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.

The Problem With This Case is the Client.

An attorney client of ours recently told Melissa that his client is a problem. He said, “the problem with this case is my client.” He was pretty direct, but we’ve heard this, or some variation thereof, countless times. In this case, the client is wealthy (and accustomed to getting his way as a result). He’s […]

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I often wonder if  “problem clients” know their attorney considers them to be a problem.  Or, are they demanding, arrogant, and self centered to the point they have no idea of the impact they have on other people?  Many times, the end client (defined as one of the primary parties in the lawsuit, that is, […]

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Magnus’ Women Power

In the almost 30 years that David and I have co-owned Magnus Research Consultants, we have employed many people of both sexes. We have had several long term employees, 2 of whom are men and 2 of whom are women. In addition, there have been 3 women who are former Magnus employees who have gone […]

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On the day I started writing this post, Melissa was wearing a pink t-shirt that said “Pretty Good for a Girl.”  I bought it for her at a Mindi Abair jazz concert.  Mindi has a song by that title because it is a phrase she’s heard many times over her career.  She decided to embrace […]

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Old School Tech

I recently read an article about the executive director of a professional association who uses an IBM typewriter to send notes to members. He said he liked using a typewriter to personalize the notes. I thought it was pretty cool to use old school technology so effectively. I could never afford an IBM typewriter, those […]

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David and I have written about our fondness for “old school” things in several previous posts.  Although I never owned a typewriter, nor am I a good typist, I appreciate David’s fondness for his trusty old typewriter.  It comes in handy when he makes labels for files in our personal filing cabinet.  I remember David’s […]

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Fix it as Soon as it Breaks

I am an ardent fan of the maxim, “fix it as soon as it breaks.” I have never known anything that fixed itself, whether it is a leaky faucet, a flat tire (or tyre, on all the British cars I have owned), or a faulty electrical outlet. Admittedly, I am not good at fixing things. […]

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Homeownership seems to involve an endless “to do” list.  There is always something to do.  Sometimes, the to dos are small items, easy to resolve.  Sometimes, expertise is required, or at least more expertise than I possess.  Or strength – some fixes take more expertise and muscle than I have, or any one person has.  […]

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Commercial Litigation: Benefits of a Trial Consultant, Part 3

In the 3rd post in the commercial litigation series, I want to bring some points together. We’ve discussed that executives are accustomed to being in charge, to being the “boss,” and that as litigants, it is often frustrating for them not to be. Also discussed is the fact their perspective may not align with decision […]

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When executives make important business decisions, they must have all available data in order to make the correct decision.  When making the correct decision has an impact on the company’s bottom line, it is imperative to assess every nuance that could impact the company’s future.  In the world of litigation, the bottom line of a […]

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These Boots Will Last the Rest of My Life

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On May 10, 2022

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

In preparation for an upcoming trip to Alaska (to be taken as a delayed 60th birthday celebration for David), I recently bought some Birkenstock boots. I am a huge fan of Birkenstock, having owned many pairs of their sandals and one pair of shoes over the years, but I had never considered buying this brand […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On May 10, 2022

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

I’m not sure the shoe store owner did himself any favors.  One and done is not a good way to encourage repeat customers.  Of course, in South Florida, most of his shoppers buy Birkenstock sandals, not boots.  I don’t know how long my current boots will last, but I suspect another pair is in my […]

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Commercial Litigation: Benefits of a Trial Consultant, Part 2

This is part 2 of the benefits of a jury or trial consultant in commercial litigation. As noted in the prior post, in commercial litigation, high powered people are often involved. We have been involved in many cases in which these parties were “out for blood.” Even though the cases were “only about money,” the […]

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Magnus has worked on numerous commercial cases in which things between or among the parties became personal.  Some people wrongly believe that, because commercial cases are mostly about money (as opposed to compensating someone for an injury), they are boring and impersonal.  This belief is a misconception because, although commercial cases involve a plaintiff suing […]

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If You Don’t Have a Ph.D In Psychology Don’t Presume to Understand Human Nature

I have written about the phenomenon of people who have no education, training, or expertise in psychology who think they know as much about human behavior as I, a psychologist, know. I am frequently asked for my opinion about someone or something, only to be told, “Well, I don’t have a degree in psychology, but […]

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Knowing what you don’t know or knowing that you don’t know are important skills for getting through a career, or life.  An economics professor once pointed this out to me when I remarked that I felt, despite having earned highest grade on a test in his class, there was so much I didn’t know about […]

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Commercial Litigation: Benefits of a Trial Consultant, Part 1

I had a conversation with a friend/client recently. He previously hired us in a personal injury case, but now works in a firm that does mostly commercial litigation. The question arose about what we, at Magnus, do in commercial cases. I explained that a high percentage of our cases are commercial cases. Sometimes, clients or […]

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I have worked with many witnesses during my career.  As with many things in life, my first experience is memorable.  The case was a high profile case in my hometown and the key witness was the owner of a well known and well respected corporation.  Both the corporation and its owner were defendants in the […]

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Why Do People Talk about Weather?

Why do people often talk about the weather? I will admit being guilty of this type of mind numbing discussion, but nonetheless, I have always found it to be an odd topic. Maybe it’s an ice breaker or a way to ease into a more meaningful discussion. I realize that, sometimes, it is important to […]

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I admit to using weather as an ice breaker especially, in the winter when talking with folks in cold climates.  I feel a bit smug.  Of course, they turn it around on me when the weather is hot in South Florida with nearly 100% humidity.  But, beyond ice breakers (which sounds weather related in itself), […]

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