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.

Take Initiative

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 19, 2017

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Getting through life and work, Managing Employees, Small Business Success

I’ve been reflecting on what makes a good employee, a good student, or even a “good soldier.” One variable I think makes a tremendous difference is the willingness of an individual to take initiative to get things done. And, borrowing, and modifying the use of the term “lean in” from the 2013 book by Sheryl […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 19, 2017

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Getting through life and work, Managing Employees, Small Business Success

People vary on the personality dimension David refers to as taking initiative. Some people are on the lower end of the spectrum, and are colloquially referred to as “slackers,” while other people are on the higher end of the spectrum, and are often referred to as “taking charge,” “leaders,” and “dependable,” among other things, while […]

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I Don’t Care about Research

This post was inspired by a recent encounter I had with a young, inexperienced attorney who told me she did not care about research results; instead, she preferred to base her decisions on her past experiences.  Wow!  Hearing this statement was shocking, in and of itself, but hearing it from a young person was, in […]

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Sticking one’s head in the sand and digging in one’s heels when faced with new information  are two bad behaviors.  Melissa related this story to me upon her return from the courtroom and it amazes me as much as it does her.  I don’t know whether it is because this attorney is young, and as […]

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You can’t be in the conversation if you don’t open your mouth

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 12, 2017

Category: Business Frustrations, Careers, Getting through life and work, Life Outside of Work

I thought of this topic, “You can’t be in the conversation if you don’t open your mouth” while thinking back on situations where I perceived post action grumbling by people who did not participate in discussions or decisions. Specifically, there have been many times over the years when, during, for example, a staff meeting, some […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 12, 2017

Category: Business Frustrations, Careers, Getting through life and work, Life Outside of Work

There are plenty of times when I do not wish to participate in a conversation. These include when conversations involve: (1) people I don’t enjoy being around; (2) topics I am not interested in discussing; (3) someone’s attempt to obtain my professional advice without remuneration; (4) someone’s attempt to engage me in “tie breaking” discourse […]

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Drive your own car

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 10, 2017

Category: Getting through life and work, Jury consultants, Life Outside of Work, litigation consultants, Trial Consulting, Work-Life

A facet of growing up in a small town was that it was safe to get in a car and ride to just about any destination with a new friend, including on a first date.  As I mentioned in a previous post, my family and I knew everyone I was destined to become friends with, […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 10, 2017

Category: Getting through life and work, Jury consultants, Life Outside of Work, litigation consultants, Trial Consulting, Work-Life

Melissa drove her own car, a bright red Camaro, when we first went out for dinner, movies, or other dates. I don’t know how long it was before she decided to let me pick her up and yes, it seemed strange to me for her to be so cautious. But, as I learned about her […]

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Ejecting Jurors – Rarely

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 5, 2017

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

When we conduct mock jury research, we slightly over recruit the mock jurors/participants to ensure that we have adequate coverage for the size of the actual trial jury panel. In Florida, this usually means recruiting 10 people to ensure we have enough mock jurors for a 6 person panel. Our show rate averages 8 people […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 5, 2017

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

The fastest way for a mock juror or other research participant to get kicked out of a research exercise is to insult, harass, or assault one of my staff members. My research associates and research technicians are top notch. They have been trained by David and me to perform all aspects of their jobs with […]

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Check out his family

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 3, 2017

Category: Getting through life and work, Life Outside of Work, litigation consultants, Trial Consulting, Work-Life

When I was growing up in the small town of Fort Myers, Florida, where my family has lived since the 1920s, meeting someone new always involved finding out their parents’ names, which street they lived on, and other details my mom and dad believed were pertinent in deciding whether or not I would be permitted […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 3, 2017

Category: Getting through life and work, Life Outside of Work, litigation consultants, Trial Consulting, Work-Life

I am from the (relatively) big city of Jacksonville. Compared to Ft. Myers in the 60s and 70s, it might as well have been New York! I never had background information on my friends, other than those in a close circle around our family’s church. My junior high and high school was one that attracted […]

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Catching Juror with her Pants Down

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 29, 2016

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees, Small Business Success, Trial Consulting

Melissa recently initiated a series of blog posts about Crazy Juror stories. In writing these posts, I was reminded of another crazy juror story, which wasn’t really that crazy, but it is now in our company folklore and we continue to chuckle about it. A number of years ago, we were working on a large […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 29, 2016

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees, Small Business Success, Trial Consulting

The expression, “caught with your pants down” has, for many years, had a literal interpretation for those of us at Magnus. (The Detroit experience was memorable for several other reasons, including hearing one of my employees inform our client that she wished she were a princess living in a castle, but that has been covered […]

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Don’t beat around the bush

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 27, 2016

Category: Uncategorized

I approach life, and dealing with people, in a direct manner. Some people, in fact, might describe me as terse or abrupt. I do not intend to be rude when interacting with others; I am just fond of getting to the point, as quickly as possible and by using as few words to do so […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 27, 2016

Category: Uncategorized

It is interesting to observe communications styles.  Melissa describes hers well, and perhaps because of her, I have learned to become more direct in the past 30 years since we met.  But, it is also my experience as a photographer that trained me to be direct, to ensure that my human photographic subjects are portrayed, […]

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You should have made me do it sooner

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 22, 2016

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

It is very rare that we ever get complaints from clients so it took me aback a few years ago when a client said, “I have one complaint.” The client was a defense attorney handling a very tragic case involving an electrocution and death. Few things are as horrible as electrocutions. He was defending the […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 22, 2016

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

As much as I believe my professional advice should be accepted, particularly by clients who have hired me to provide them with my advice, I have never, ever, been able to “make” or “force” a client to accept my advice. The consequences of an attorney’s failure to act upon my advice have, unfortunately, been dire, […]

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Crazy Mock Juror Story #5: Disappearing acts – where do they go?

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 20, 2016

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

In this series of “crazy mock juror stories,” I have been writing, until now, about specific instances involving mock jurors who conducted themselves in less than stellar ways.  I have many more funny stories, as well as others which are anything but funny, about my life among research participants, including mock jurors.  As a social […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 20, 2016

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

We know that occasionally a mock juror has become ill and left the research. We know that emergencies at home or with friends have caused a few mock jurors to depart early. But, despite making efforts to track them down even after the research, a few mock jurors have, over the past 25-30 years, vanished. […]

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