Archive | Litigation Tips

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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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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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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Alternative Venue Research

In a prior post which I initiated, I wrote about how not to do jury research. That post was prompted by a call from a prospective client who wanted to hire us, but wanted to specify every aspect of the research, but all of those approaches were wrong in our estimation. Specifically, he wanted the […]

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There are valid reasons for conducting mock jury research in a venue other than the trial venue. As David pointed out, when the trial venue is in a sparsely populated area, it is sometimes risky to conduct jury research in the venue because: (1) there is a risk of “contaminating” the jury pool, meaning there […]

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Reducing Uncertainty

This post builds on the evolution of our experiences as trial consultants and goes further back in that history than a related post on a similar topic.  When Melissa and I first developed the marketing materials for our new trial consulting practice (in 1993), we started from scratch on everything.   In time, we developed […]

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As I have mentioned in previous posts, attorneys and psychologists have vastly different personalities and philosophies of life. As a social psychologist, I am, first and foremost, a scientist. Generally speaking, I require facts, figures, data, statistical analyses, and other science based information to make an informed decision about something important. Absent this type of […]

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Defining Success

As trial consultants, we work in a field where defining “success” is somewhat elusive. We have talked around this in other posts, but will explain it further in this one. In the civil arena in which we work most often, the outcome variables are a verdict comprised of liability and damages. While lawyer advertising often […]

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The primary difficulty in defining success, when it comes to evaluating a jury verdict, is that there is no objective way to measure it. In psychology and other scientific endeavors, there is a control group, which receives no experimental manipulation, and is thus, considered a baseline by which to measure the results of the experimental […]

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Power of Words: Plantation ≠ big farm

This post is third in a series of posts about David’s and my experiences in the Mississippi Delta. We had fun times, but as usual, we learned some unexpected things from people we met during our trip. One of Magnus’ long time and favorite clients is named Orman Kimbrough. Orman is a native of Greenwood, […]

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Sometimes it is the “little” surprises that happen while traveling that are the most memorable.  I, too, found the plantation/big farm revelation mind opening.  It is also a reminder about the evolution of language.  The “de-sexisming” of language seems to have mostly evolved.  Gone are mailman, stewardess, chairman of the board, replaced with the gender […]

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Debugging the Case

When I am wearing my marketing hat (one of many hats I wear, as discussed in other posts), I often find myself looking for ways to explain what a trial consultant does for a trial lawyer. As hard as it is for me to repeatedly explain, after 25+ years in this field, I frequently find […]

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As of this writing, I have consulted on thousands of high stakes civil cases. So far, there has never been a client who retained my services (or those of my employers, prior to the time David and I founded Magnus) because he/she believed he/she had a perfect case. Quite the contrary: 100% of the cases […]

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Won some should have lost; lost some should have won

In writing about the window of opportunity for trial consulting, I reflected on who are our “best” clients, and why.  Our best clients are the attorneys who “get it” – who understand what we do, what goes into it, and what they will get out of it.  But, how do they know these things?  They […]

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Despite what many people believe about themselves, it is impossible to know everything there is to know. A “know it all” never knows it all! Not to mention the fact that “know it alls” are rarely the most popular people! I have been working as a trial consultant for a very long time; so long, […]

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Window of Opportunity for Trial Consulting Work

Recently I’ve received calls from attorneys who wanted mock jury research on their cases, but the calls have come so late that I have been reflecting on when the window of opportunity is open for mock jury research. I have mentioned this issue in other posts, but because I’m noticing this recent spate of last […]

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Attorneys and social psychologists share few personality traits. Different types of people are, of course, drawn to different occupations. Social psychology is a research based doctoral degree; as such, it attracts people who are detail oriented; mathematically inclined; proactive; possessive of highly advanced logical reasoning skills; capable of designing, executing, and analyzing complex research programs; […]

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