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.

Judges are People Too

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On June 22, 2017

Category: Careers, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Magnus, MagnusInsights, MagnusResearch, Psychology, Trial Consulting, Trial Science

We recently wrote that lawyers are people too. It has been interesting for me to watch client reactions when Melissa occasionally finds herself needing to remind the attorney/clients that judges are people also. Once an attorney becomes a judge, and puts on the black (usually) robe, a new relationship develops between their former colleagues and […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On June 22, 2017

Category: Careers, Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Magnus, MagnusInsights, MagnusResearch, Psychology, Trial Consulting, Trial Science

I cannot count the number of times I have said to an attorney, “Judges are people too,” only to have the attorney look at me first, with astonishment, then, upon reflecting on my comment, nod their agreement. I have presented many continuing legal education (C. L. E.) programs in which judges were among the audience. […]

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When driving the boss’ car

For most of the two plus decades David and I have co-owned our business, we have had three vehicles: his primary car, my primary car, and the so called “company truck.” The company truck is, in reality, not owned by our company but instead, is co-owned by David and me just like our other vehicles. […]

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Driving the “company” car, or “boss,’” car is a privilege not given lightly. In our business, of course, we know about the liability issues that are also a part of the equation. But, you have to get the job done and, as Melissa said, we have always expected that common sense would dictate that an […]

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Keep in Touch: Not out of Sight out of Mind

In a recent post, I mentioned my year of graduate studies overseas.  On a Rotary Foundation Scholarship, I attended the Australian Graduate School of Management at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.  The year was 1985 and communications were not then what they are today.  This was before fax machines were common, […]

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As long term readers of David’s and my posts know, we are the type of people who have lots of friends. Having lots of friends, old and new, requires effort. As my late Mother used to say, “To make a friend, you have to be a friend.” Being a friend includes standing by one’s friends […]

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Road trips

When I was growing up, my parents and I regularly took road trips. Sometimes, the road trips were relatively short, for example, to Wakulla County in north Florida, where my dad was from, to visit his relatives (to whom he referred as his “kin folk”). Other trips were of 2 or 3 weeks duration, when […]

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Those who are reading this post know that the road trip Melissa mentioned that we were planning turned out well.  The Mississippi Delta provided fun, good food, new friends, and some life expanding experiences.  Growing up, I did experience a few road trips, but, probably because my traveling Dad didn’t always find road trips to […]

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Why Buy from Mom & Pop?

Small businesses, especially those run by family members or spouses, are often called “Mom & Pop.” I have written about this previously and have planned other posts on this subject. Sometimes, there seems to be almost a negative connotation to being Mom & Pop and the implication is that Mom & Pop can’t be on […]

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As the co-owner of a small business in which the other owner is my husband, I am “Mom” to his “Pop.” In my opinion, and based on my experience, there are many advantages for clients and customers of small businesses that can never be achieved when doing business with a huge conglomerate. Having worked for […]

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“No thanks” to Bad Clients

The older I get, the more I choose to spend time with nice people and the less time I choose to spend with mean people. My philosophy has evolved to include family members, spouses of family members, friends, spouses of friends, and clients. Even though clients, unlike the other categories of people I have listed, […]

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We are fortunate that we have encountered only a few clients who are so abusive as to be the bad ones Melissa described.  The worst one we have encountered was a scorched earth litigator, but in his world, this extended to even include everyone on his team – and to us.  But, his true self […]

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Trial Consultants We Have Known

In any industry, business, or practice, one gets to know one’s colleagues/competitors. And, we have, in the past 30 years, seen the gamut of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Melissa started her career with Litigation Sciences, Inc. and many of the consultants who were affiliated with LSI remain among the top consultants in […]

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In every occupation, there exists a range of people, from the truly excellent to the amazingly inferior. The world of trial consulting is no exception to this general rule. I have a Ph.D. in social psychology and, given that a Ph.D. is the highest academic degree that exists (including M.D., D.D.S., D.O., J. D., E.D. […]

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Clients are People Too

Clients are people too.  I repeat, clients are people too.  This may seem obvious to the astute reader, however, there have been many occasions on which I have had to remind my staff to treat our clients like people, instead of merely treating them like clients.  Magnus’ clients are high powered attorneys, insurance adjusters, risk […]

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On a research day it is a bit of a toss up who the most important people in the room are. The participants, i.e., mock jurors are critical to our projects. Without them we cannot do our work. But, without the clients, we have no work to do. Our support staff usually is comfortable with […]

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Pioneering Eyewitness Identification Research Confirmed

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On May 25, 2017

Category: Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Psychology

In the early to mid 1980s, my business partner/wife was on a team conducting research in the realm of eyewitness identification.  The research was funded by the National Institute of Justice and the National Science Foundation and she, and the others on the team, evaluated different aspects of eyewitness identification.  One aspect of that research, […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On May 25, 2017

Category: Getting the Job Done, Litigation Tips, Psychology

As of this writing in 2017, it has been 45 years since the landmark Supreme Court decision, Neil v. Biggers (409 U.S. 188, 34 L. Ed. 401, 1972), in which social psychological research was utilized to specify five conditions to be considered in the evaluation of eyewitness identification evidence: (1) the opportunity of the witness […]

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Soldier First

Recently, David and I were honored to attend the graduation ceremony of our dear friend, Suzanne, from the United States Army Judge Advocate (J.A.G.) training program.  Suzanne is an amazing young woman, about whom we have written in other posts, and whom we have known for her entire life.  She has excelled in everything she […]

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Melissa suggested that I read the Soldier’s Creed prior to responding to her comments about Suzanne, and I will add that I agree that Suzanne’s humanity is one of her many assets. But, as I read the Creed, I realized that it is very fitting for Suzanne, of course now, but parts of it have […]

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