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.

Ask Me a Question, then LISTEN to My Answer

Recently, I have had several experiences in which someone asked me one or more questions, then constantly interrupted me while I attempted to answer the question(s). This has happened more times than I can count, however, it happened several times in the period of a few days, both in business and personal situations. One of […]

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I think part of the listening dilemma is an occupational hazard. Our clients are mostly attorneys and attorneys are paid to talk. Listening seems more difficult for some, not all, of them. This manifests itself during jury selection when some seem to have difficulty actively listening to the responses to the questions they are asking. […]

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Trial Consultant as Secret Weapons

Over the years Melissa and I have been working as trial consultants, we have often been called “a secret weapon” numerous times. In reality, the fact that we, or any trial consultant, is working on a case, at least in conducting pre-trial research, preparing witnesses and the like, is secret. It is confidential attorney work […]

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It is interesting for me to be frequently called a “secret weapon” by my clients. As long time readers of David’s and my posts know, the client who utilized Magnus’ services most effectively is Kim Hart, from my hometown, Fort Myers, Florida. Kim Hart “gets it,” he really does. He, along with many other of […]

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In appreciation of Rats

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 8, 2019

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Getting the Job Done, Psychology

I am among the psychologists whose education included taking a class in experimental psychology, specifically, animal learning. The basic premise of this class was, after being assigned to a rat, training the rat in all sorts of classical and instrumental conditioning paradigms. (Classical conditioning is when a stimulus is presented to elicit a response. Instrumental […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 8, 2019

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Getting the Job Done, Psychology

While I’ll agree lab rats, and often other animals, serve a worthwhile purpose, I don’t share Melissa’s fondness for them. I particularly dislike rats and other critters that enter our human world uninvited. Especially the ones that get in the house, seen or unseen, and scurry about. A recent dead rat lodged in the engine […]

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Talk to the Boss

Many years ago when we were first starting Magnus, we learned a lesson, the hard way, about trusting clients, even prior clients, or their associates, when making research plans. We met with a client from our prior employer, at his request, and we came up a research plan for one of his cases. After the […]

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“Talk to the boss” was an early, and painful, lesson learned in the early days of Magnus Research Consultants. Related to this learning experience was the realization that, when a client says, “The check is in the mail” or something similar, the check might not actually be in the mail (or sent via overnight delivery […]

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Sunsets

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 1, 2019

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Life Outside of Work, Magnus, Magnus Research, Mental Health, Travel, Uncategorized, Work-Life

I was born, and grew up in, Fort Myers, Florida, located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Watching the sun set over the Caloosahatchee or the Gulf of Mexico was a huge part of my existence as a child. I have had the fortunate experience of watching sunsets in all 50 states in […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 1, 2019

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Life Outside of Work, Magnus, Magnus Research, Mental Health, Travel, Uncategorized, Work-Life

I love the colors of sunsets. And I love that you don’t have to get up before sunrise to experience a sunset – I’m not that much of an early bird! Some of the first photos I ever took were of sunsets as viewed across the St. Johns River, a few minutes walk from my […]

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Lawyers on the Move

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 26, 2019

Category: Careers, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Getting the Job Done, Getting Through Life and Work, Jury Consultants, Managing Employees

Having “chased” lawyers as clients for nearly 30 years I’ve observed something that I find interesting. As a whole, lawyers move around, from firm to firm, with some regularity. Because they stay within their chosen profession of law, their career mobility is primarily among firms. From their own firm, to merging with another firm, starting […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 26, 2019

Category: Careers, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Getting the Job Done, Getting Through Life and Work, Jury Consultants, Managing Employees

Although, in many professions, people don’t spend their entire career in one workplace, working for one employer, lawyers seem to move from firm to firm more than many other professionals do. I don’t know the reasons for this, but I expect they fall into the usual categories: (1) increased compensation at a new firm; (2) […]

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The Hosts Should Have Fun, Too!

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 24, 2019

Category: Common Courtesy, Getting Through Life and Work, Life Outside of Work, Work-Life

David and I host a lot of people in our home. We have frequent dinner guests, parties, and overnight/weekend visitors. Until she passed away, my mother was, for many years, our most frequent visitor and the person who stayed with us for the longest period of time on each visit. As hosts, David and I […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 24, 2019

Category: Common Courtesy, Getting Through Life and Work, Life Outside of Work, Work-Life

We have had our share of guests whose interests and happiness were exclusively their own. But, we learn our lessons quickly and they are typically one time guests. The positive experiences with visitors occur when everyone is in tune with each other. Living in south Florida, we have many choices of things to do and […]

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“What’s the next case going to be?”

Glass laminates, carpet glue, yacht paint, windshield wiper technology, medical negligence, accounting malpractice, legal malpractice, burns, brain damaged babies, dog bites, hurricane damage – to coffee, hurricane building damage, construction defects, government taking of land (eminent domain), murder, rape, cruise ship based crimes, cruise ship excursions gone wrong, toxic chemicals, environmental damage, celebrities accused of […]

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As the old saying goes, “been there, done that.” There are probably some types of lawsuits on which I have not consulted, but right now, I can’t think of one! A potential client asked me recently if I’d ever worked on: (1) a big case; (2) a professional malpractice case; or (3) a securities case. […]

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Hiring an Unqualified Consultant is Like…

As I write this, David is attending a series of out of town marketing meetings. David is meeting with clients, as well as with prospective clients, in the never ending task of obtaining new business for Magnus. Even though my career is nothing new and I have been working in the field of litigation consulting […]

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This topic is a bit of a recurring one for us, in some variation. For a number of reasons, our profession has been under appreciated regarding what it means to be a qualified professional. Though many professions require credentials, qualifications, licenses, and tests, ours does not. This leaves the customer to sometimes buy from less […]

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The Price of a Vacation

What is the cost of a vacation? I’m not referring to the cost of airplane tickets, the hotel, the cruise, the meals, activities, etc. I mean the less obvious costs. As I write this, I have just spent 2 days, well, maybe 1½, in a crunch time mode ensuring that all client work is under […]

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David wrote his part of this post before our fantastic vacation to the land of The Beatles, while I am writing my part after our return home. We had a wonderful vacation; it was the trip of a lifetime and a dream come true! Getting ready for it, as well as recovering from it, however, […]

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