Archive | Trial Consulting

“What’s the next case going to be?”

Glass laminates, carpet glue, yacht paint, windshield wiper technology, medical negligence, accounting malpractice, legal malpractice, burns, brain damaged babies, dog bites, hurricane damage – to coffee, hurricane building damage, construction defects, government taking of land (eminent domain), murder, rape, cruise ship based crimes, cruise ship excursions gone wrong, toxic chemicals, environmental damage, celebrities accused of […]

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As the old saying goes, “been there, done that.” There are probably some types of lawsuits on which I have not consulted, but right now, I can’t think of one! A potential client asked me recently if I’d ever worked on: (1) a big case; (2) a professional malpractice case; or (3) a securities case. […]

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Hiring an Unqualified Consultant is Like…

As I write this, David is attending a series of out of town marketing meetings. David is meeting with clients, as well as with prospective clients, in the never ending task of obtaining new business for Magnus. Even though my career is nothing new and I have been working in the field of litigation consulting […]

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This topic is a bit of a recurring one for us, in some variation. For a number of reasons, our profession has been under appreciated regarding what it means to be a qualified professional. Though many professions require credentials, qualifications, licenses, and tests, ours does not. This leaves the customer to sometimes buy from less […]

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Never Hired a Trial Consultant?

While we work with many repeat clients, once, all of our clients had a first time experience hiring a trial consultant. And, these first time experiences happen on regular basis. I’ve come to realize that things which are second nature to me are foreign to first time prospects and clients. In fact, it starts when […]

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David has developed numerous aids to help Magnus’ first time clients understand what will happen before the research day, on the research day, and after the research day. The fact that many attorneys do not understand that conducting surveys, focus groups, and mock trials is research means we have a long way to go to […]

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10 Years After

No, not the band 10 Years After. This is a post of about a pleasant surprise. Something that worked as hoped, as intended. I recently got a call from a client with whom we worked 10 years ago. She was not the primary client then; she represented one of several defendants in a large case. […]

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Having just finished typing a report for the client David mentions, I will say I’m glad our clients read, then save, our reports. It takes many days of deep thought and concentration for me to write reports for Magnus’ clients. And, due to the so called modernization and high tech nature of our work environment, […]

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How serious are you about winning?

Continuing the discussion started in the post entitled How much risk can you take off the table?, the conversation took another turn when our client mentioned another question he asks certain clients, “How serious are you about winning?”. He usually works for sophisticated and/or wealthy clients on commercial cases – those without physical injuries. Many […]

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It amazes me that some clients are more interested in winning their cases than others, in that I believe winning one’s case should be a desirable goal for everyone who becomes involved in litigation. In fact, if I were an attorney who worked on high stakes civil litigation, I would consider asking all of my […]

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Watch What You Say – You Never Know Whose Feelings Will be Hurt

My first job upon earning my Ph. D. was Director of Marketing Research at a large hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. Soon after I began working, I met an influential staff member who escorted me throughout the entire campus, introducing me to all of the high level executives whom he believed would help me in this […]

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I would add to Melissa’s elevator concerns the adage of “lose lips sink ships.” Beyond healthcare with its HIPPA rules, there are many environments where confidentiality is a concern. And, not just for the risk of hurt feelings. In fact, this is an area we make special efforts to train employees when hiring. And, we […]

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How much risk can you take off the table?

A recent lunch with a client involved an interesting discussion of how to convince “end” clients to spend money on mock jury research. For those who don’t know, in some cases, the lawyers advance the expenses, including expenses for things such as mock trials, and in others, they expect the actual client, the “end client,” […]

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In the early days of Magnus, our slogan used to be “reducing uncertainty.” We soon learned this was an ineffective slogan in that most attorneys don’t appear to be uncertain about anything. They may be wrong, quite wrong, but they are certain nonetheless! The idea of reducing risk is, perhaps, a better way to frame […]

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Confirmation Bias, Part 2

In thinking about my prior post on confirmation bias, I thought about one aspect of being hired as a professional trial consultant. It happens that I recently saw an announcement of a bar association seminar on do it yourself (DIY) mock trials. I know that mock trials are often expensive when conducted by a qualified […]

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I’ll begin my part of this topic by saying that, if social psychologists, who study confirmatory bias and are, therefore, presumed to be experts on it, are subject to confirmation bias in their decision making, then almost anyone can engage in this type of biased information processing. Attorneys may be more educated and more intelligent […]

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The day after a research day is not a holiday

Conducting mock jury or focus group research is hard work. I am the first to admit this. After working as a jury/trial consultant for 30 years, I know everyone who works with Magnus does a great job, for long hours, in difficult environments, with demanding clients. I get it. I really do. I am right […]

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It is interesting, and often frustrating, working with new hires whose perspectives on work have been formed in less demanding environments, if they have even worked in a professional environment. The day(s) after research are critical for assimilating the data collected, the videos uploaded, and addressing client concerns which emerged on the research day. As […]

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Confirmation Bias, Part 1

I read an article recently about confirmation bias and how it negatively impacts social science research and progress. Confirmation bias is “the tendency to seek, interpret, and create information in ways that verify existing beliefs.” (Brehm & Kassin, Social Psychology, 1989. Which is, coincidentally, a textbook for which Melissa co-authored the Instructor’s Manual and Study […]

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David’s post is interesting to me in two regards. First, it is interesting that David, and not I, chose a topic related to my background as a social psychologist. Second, it is interesting that David focused his post on confirmation bias in social science research. Recently, the media have frequently mentioned confirmation bias, as if […]

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