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.

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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Get Rhythm

I cannot imagine what my life would be like without music. I am lucky to have two, very cool, older brothers who are married to my two, very cool, sisters in law. From an early age, my brother, Frank, was a huge influence on my musical development. Frank and Sandy, my sister in law who […]

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I share Melissa’s love of music, but unlike her, I’m not sure why. As a young child, I tried playing piano and guitar – neither were a “fit” for me. I had more success playing a large brass instrument, a baritone horn, once known as a euphonium. But, that didn’t last long either. Being a […]

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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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Preparing for Cultural Immersion

In this final post in the series about David’s and my road trip to the Mississippi Delta, I will describe some of the things we did (well, mainly, I did these things) to prepare ourselves for immersion into a culture very different from our South Florida existence. As I mentioned in a previous post, one […]

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This post illustrates a significant difference in Melissa’s and my personalities.  Her level of preparation for trips such as this is much more than is mine.  Domestic, or international, this is the case.  I have always done my homework in life as well.  But, I am more interested in experiential and visual immersions when traveling. […]

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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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The Delta

The Mississippi Delta is one of the most unique places I have ever visited. Although I have been through the Delta many times, I had never, until 2016, spent much time there. For those who aren’t familiar with the Delta area, it is in the northwest part of the state, between the Mississippi and Yazoo […]

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The state of Mississippi is to be commended for recognizing and capitalizing on the relatively recent history of music, and civil rights, which exist within its borders. They have a color coded system of informational signs to denote places of importance in the world of blues, country and civil rights history. There is also a […]

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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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Po’ Monkey

During the summer of 2016, in July to be specific, David and I took a road trip to the Mississippi Delta. The purpose of our trip was to learn about, and experience first hand, blues music. As every serious fan of rock and roll music knows, and according to Muddy Waters, “The blues had a […]

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I had no idea what to expect when we ventured out on this Mississippi trip. I, too, read up a bit, but was still not sure. Melissa had done more research and her knowledge of the Blues is stronger because she has spent many years absorbing information while playing bass guitar. She has gained a […]

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