme yet again, anyone who has watched the first 2 episodes has observed Dr. Bull conducting a “Mirror Jury.” So, before you ask, a “Mirror Jury” or something by another similar name is real. The most commonly used term for this service provided by trial consultants is “Shadow Jury®.” Anyone notice […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 10, 2016

Category: Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Psychology, Trial Consulting, Trial Science

I must admit that the new TV show about jury consultants is a highly entertaining, fanciful, drama. (In my opinion, it does not come close to the entertainment value of my long time favorite show, “The Simpsons,” however.) Because the term, “Shadow Jury®” was a registered trademark formerly owned by Litigation Sciences (my former employer), […]

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A woman can be, and is, the boss

I have written several previous posts about sexism and its prevalence in many aspects of today’s society. Although there are numerous examples of the removal of gender barriers in many segments of the business world, there remains, in my opinion, an assumption among many people that, being “the boss” means being a man (and a […]

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I have always been cognizant of the risks of assumptions – there is that adage about assuming which works pretty well. I want to know who’s who and would never want to “step in it” as the person Melissa describes. My career is fairly unique in that I have mostly had women bosses. Even now, […]

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Trial Science

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 3, 2016

Category: Careers, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Marketing your business, Trial Consulting, Trial Science

The TV character Dr. Bull is proving interesting in that he has introduced some terminology that may be unfamiliar to attorneys and the general public. Dr. Bull references “Trial Science” which may lead some to wonder is there any science to a trial. Many trials involve forensic science, experts, engineers, and more, but the concept […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 3, 2016

Category: Careers, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Marketing your business, Trial Consulting, Trial Science

My first job as a social psychologist working in the world of law was at a company called Litigation Sciences, Inc.  LSI, as it was commonly referred to, was one of the first companies that worked for attorneys involved in high stakes litigation.  LSI was founded in the late 1970s, meaning the kind of work […]

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Find out who you’re meeting with

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 1, 2016

Category: Careers, Common Courtesy, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Marketing your business, Small Business Success

I prepare for every meeting with every client and potential client by researching them via the many sources available for finding out about people. In that most of my clients are attorneys, it is relatively simple to find out about them by looking at their firm’s website, attorney ratings services, and their bar association. Prior […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 1, 2016

Category: Careers, Common Courtesy, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Marketing your business, Small Business Success

Once again a post was inspired by 1 particular, and unusual, meeting. But, to Melissa and me, it had many problems which are now turned into opportunities to discuss and thus is born another post. Melissa covers the reasons to do one’s homework prior to a meeting. We like to know something about those with […]

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