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.

The Social Psychology of Etiquette

This third post in a series about good manners, courtesy, and kindness combines my education, training, and experience as a social psychologist with something with which I have always been fascinated: etiquette. Unlike almost everyone else I know, I love the rules of etiquette and I try, diligently, to follow them in everything I do. […]

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Melissa is much more of a student of, and teacher of, etiquette than am I. And she has taught me a thing or two in this regard over the past 30+ years. But, I had some other good teachers, including my mother, and another person about whom I wrote previously, Jon Peters. Jon corrected me […]

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Life and Work – Have Fun When You Can

This concept presents itself in many ways. The saying “life is short, eat dessert first” is one way. But, aside from that, building fun into “the plan” is one benefit of operating a small business. While we’ve written things along these lines in the past, recent discussions with family and friends are reminders of the […]

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I can’t begin to count the number of times David’s mother, Carole, said, “Have fun!” when David and I were leaving her house to meet with a prospective client (the opposite of having fun, in my opinion); conducting mock jury research (very stressful and hard work, involving long hours); selecting a jury (the ultimate stressful […]

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The meaning of R.S.V.P.

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On May 8, 2018

Category: Business Frustrations, Careers, Common Courtesy, Getting Through Life and Work, Life Outside of Work, Work-Life

I mentioned in a previous post that many people with whom I am in contact fail to return phone calls, reply to emails, or thank me for things. Related to these discourteous behaviors is the failure to R.S.V.P. to an invitation. In the event the reader does not know the meaning of “R.S.V.P.,” it is […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On May 8, 2018

Category: Business Frustrations, Careers, Common Courtesy, Getting Through Life and Work, Life Outside of Work, Work-Life

The party which prompted this post was a few months ago, but this seems to be a timeless topic. Just this week, I read a discussion of the failure of people to R.S.V.P. in a nationally syndicated advice column. It is such a pervasive issue that the advice columnist just said “accept it” and advised […]

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Help the Jury Succeed

I subscribe to an email publication called the Jur-E Bulletin; it is published by the National Center for State Courts. It is a very informative publication and I recommend subscribing to it as you never know what tidbits will be there to be learned. Like a few other posts in our blog, this one was […]

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I have been working in the realm of psychology and law for decades and it has always seemed odd to me that many attorneys view jurors as their adversaries. I have heard countless remarks made by attorneys that denigrate the intelligence, motivation, and decisions made by juries. In addition, I have selected juries on hundreds […]

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Return calls, Reply to emails, Be courteous

Many things in the lives of adults are related to the way in which we were brought up as children. If, for example, someone was taught by his/her parents to prefer Fords over Chevys, or to cheer for the Pittsburgh Pirates instead of the Boston Red Sox, these long standing habits are likely to be […]

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Melissa approaches the topic of “Return calls, Reply to emails, Be courteous” as an etiquette issue, and it is. Working for and with trial lawyers is challenging, sometimes. The general public’s impression of attorneys is not always the most favorable, to put it simply. The perceived lack of courtesy may explain part of that. And, […]

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Made for TV Mock Trials

A friend/client sent me an article recently about a mock trial conducted in a high profile murder case in Texas which was featured on the television show 48 Hours. The article, by one of Magnus’ competitors, thoroughly discussed many of the reasons why the mock trial and real trial results were different. As it turned […]

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There are so many things wrong with the way in which these Texas attorneys performed their mock trial that it would take more than this post to comment on them. It is a travesty of justice for clients of attorneys who think they know more than anyone else about almost everything, including jury behavior. I […]

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Mardi Gras Beads

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 24, 2018

Category: Life Outside of Work, Travel

Mardi Gras beads. Why spend time writing a post about Mardi Gras beads? The answer is that Mardi Gras beads are more than just beads. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then you are among the unfortunate people who have never been to Mardi Gras. David and I have had the pleasure […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 24, 2018

Category: Life Outside of Work, Travel

Beads, Beads, good for the heart, to borrow a phrase, with apologies to all. But, seriously, having been on the receiving end of thousands of bead throws, it is hard to explain the excitement of catching, or trying to catch them – it gets competitive. Most people know that, in New Orleans at least, there […]

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Herman/Dad

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 19, 2018

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Growing Old is Not for Sissies, Life Outside of Work

Dad, aka Herman, was a road warrior throughout his career, even before that term existed! And, all of his career was spent trying to keep other road warriors safe. His first job, post college, was with the now extinct Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) – a Federal agency tasked with transportation law and safety. Dad recently […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 19, 2018

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Growing Old is Not for Sissies, Life Outside of Work

David’s dad is David’s dad, but to me, he is “MY Herman.” I am as fond of my father-in-law, Herman, as I am of my mother-in-law, Carole. This being said, My Herman and I have always had a special relationship. I share Herman’s love of barbeque, particularly ribs, and I have always appreciated his knowledge […]

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David Cassidy or Jimi Hendrix?

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 17, 2018

Category: Business personalities, Getting Through Life and Work, Life Outside of Work

At the time of this writing, David Cassidy has recently passed away. (For the reader who does not know who David Cassidy was, I urge you to use your computer search engine to find out.) David Cassidy was a singer and TV star who was, for many people, mostly teenaged girls, the embodiment of a […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 17, 2018

Category: Business personalities, Getting Through Life and Work, Life Outside of Work

Melissa does like it loud! Some of her favorite things are loud, including the Corvette she drove for many years. Both its engine and sound system were loud (the latter had to be to be heard over the engine of the former). She plays bass guitar, loud, and seeing/hearing loud rock & roll shows is […]

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Carole/Mom

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 12, 2018

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Growing Old is Not for Sissies, Life Outside of Work

The focus of this post is a brief reflection on my mother, Carole’s, well lived life, following a realization that it is important to consider who she really was throughout most of her life. (Her recent condition can taint those memories; see “Chicken Salad” post.) Born in Atlanta, mom moved to Jacksonville after my parents […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 12, 2018

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Growing Old is Not for Sissies, Life Outside of Work

As I have mentioned in several previous posts, David’s mother, Carole, was never just my mother-in-law. A mother-in-law, in my opinion, is merely the person who happens to be the mother of one’s spouse. When marrying someone, one gains a mother-in-law, as long as one’s spouse has a mother. Mothers-in-law come in all shapes and […]

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