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.

Entrpreneurial Hats

I don’t wear (real) hats that often, unless I’m going to be in the sun, or in the cold weather.  I have lot of hats, a habit of collecting them picked up from my Dad.  He has quite a collection, many of them from trucking companies or manufacturers.  In fact, as a child I thought […]

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David is right: I don’t wear as many hats in owning and operating our business as he does. My job primarily consists of preparing for research projects, for example, mock trials; conducting research; preparing detailed reports containing research results and recommendations for litigation strategies; supervising our research team; selecting juries; making presentations to lawyers, insurance […]

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B&Bs v. hotels – what kind are you?

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On March 21, 2017

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

I have traveled, for both business and pleasure, for decades. I have traveled extensively throughout my native state of Florida, in all 50 states in the U.S.A., and in many places internationally. Over the years, I have developed a keen understanding of the types of accommodations where I like to stay, when possible. I include […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On March 21, 2017

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

When I did the backpacking thing in Europe (and Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and more) after a year of grad school “down under,” I found myself in many youth hostels, with many varied types of accommodations. These included open air co-ed bunk beds in Fiji, to double rooms in Paris and Madrid – with bathrooms […]

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Trial Consultants & Dentists

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On March 16, 2017

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

Okay, what do trial consultants and dentists have in common? I was prompted to think about this recently when I met a dentist who is participating in the Jim Moran Institute/Florida State University Small Business Executive Program with me. He and I were discussing how people dread going to the dentist. It is one of […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On March 16, 2017

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

I don’t understand why some of Magnus’ clients, all of whom are trial lawyers, are afraid of retaining us as a way to prepare for trial, mediation, and arbitration. In that lawsuits and litigation is their sole reason for their professional existence, why would they resist improving their chances of success by benefitting from our […]

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Hippies love God too

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On March 14, 2017

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

There is an old expression, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” which rings true in many situations. When I tell people I am a social psychologist, they usually have no idea what I mean, but upon hearing the word, “psychologist,” they often jump to conclusions regarding my personality, political orientation, religious affiliation, and much […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On March 14, 2017

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

I was raised in a very religious family; Mother was the pastor’s secretary, Dad was a deacon, and I attended a church affiliated high school, I, too, have seen many people who were active in organized religion in various ways. My observations were, however, that the degree of authenticity of people’s beliefs varied and were […]

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Identity Crisis of Trial Consultants, Part 3: Jury v. Bench Trials or Arbitration

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On March 9, 2017

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

This is the final post in the series on the identity crisis of trial or jury consultants. In this post, I want to comment on the term “Jury Consultant.” Over the 25+ years of being in this field, in response to my self introduction, I have heard 2 other things. The first is, “…In my […]

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When I remark to attorneys that “Judges are people too,” they often reply, “No, they are not!’. All kidding aside, juries, judges, mediators, and arbitrators are people. They may have different backgrounds, but over the 4 decades I have been conducting research on humans, I have found people have more characteristics in common than differences. […]

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I am of the Universe

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On March 7, 2017

Category: Common Courtesy, Getting through life and work, Life Outside of Work, Psychology

Here is some free advice: Do everything you can to avoid attending someone else’s class reunion.  No one wants to meet anyone new at a class reunion; everyone is there to see their old friends.  And, the person who brings you as the “plus one” will ignore you during the reunion to spend time with […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On March 7, 2017

Category: Common Courtesy, Getting through life and work, Life Outside of Work, Psychology

Sometimes, you just don’t know how things are going to play out. This was as a class reunion for a (my) dysfunctional high school class, the only get together since the staid 11½ year reunion – and now this attempt, at about 37 years post graduation. It started innocently enough as an idea between a […]

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Identity Crisis of Trial Consultants, Part 2: Trials v. Mediation

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On March 2, 2017

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

This is part 2 of 3 on the identity crisis of “trial consultants” and this is where the crisis becomes more problematic.  When I meet attorneys and mention that I’m a trial consultant, many “get it” – they understand, especially if they have ever hired one of us.  But, some attorneys who have hired trial […]

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David mentions attorneys who don’t “get it” when it comes to understanding the valuable role of trial consultants in the litigation process. In my opinion, many attorneys who don’t get it actually do not want to get it; that is, they are fearful we will expose their weaknesses to their clients. Many attorneys wrongly believe […]

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Alice Cooper is cool

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 28, 2017

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

Alice Cooper is cool. In fact, Alice Cooper is very cool. I have been a HUGE fan of Alice Cooper since 1970, when he released his first of many hits, “I’m Eighteen.” My long term fandom for Alice Cooper (actual name, Vincent Furnier) was solidified in 1971, with the release of “Be My Lover” on […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 28, 2017

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

I can’t say that I was an Alice Cooper fan in my teens; I was slow in adapting to his brand of shock rock. And, I don’t think I’ll forget the odd juxtaposition of the elegant environment of the 1929 Fox Theater and Alice Cooper’s fans and band, including the maestro himself. It was shocking […]

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Identity Crisis of Trial Consultants, Part 1: Trial v. Jury consultants

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 23, 2017

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

Various professions have identity problems. For example, when a “speech therapist” conducted a cognitive evaluation of my mom’s dementia, I had trouble understanding the connection. Even professions with seemingly solid identities, such as lawyers or doctors, are not precisely defined as to their specialty. For example, is the doctor a brain surgeon, general practitioner, or […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 23, 2017

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

When I am asked my occupation, I reply, “I am a social psychologist who helps attorneys prepare their cases for trial, arbitration, and mediation.”  I once told one of my cousins, who lives in a rural part of Florida, that I am a “jury consultant” and she remarked how wonderful it must be to work […]

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That (ugly) blue nail polish is a tribute to mom

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 21, 2017

Category: Business personalities, Common Courtesy, Getting through life and work, Life Outside of Work, Psychology

Mom’s favorite color was blue.  Her bedroom was decorated in hues of blue and her kitchen was accented in blue.  Her china was, of course, “Blue Willow,” a design pattern originating in the late 1700s.  One of her favorite songs was “Blues in the Night” by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer.  I could go on, […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 21, 2017

Category: Business personalities, Common Courtesy, Getting through life and work, Life Outside of Work, Psychology

Fortunately for me, blue is one of my 2 favorite colors.  The other, since childhood, is orange (only certain shades) and this is not because I’m a Gator fan, I’m not – nothing personal – I’m just not.  So, I don’t know why, I just like orange, near the dark ochre side, like Uluru, or […]

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