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.

Confronting Dementia

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 22, 2016

Category: Getting through life and work, Life Outside of Work, Work-Life

Dementia, in its many forms, are ugly diseases. As they attack the brain, they attack the body. And, in doing so, they attack bystanders all around. Family and friends are drawn into the horror of the loved one or friend and seeing the gradual, and sudden, declines that come with these diseases. Sadly, Melissa and […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 22, 2016

Category: Getting through life and work, Life Outside of Work, Work-Life

It is an unarguable fact that the human brain is the most important part of the body and, indeed, what separates people from other mammals. This being the case, it is astounding to me that, although most people hurry to obtain medical care at the first sign of many, relatively minor, medical emergencies (for example, […]

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GPS (orientation x3)

In medical settings, and in psychological assessments, patients are almost always asked 3 important questions: (1) Who are you/What is your name?; (2) Where are you, right now?; and (3) What time is it? People with cognitive impairment are often unable to answer these simple questions and sometimes, they become confused as to why they […]

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Oriented X3.  I’ve certainly seen this concept utilized in the medical arena, especially as it relates to cognitive testing.  But, in thinking of the broader context about which Melissa writes, it occurs to me that there is another way we commonly relate to this concept.  That is, “the lights are on, but nobody’s home.”  We […]

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Telling the end client they need a new attorney

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 15, 2016

Category: Business Frustrations, Business Relationships, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Trial Consulting

One of the strangest outcomes of mock jury research is the realization, and documentation, that the attorney for whom we were working was not up to the challenge. Though we never anticipated this would occur, it has. And, it has happened more than once. The first time I recall this happening was when we were […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 15, 2016

Category: Business Frustrations, Business Relationships, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Trial Consulting

The majority of Magnus’ clients are attorneys who have super sized egos. Some of our clients’ egos are well deserved, in that they are stellar advocates on behalf of their clients. Other attorneys seem to have a self conception that does not match their accomplishments. (I am well aware this happens among people in other […]

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Around by Tampa

As some readers of David’s and my posts know, I am a fourth generation Floridian who was “born and raised” in Fort Myers, on Florida’s Gulf coast. Fort Myers was a small town when I grew up and many things we needed, for example, specialty medical care, were not available there. My family spent quite […]

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I’m from the east coast of Florida, Jacksonville to be specific. Before I met Melissa, I had been to Tampa and a few other west Florida cities only a few times. I certainly knew the basic geography, but not necessarily the most efficient routes to get to places like Ft. Myers, or even Tampa. So, […]

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If you see something, say something

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 8, 2016

Category: Business Travel, Common Courtesy, Life Outside of Work, Travel, Work-Life

In the brave new world we live in since 9-11-01, we all have extra concerns when traveling, especially flying. Melissa and I were traveling home from client meetings in Atlanta recently when we experienced an event that made the new realities more real than ever. I was seated at the lounge near the gate, waiting […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 8, 2016

Category: Business Travel, Common Courtesy, Life Outside of Work, Travel, Work-Life

Although it would have made things simpler to intervene if we had been able to understand what was being said by the man and woman who were fighting in the Atlanta airport, without a doubt, the tone of their voices indicated something was terribly wrong. In addition, their interpersonal violence, in the form of shouting […]

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Do what you say

As a follow up to a post in which I quoted a line from Jimmy Buffett’s song, “Clichés,” “Say what you mean and mean what you say,” I will add another thought, “Do what you say.” Many people talk about doing something, but when it comes down to actually accomplishing what they have talked about, […]

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This is a topic Melissa initiated – that’s how these posts work. One of us generates the topic and then becomes the first author/blogger. The first author writes what ends up in the left column of the post, the second author then responds. Many times the right column posts follows or expands upon the left […]

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Red Flags when hiring a Trial Consultant, part 1. Predictability Claims

I recently had the opportunity to view some materials produced by a competitor for a client. In the materials, the competitor stated that a certain methodology they offered would predict the trial verdict with 90% accuracy if the case goes to trial (this is paraphrased, but is essentially what was claimed). As someone who has […]

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This is a “G rated” blog, so I will limit myself to saying there are many, many trial consultants who are full of IT (the astute reader will know what IT means in this context). Conducting small group research doesn’t predict any outcome with 90% accuracy. If it did, why would political polls assess opinions […]

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What is cognitive psychology?

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 30, 2016

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Trial Consulting

Cognitive psychology is the scientific study of perceiving, remembering, and thinking about the world.  Cognition includes all sensory inputs, such as vision and hearing.  In the early days of cognitive psychology, beginning with Ulric Neisser’s 1967 book, titled, Cognitive Psychology, sensations and perceptions were studied via experiments, skilled observation, and, to a lesser extent, introspection. […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 30, 2016

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Trial Consulting

Similar to my learning curve when meeting Melissa regarding social psychology, I also had to try to understand cognitive psychology.  I am glad today that I have some degree of understanding of both fields, given how much impact they have in our trial consulting work.  The truth is that knowledge of both fields expands far […]

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When we all think the same, watch out

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 25, 2016

Category: Business Frustrations, Careers, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Trial Consulting

I recently read a Wall Street Journal article with the same title as this post, “When we all think the same, watch out.” I smiled when I saw it because I was already thinking I could figure out where this was going. As it turned out, it related to the economy and the factors that […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 25, 2016

Category: Business Frustrations, Careers, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Trial Consulting

Groupthink is a dangerous social psychological phenomenon. It was first defined by Irving Janis in 1971 as pressures toward uniformity due to group members’ desire to agree with their leader. Groupthink is most likely to occur when: (1) the group is cohesive; (2) there are structural faults in the group (such as an absence of […]

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What is social psychology?

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 23, 2016

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Trial Consulting

When I tell people I am a social psychologist, I usually have to follow up with an explanation of what it means to be a psychologist who specializes in something other than counseling people with mental health issues (the purview of clinical psychologists). Social psychology is the scientific study of people in groups. Social psychology […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 23, 2016

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Trial Consulting

I admit that when Melissa and I met, I did not know how to define the sub fields of psychology.  I took a general psychology course in college and considered minoring it psychology, but with 3 majors I didn’t have time to add it.  However, as I got to know Melissa and learned more about […]

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