Archive | Trial Consultants

When to break rules

I am not a “Goody Two Shoes” by any means, however, I usually play by the rules, regardless of the situation. I would never, ever, park in a disabled parking space unless I am transporting a disabled passenger, I do not try to outrun trains at a railroad crossing, and I clap my hands along […]

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It is probably because of my schooling from 6th to 12th grades which, while not Catholic school, was very strict. Lots of rules, and at some point I started asking “why?”. I did not ask “why” to be obstinate. Rather, when things seemed arbitrary, it seemed like a fair question. Some things were clearly safety […]

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Get it Right – The First Time & Every Time

Not too long ago, I attended a lawyers’ luncheon at which the speaker was the president of the Florida Bar. He made a few comments about various challenges lawyers face with their clients, specifically, the expectation by the client that they essentially have all of the answers so that they get it right the first […]

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Attorneys do not usually have advanced degrees in psychology or social science. As such, many attorneys do not have a full understanding of the scientific method, scientific research techniques (including proper sampling of research participants), human decision making, group dynamics, etc. That is why, of course, attorneys routinely turn to Magnus (or one of its […]

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Shaman Trial Consultant

I’ve been on a bit of a “tear” lately about caveat emptor. Hiring a trial consultant requires due diligence because, unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to hold oneself out as a trial consultant. A lawyer, a physician, a plumber, an electrician or a hairstylist has to be tested and licensed. We don’t. While there has […]

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Just for the fun of it, I verified that a Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated Ph. D., is the highest academic degree awarded by any university. That’s right, dear reader, the highest degree. Whatever other degrees anyone may have, it is not possible to have a degree higher than a Ph. D. Please excuse me for […]

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RESPECT, addenda

We recently posted about RESPECT and used a couple of examples of how we were shown disrespect by our clients – “dissed” may be the current term for this. A friend (thanks Al) pointed out that the post might backfire if potential clients of ours were to think we’d post something negative about working with […]

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Many thanks to my dear friend, Al Weigand, for pointing out that there are sometimes multiple interpretations, including some that are unintended, of things we write. Al is a thoughtful, deliberative person who, upon reading the post about RESPECT, cautioned me that it could be interpreted by potential clients of Magnus as having the intent […]

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Act like the cat

As everyone who knows me will confirm, I love cats! I have spent a lot of time with a lot of cats, including my own cats, other people’s cats, and the cats who were available for adoption when I worked at the Humane Society in Miami during college. Cats, unlike humans, rarely appear to make […]

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I kicked our cat the other night. It was an accident, really it was. One thing about many cats, ours included, is that they can be stealthy when they want to be – it’s all about survival. Rex sneaked up behind me when I was packing – an activity he has learned to dislike because […]

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When losing is winning. Part 2.

Following on “When losing is winning. Part 1,” I’m writing now about another phenomenon that has been covered a bit in other posts. That is, defining winning. On the defense side of civil and criminal cases, some of them are, technically speaking, losers. That is, an outright defense verdict is unlikely no matter what – […]

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As David says, losing one’s lawsuit is relative. Sometimes, a loss is obvious, such as the time we worked for a client who lost a billion dollar case, had it overturned on appeal due to a legal technicality, then retained Magnus prior to the second trial. This client followed all of my recommendations (although, often, […]

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When losing is winning. Part 1.

Everyone wants to win, right? This post is being written to say winning isn’t everything. At least not in a mock trial. Regardless of whether it is a mock jury, mock arbitration, mock bench trial, or whatever, the process is not about winning. It is about debugging the case. It is about finding the problems […]

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The purpose of mock trials is not to “win,” rather, the purpose of conducting any type of litigation research is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a case. In the decades I have been conducting pre-trial, pre-mediation, and pre-arbitration research for attorneys, I have worked with numerous clients who “get it,” and who truly […]

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

A few years ago, we had a case involving lawyers from Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. We knew the Florida lawyers, who brought us into the case. The California lawyers were unknown to us; they were with a huge firm with a strong reputation. Our primary contact there was a Sr. Associate, […]

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Otis Redding wrote “Respect” in 1965. When sung by Otis Redding, the song was about a man who is willing to work hard all day, as long as he receives respect from his woman when he gets home. Aretha Franklin’s cover of “Respect,” released in 1967, has a different tone. Instead of begging for her […]

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Why do we do this anyway?

I’ve been writing a number of posts recently that contain quite a bit of negativity. Negative events, negative people, me griping. I realized that some might question why Melissa and I do what we do – why we chase attorneys, why we work in such a contentious world. Some people we know can’t imagine working […]

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I became a psychologist to help people. Although I am not a clinical psychologist who helps patients overcome various psychological maladies, in my job as a social psychologist who consults with attorneys, 100% of what I do is aimed at helping those in need. I like to help people. I like to make a difference […]

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Objective Data for Better Decisions – Proof for Others

I had a conversation yesterday with a client that prompts this post on a topic I’ve had on hold for sometime. When a trial consultant conducts mock jury research, or mock arbitration, or a mock bench trial, the consultant is collecting objective data to report to the client as to the specific results or verdicts […]

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At Magnus, we are “all about” data. And, just to be sure the reader knows this, “data” is the plural of “datum,” therefore, when one refers to data, to be correct, one must say things such as “the data are,” “the data have revealed,” “the data confirm,” etc. instead of wrongly describing data as if […]

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