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 those universal fears. Maybe fear is the wrong word, but dread fits for most people. They fear or dread the pain, and the noise, or maybe it is the huge needles. I know it is one or more of those things for me. And, apparently, it is a fact that affects dentists, who have high rates of depression, substance abuse, and other personal problems. Well, as I asked, what do we, as trial consultants, have in common with dentists? I think there are some clients, a minority of them, who dread calling us to work on a case because they dread the time, money, and extra work they will do when engaging us. Sometimes, for some clients, they dread getting results which are not to their liking. Perhaps their case is not as good as it can be or perhaps they told their client that it is better than it really is. Some clients really seem to dread calling us to the point that they avoid it at their peril, and sometimes until it is too late. Many lawyers will do everything they can do to settle a case, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but when they settle as a risk avoidance approach – when they do not have a benchmark from mock trials, perhaps it is a bad thing. Some clients/lawyers have made it clear that they “know it all” and demonstrated, to us at least, that they didn’t want anyone to tell them otherwise for fear their clients would see through their facade. Others avoid us to “save the client’s money” when that argument is often quite shallow. At least one paralegal said, “I hope we never have a case big enough to call you again because the last time we did it was too much work for me…” (She is not my kind of employee!) End clients, such as risk managers and insurance claims professionals, seem to not to want to have to call us because they are hoping they aren’t facing a claim large enough to warrant us. I understand their perspective to a degree, but claims are a reality of these jobs, and they should be prepared to use the resources available to them when necessary. That’s why I go to the dentist for cleanings and more – they are a resource I need. In the case of trial consultants, we are just that – and just like having shining, clean teeth, the outcome of the research results, or other consultations, are positive – getting better results for the client, and looking better (or smarter) for having done so. And we don’t have any needles to be afraid of…

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 expertise? Why dread hiring the very people who are ready, willing, and more than able to help? In my opinion, this short sighted attitude is more similar to driving a beat up old jalopy because one is comfortable knowing where the seats are torn instead of driving a new car when money is no object than dreading a visit to the dentist. I have had the extreme pleasure in my career of working for some top notch attorneys, none of whom have ever told me they dreaded having a multi million dollar case (or sometimes, a billion dollar case!) that they believed was important enough to warrant my assistance. This has just never, ever, happened! I have been fortunate enough to work for one attorney who retained my company on every case he took to trial. He was smart enough to realize that, although he could expect a good outcome without my help, if he wanted to win and win big, he could do so only by having me as his “secret weapon.” Needless to say, he and a few other clients are the exception to the rule. When someone informs me they hope they never have another case that warrants my retention, I remark that I guess they will be doing lots of small claims cases! (As an aside, I don’t dread dentist visits, public speaking, air travel, or much of anything as long as I don’t have to spend my time with closed minded people of the type David mentions in this post.)

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