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.

Different Direction

Last week I got a call from a paralegal who asked me to provide a proposal for a mock trial for a commercial case.  She told me that, although she’d been a paralegal for 25 years, she had never shopped for a trial consultant.  I walked her through the process, provided her with information on […]

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If you think about it, and I certainly have, “We are moving in a different direction” or “We are moving in another direction” is meaningless drivel.  This statement has somehow become common when it comes to rejecting job applicants, consultants’ proposals, and people, in general.  In preparing for my part of David’s post, I have […]

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Carole’s rock collection

The recent passing of David’s dear mother, Carole, has brought to the surface many fond memories of her. In preparing for her memorial service, David’s brother, Dale, asked me to review the beautiful eulogy he wrote. In addition, David asked me to send some of my favorite stories about his mother to the pastor who […]

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I will admit that I was not thrilled about loading and unloading a couple hundred rocks, but it was clear that the rocks were meaningful to Mom and Melissa and I had a great place to put them, so off to U-Haul I went.  When my parents downsized, or rather, each time they downsized, we […]

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Ghosting

Ghosting. This is a relatively new term used to indicate what might otherwise be called “radio silence,” that is, a loss of communications. Despite the many ways we can now communicate, via email, text, direct messaging, “zoom” calls, or even the good old phone or maybe “snail” mail, it amazes me that we often end […]

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Ghosting is rude, unprofessional, and, when it comes to friends and family, mean.  I have been ghosted on several occasions, by long time friends who chose to cut me out of their lives for unknown reasons.  One of these friends remained out of touch for about 20 years, another, for 7 years, and another, 6 […]

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No One Has Ever Said They Wish Their Jury Research Had Been Later

In almost 30 years of owning and operating Magnus Research Consultants, David and I have been fortunate to have few complaints from clients. When there have been complaints, they have been of the following type: (1) “Your report is too long and comprehensive; it took too long for me to read”; (2) ”The charts summarizing […]

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This topic is salient because I had the discussion again recently, “What is your lead time for conducting research? My client wants to put it off as long as possible, because maybe they can settle…”  I patiently explained that the ramp up period, once we’ve provided a proposal, agreed on the research design, gotten approval […]

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Mercy of the Court

Twice this week, when talking with clients, or prospective clients, I’ve been told they are waiting on the judge to do something. The language they used was “I’m at the mercy of the court.” Their lamentations are painful reminders of the nature of our work. Often the idea of “mercy of the court” is mentioned, […]

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“I’m at the mercy of…” usually means one is powerless to protect oneself from someone or something.  When attorneys tell David and me they are at the mercy of the Court, this expression doesn’t have the same ominous meaning that it does in other contexts.  Often, attorneys mention being at the Court’s mercy as a […]

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Party Hats

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 9, 2021

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Life Outside of Work, Mental Health, Psychology, Work-Life

Party hats! Party hats say “PARTY!” like nothing else does. In fact, party hats are essential for turning a boring celebration into something fun. Recently, my eldest brother, Park, celebrated a milestone birthday and most of our family came together to attend his party. Park’s youngest son, Slade, and I spent many hours on the […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 9, 2021

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Life Outside of Work, Mental Health, Psychology, Work-Life

I’m not particularly fond of conical paper hats, aka party hats, but I certainly don’t want to be a party pooper.  It is interesting to me that such things as party hats are a shared aspect of celebrations across cultures.  There are probably anthropologists or sociologists who study such things.  And, while I haven’t really […]

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Juggling

I shot a photograph of a juggler a couple years ago when I was wandering the streets of New York City while there to work on a client’s case. My eye was drawn to the colorful balls flying in the air so I walked toward the area behind the main NYC library. Turns out, several […]

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Most people have a difficult time “walking in someone else’s shoes.”  We live our daily lives, caught up in dealing with our personal issues, rarely giving much thought to what other people are going through.  David and I have a dear friend who, for as long as we have known her, has been battling a […]

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Mama’s boy

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 2, 2021

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

I am writing this post several days after the passing of David’s mother, Carole. Although David’s brothers are saddened because of their mother’s death (even though, in most respects, it was an expected consequence of her dementia), David has suffered immensely. David is the quintessential “Mama’s boy.” And I say this in every good way. […]

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Being a “mama’s boy” sometimes has a derogatory connotation.  I have known some for whom that was appropriate.  But, I guess my evolution that way came from two realities of childhood.  First, my Dad traveled for his job.  A lot!  I can only imagine that he drove millions of miles across Florida, Georgia and beyond […]

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Be Free

A number of Melissa’s and my prior posts have discussed aging parents, dealing with dementia, being a caregiver, and the like. Because we’re sharing our journey, I’m writing to report the end of a portion of that journey with the recent passing of my Mom. Melissa has written about this from a different perspective; my […]

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I keep hearing Martin Luther King, Jr. saying “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we’re free at last” as I reflect upon Carole’s passing.  If one is a spiritual person, one usually believes the soul of good people go to heaven (or a similar place, according to one’s religion) when they pass […]

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Ok Boomer

I have written in previous posts about my experiences with sexism, including the bias that has been expressed toward me as a female bass guitar player. As I have stated, sexism is alive, but not well. I have also mentioned social psychological research on racism and racial prejudice and the negative impact these forms of […]

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It is interesting to think about “Ok Boomer” in the concept of discrimination.  Certainly, sometimes it is said in a joking way, light heartedly, but there is an underlying dismissal of the boomer in saying it no matter how funny the speaker thinks it is.  And, of course, sometimes it is not said in jest.  […]

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