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.

Colossal Technology Failure

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On June 10, 2021

Category: Business Frustrations, Getting the Job Done, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Small Business Success, Workplace Technology

When you run a business, no matter the size, it is almost impossible to “do it all.” For Magnus, that means hiring someone with expertise to manage, process, and report things beyond my, or our, capabilities. A simple example is bookkeeping and accounting services. Another critical service is “Information Technology,” that is, IT. We have […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On June 10, 2021

Category: Business Frustrations, Getting the Job Done, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Small Business Success, Workplace Technology

The “colossal technology failure” was, in my opinion, a customer service failure.  The relationship of Magnus Research Consultants and its IT provider is a customer-vendor relationship, such that, as the IT’s provider’s customer, Magnus is entitled to have its concerns addressed.  This being said, in the almost 30 years Magnus has been in business, the […]

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Happy Roofers

On the day I am writing this post, David’s and my roof is in the third day of being removed, in preparation for a new roof to be installed. Although we have been through this process in the past, in 2005, when we lost the roof on our previous house during Hurricane Wilma, our current […]

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This whole re-roofing process has been an experience. The happy roofers part makes some of it into a positive one. I’ve never seen anything like it. The energy of these guys after 12 hours in the hot sun, on a roof, is inspiring. The work is incredibly hard. The materials are heavy, and what we […]

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Wardrobe Malfunction

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On June 3, 2021

Category: Business Travel, Careers, Getting the Job Done, Jury Research, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Magnus Research, RoadWarrior, Travel, Trial Consulting

The most famous wardrobe malfunction was in 2004 at the Super Bowl halftime show and involved Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. While it later became apparent that this was a planned incident, not a malfunction, it sure got the world’s attention. But, that is not what this post is about; it is about more mundane […]

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The recent loss of our employee’s pants is the latest in a long string of similar incidents among Magnus’ staff. We have experienced numerous wardrobe malfunctions, all of which are now rather humorous but which were, at the time they happened, pseudo crises, especially for the person with the malfunction. Here is a list of […]

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Hire a Great Attorney

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On June 1, 2021

Category: Business Relationships, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Small Business Success

Here is some free advice: When you, or someone close to you, is in serious trouble, legally speaking, hire a great attorney. This seems pretty straightforward, but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Hiring a great lawyer is different from hiring a good lawyer, or a lawyer who advertises on the nightly […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On June 1, 2021

Category: Business Relationships, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Small Business Success

Hiring an expert, a professional of any sort, has a degree of risk.  For finding and hiring plumbers and air conditioning businesses, there are resources like Yelp and Angi (formerly known as Angie’s List).  For lawyers, doctors, and trial consultants, these resources, including review based processes, are limited, or non-existent.   In the case of hiring […]

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High Anxiety

Magnus’ clients are attorneys involved in high stakes litigation. Whether they represent the plaintiff(s) or defendant(s), they are under a great deal of pressure to get the best result for their clients.  Even when they don’t show it, we know this is a high stress situation.  Putting together a mock jury research project is intense.  […]

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David’s title, “High Anxiety,” instantly reminded me of the 1977 Mel Brooks movie of the same name.  However, that’s where the similarity both begins and ends.  While Mel Brooks’ movie was a farcical comedy, Magnus’ cases are anything but comedic.  Many of our cases are tragic and all of them involve high stakes.  The attorneys […]

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The Major League

My family is a baseball family. My dad, the late Park T. Pigott, Sr. played baseball, coached baseball, and generally speaking, lived much of his life for baseball. I am not usually fond of sports analogies, however, recent experiences with clients of Magnus Research Consultants have reminded me of baseball. Almost all of Magnus’ clients […]

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This minor leaguer experience was one of the strangest situations we have had in years.  We had been, to keep up with the baseball analogy, “scouted” by the end client (that is the entity/person paying our bill).  Our ability to work with the lawyer was limited until that scouting was completed.  Admittedly, this process was […]

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Politics of Litigation

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On May 20, 2021

Category: Entrepreneurship, Getting the Job Done, Jury Consultants, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Magnus Research, Trial Consultants, Trial Consulting

Magnus is hired for many reasons. To evaluate the liability issues in the case. To assess the damages potential. To determine at whom to point fingers. To get a plaintiff to understand the realities of their case. To get a defendant to understand the realities of their case. Is it a case to try? Is […]

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The behind the scenes intrigue in many of our clients’ cases is often more important to our clients than the outcome of their jury research.  One of my all time favorite clients, now deceased, was a wonderful attorney who worked for a government agency.  Until he hired Magnus to work on several of his cases, […]

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Holiday Inn

I wish it were possible to know the number of Holiday Inns where I have stayed and the number of nights I have stayed in them. When my parents and I traveled across the “lower 48″ states in the United States, our hotel of choice was Holiday Inn. Often, we planned our itinerary around the […]

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It has been interesting to see the world adjust to a pandemic with microscopic particles scaring us all.  Not that we are staying at hotels frequently like we did pre-pandemic, but for business and family reasons, we have, I have, traveled a little in the pandemic times.  All hotel chains are making adjustments and taking […]

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Retainers

Call it a deposit; call it a retainer. Magnus doesn’t start work without one (except in rare circumstances beyond the scope of this post). We need money, we want money; importantly, other people want money. We learned, the hard way, that clients need to “show us the money.” One of our first cases blew up […]

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No one works for free.  By definition, work is performed in exchange for compensation.  (The obvious exceptions, such as slavery, human trafficking, etc., are beyond the scope of this post.)  The fact that one of the largest law firms in the U.S.A., as well as its client, one of the largest corporations in the world, […]

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Bystander apathy

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On May 11, 2021

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Giving Back, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Psychology

Why do some people help others in need while other people appear to ignore the suffering of another person? What factors make it likely that bystanders will intervene when a stranger is in obvious need of help, for example, while being attacked in a public place? What is the impact of other people on the […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On May 11, 2021

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Giving Back, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Psychology

I’d like to think I’m a helper in a situation that requires it.  I certainly take the time and make the effort to call police or EMS when I witness an accident or dangerous situation.  Melissa and I have also stopped to help when we have witnessed traffic accidents.  In the instance I’m thinking of, […]

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