About this blog

After more than 25 years operating a trial consulting practice together as co-founding partners of Magnus Research Consultants, Inc. and Magnus Graphics, Inc., and more than 30 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.

Whistleblowing isn’t easy

Much has been in the news lately about people blowing whistles on allegations of corruption and abuse. Without discussing these specific situations, I want to address the act of sounding an alarm, or blowing a whistle. I have written something on this previously, but it warrants revisiting. I will start by saying that, if you […]

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To the uninitiated, whistle blower means the same thing as tattletale.  In fact, dictionary definitions of both terms list them as synonyms, along with others, such as betrayer, informant, nark, rat fink, and snitch.  In my view, there are different circumstances that lead to the characterization of people who “tell on” others.  For example, in […]

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Pro bono work – why do it

In the almost 30 years David and I have owned and operated Magnus Research Consultants, we have been privileged to work on several high profile pro bono cases. Pro bono means “for the public good” and it is usually performed by attorneys for free, that is, at no cost to their clients. Many lawyers are […]

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The pro bono cases on which we’ve worked have been some of the most personally rewarding cases we have handled.  While the intellectual rewards of the work we do are often felt, in these cases, it has been something special.  The cases have been unique, cases with questions no one has had to answer previously, […]

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Social Media Monitoring doesn’t end when the jury is seated

Background checks conducted of prospective jurors are becoming, or should be becoming, routine. We’ve written about this before, see http://magnusinsights.com/2019/01/juror-background-checks/. Though there are some constraints on these practices imposed by courts and each state’s bar rules, they are here to stay. When I say “background checks,” I am referring to searches of both public information […]

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I spoke with an attorney not long ago who told me that, if he were a judge, no one would be permitted to perform social media searches or background checks of prospective jurors.  It’s a good thing he is not a judge because the judges who preside over the court cases in which I am […]

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No one hires me for a happy event

Just as none of Magnus’ clients retain us for easy cases, none of our clients retain us for anything remotely happy. In order for Magnus to become involved with an attorney and his/her client, something terrible has happened. We have worked on cases involving tragic deaths, including murder and multiple fatalities in accidents; horrific burns; […]

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My mother once asked why I didn’t make a calendar of nice things instead of courthouses (which I did for 20 years).  She said she thinks only bad things happen in courthouses.  We then had a discussion about the good things that happen there such as weddings, and, most importantly, people seeking and getting justice.  […]

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Magic Bullets

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 2, 2020

Category: Getting the Job Done, Jury Behavior, Jury Consultants, Litigation Tips, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Psychology, Trial Consultants, Trial Consulting

I recently read an article about a “brand new, state of the art jury selection program to bring data science to jury selection.” That is not a direct quote, but a synopsis of the news story I read about the program. (Disclaimer: I don’t really know anything about this program other than what was in […]

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A well respected attorney with whom I have been acquainted for almost 30 years alerted me to this latest attempt to make jury selection easy enough for a trained monkey to perform.  Please do not think I am, in any way, disparaging monkeys.  I have nothing against monkeys, but I do have something against humans […]

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If someone isn’t nice to me, they won’t see me again, ever.

My time is valuable. It is valuable to me, if not to anyone else. (In that Magnus’ clients compensate my company, and thus, me, in relatively high amounts of money, I would argue that my time is perceived as valuable to someone other than me. But, I digress.) Because I value my time and my […]

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Fortunately, as we wrote in the prior related post, our clients are usually nice, professional, even kind and friendly.  We all know we’re working together for a common goal and egos usually stay in check.  But, there are exceptions. I used the example of a particularly toxic client we once had who, with our help, […]

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Hospitality

This post is about hospitality. Not the at home type, I think we’ve covered that before; but rather, the industry type. As trial consultants, we are road warriors. I don’t know how many nights we spend away from home, but I once calculated that Melissa, Melissa and I, or I, by myself, spent 75 nights […]

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Because my personal and work lives lack routine and involve many unknowns, I find it comforting to stay in the same hotels when I travel to certain cities.  In my hometown of Fort Myers, Florida, my “hotel” used to be my childhood home until 2010, when it was sold after my mother’s passing in 2009.  […]

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Most lawyers who hire me are nice to me

People are people, regardless of their profession. There are some people who are popular and well liked and there are others who are not well liked. Attorneys, of course, are people and, as such, there are some attorneys who are well liked and well respected by their colleagues and then, there are others, whom no […]

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Many of our clients are feared by their opponents, and sometimes, their own staff and litigation team.  I don’t know if the latter is a good thing, but I’ve seen it as an overall positive.  Being feared by the opposition is probably generally positive as long as the fear is because the attorney’s litigation skills […]

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The Joy of Photography, Part 2

Picking up where I left off about the joy of photography, there are at least 2 more, somewhat related, primary sources of joy in photography. The first is in taking the photos. As an aside, it is interesting to me that different terms are used for this part of photography – “taking a photograph” and […]

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Recently, David and I went on a “dream vacation” to Great Britain, the land of The Beatles, with two longtime friends.  All of us shared photos with each other, resulting in over 10,000 photos among us!  While David took professional quality photos with real (and real expensive) cameras, the rest of us busied ourselves taking […]

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Why I like spending time with lawyers

Many people, including mock jurors and other research participants, courthouse personnel, friends, and attorneys, ask me if I am an attorney. Invariably, when this happens, I am wearing a dark, conservative business suit, the attire preferred by many attorneys with whom I am acquainted. I always answer, “No, I am not an attorney. I am […]

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I share Melissa’s enjoyment of working with attorneys and on their challenging cases.  We’ve written before about the intellectual stimulation of doing so.  Neither of us grew up in a family of lawyers, as many of our clients did, but we grew up with a familiarity with lawyers, law enforcement (me), and courthouses (Melissa).  Either […]

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