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.

Say “Thank you!”

David and I have written about gratitude in previous posts. Some people are quick to say, “Thank you” when someone gives them a gift or does something nice, while other people rarely, if ever, show their appreciation. This post is prompted by a recent experience with someone with whom I have been acquainted for many […]

Continue Reading

I recall a fairly regular cause for a letter to “Dear Abby” or “Ann Landers” was the complaint that grandchildren never wrote thank you notes.  My Mom drilled that into me by buying special stationery to use for just such occasions.  And, doing so timely was expected.  It was always a bit difficult to me […]

Continue Reading

Ed Groot

Way back in 1993, Melissa and I first started contemplating opening our own trial consulting practice. Pretty soon, those discussions included a third individual, Ed Groot. The three of us were working for another trial consultant in what can simply be described as a toxic work environment. The three of us started planning what became […]

Continue Reading

I’m not sure why I was compelled to search for Ed Groot on my computer today, but something kept nagging me to do it.  I immediately came across his obituary and read that he passed away on November 30, 2020.  He would have been 80 years old on January 2, 2021.  When David and I […]

Continue Reading

Chris

Hooray for Chris! Chris is Chris Cochran, my dear friend since 1967. I still remember the day Chris and I met, in my back yard, by my trampoline, in the summer of 1967. Thank you, Roger, for introducing us! Chris was my neighbor for a few, all too short, years. One of our first bonding […]

Continue Reading

I’ve met many of Melissa’s friends over the decades we’ve been together, but I think Chris was one of the first ones I’ve met.  We got off to a good start when we me.  Though he and Melissa had known each other for many years, he seemed very familiar to me.  Lots of shared interests […]

Continue Reading

Entrepreneurial Addiction

It is well known that gamblers must occasionally win in order to keep playing their games. The easiest example is that slot machines are programmed to give back a penny or a quarter based on some number of pulls of the handle (or, push of the button). I was thinking about this phenomenon recently when […]

Continue Reading

Interestingly to me, both David and I wrote this post on December 17, 2020, the anniversary of our first retainer check.  Although David and I are in two different cities today, we must both be thinking of Magnus’ beginnings and the hope we had for our continued success.  As anyone who knows me will verify, […]

Continue Reading

Listen as Much as, or More Than, You Talk

Sometimes, these posts almost write themselves. This is one of those times. I am a regular reader of advice columnists in newspapers. (Yes, I still read newspapers, several, in fact, on a daily basis.) “Dear Abby” recently provided some sage advice that included a suggestion for the reader to “listen as much as you talk.” […]

Continue Reading

To borrow from Alex Lifeson of Rush – “Blah blah blah.  Blah blah blah, blah, blah, blah.”  Some of you may recognize this from Alex’s speech following Rush’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  It was an amazing thing to hear and watch – because one could, or at least I could, […]

Continue Reading

A crash course on elder care

For Melissa and me, our crash course on elder care started about 20 years ago, so I think we are beyond the crash course part. We’ve been engaged in learning about elder care constantly, starting when Melissa, and her brother Frank, noticed some changes in their mother’s routine behaviors. I know many people who are […]

Continue Reading

Since my mom began showing obvious (at least, to me) signs of dementia almost 20 years ago, I decided to learn everything I could about dementia, in its various forms.  Many people, upon noticing that “something just isn’t right” about their loved one, try their best to ignore the signs of dementia, in a misguided […]

Continue Reading

When is the Last Time You Learned Something?

One of the strangest objections I have heard, relatively often, during my career as a jury/trial/litigation consultant goes something like this: “Well, I have been a VERY successful trial lawyer for many, many years and I have never, ever, hired a trial consultant. What in the world could I possibly learn from you, or another […]

Continue Reading

This phenomenon exists in many contexts, but given that Melissa and I have spent decades working with attorneys, it hits us from time to time, right between the eyes.  One of my college professors told me that a sign of intelligence is knowing what you don’t know.  I think about this whenever I hear the […]

Continue Reading

I’ll ask my parents

One source of material for these posts over the years has been the things Melissa and I have heard from employees that took us by surprise. This one is among my favorites, after the fact. We usually hire recent college graduates for our Research Associate position. Many years ago, we hired a typical, fresh from […]

Continue Reading

Many people have asked me if I have any kids.  I don’t know why they ask this personal question, but I always respond with, “Yes, I have had between 40 and 50 kids; they are of were my employees.”  As David said, recent college graduates have been Magnus’ Research Associates since we founded Magnus in […]

Continue Reading

Dancing in the Rain

My friend, Diana, gave me a lovely plaque with the following quote: “Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about dancing in the rain.” I placed this plaque in an area in my home where I see it multiple times a day. I often pause to reflect upon the meaning of this saying, […]

Continue Reading

We’ve all sure had more than our share of rain this year.  Literally and figuratively.  Thinking of the literal type, we’ve had storms, with and without names in a long time.  Hawaiians have 200 words for rain – and different types of rain.  Jake Shimabukuru, ukelele player extraordinaire, talked about them at a concert we […]

Continue Reading

When things don’t make sense: 28 days off

The work we do as trial consultants requires us to work closely with our attorney clients for several weeks or months, or even years. Clients are typically respectful and courteous. But, as we have written before, there are a few outliers – clients who abuse everyone around them, including us. We have had a few […]

Continue Reading

One of the most interesting aspects in my career as a jury consultant is unrelated to the expertise I provide to my clients on things such as trial strategy, jury selection, and witness preparation.  This interesting aspect of my job happens when my clients, all of whom are educated and intelligent attorneys, forget I am, […]

Continue Reading

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes