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.

Do the Right Thing

Do the right thing. It seems both easy and obvious, but it has been my experience that doing the right thing is, for many people, neither easy nor obvious. David and I have recently experienced the passing of several people we know. One person was a dear friend for many years; one was the step-father […]

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I find it surprising that doing the right thing doesn’t come naturally to everyone. This surprise makes me realize that my parents taught some fundamental concepts to my brothers and me which transcend many situations. The right things Melissa described just seemed “necessary” to us – we did them knowing that the thing we did […]

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Gone Fishin’

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On July 18, 2019

Category: Entrepreneurship, Getting the Job Done, Magnus, Magnus Research, Marketing your Business, Small Business Success, Trial Consultants

I recently went fishing – but without a fishing pole. It was a marketing trip and somehow, the analogy of marketing and fishing clicked for me. There are many forms of marketing, including advertising; direct sales calls on the phone, via email, or in person; and, increasingly, via the internet or social media. As entrepreneurs, […]

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David’s fishing analogy is a funny one! Unlike David, I neither fish nor hunt, however, I do appreciate his attempt to portray his hard work of marketing for Magnus as similar to fishing. In my part of this post, I will continue to use David’s fishing analogy to describe what we, at Magnus, do when […]

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Strangers always talk to me

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On July 16, 2019

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Jury Consultants, Life Outside of Work, Psychology, Trial Consultants, Work-Life

There is something about me that makes strangers talk to me. I can be just about anywhere, minding my own business, not making eye contact with anyone, when, all of a sudden, someone strikes up a conversation with me. I recently had lunch with a client and, when we were leaving the restaurant and walking […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On July 16, 2019

Category: Getting Through Life and Work, Jury Consultants, Life Outside of Work, Psychology, Trial Consultants, Work-Life

I’ve seen this happen, including the Santa incident in Sydney. He had with him Mrs. Santa, and a human size Christmas tree, but it was the “Bad Santa” who paused in greeting people in the market we were visiting to make suggestive comments to Melissa. Another incident I will never forget was a long time […]

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Confirmation Bias, Part 2

In thinking about my prior post on confirmation bias, I thought about one aspect of being hired as a professional trial consultant. It happens that I recently saw an announcement of a bar association seminar on do it yourself (DIY) mock trials. I know that mock trials are often expensive when conducted by a qualified […]

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I’ll begin my part of this topic by saying that, if social psychologists, who study confirmatory bias and are, therefore, presumed to be experts on it, are subject to confirmation bias in their decision making, then almost anyone can engage in this type of biased information processing. Attorneys may be more educated and more intelligent […]

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The day after a research day is not a holiday

Conducting mock jury or focus group research is hard work. I am the first to admit this. After working as a jury/trial consultant for 30 years, I know everyone who works with Magnus does a great job, for long hours, in difficult environments, with demanding clients. I get it. I really do. I am right […]

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It is interesting, and often frustrating, working with new hires whose perspectives on work have been formed in less demanding environments, if they have even worked in a professional environment. The day(s) after research are critical for assimilating the data collected, the videos uploaded, and addressing client concerns which emerged on the research day. As […]

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Confirmation Bias, Part 1

I read an article recently about confirmation bias and how it negatively impacts social science research and progress. Confirmation bias is “the tendency to seek, interpret, and create information in ways that verify existing beliefs.” (Brehm & Kassin, Social Psychology, 1989. Which is, coincidentally, a textbook for which Melissa co-authored the Instructor’s Manual and Study […]

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David’s post is interesting to me in two regards. First, it is interesting that David, and not I, chose a topic related to my background as a social psychologist. Second, it is interesting that David focused his post on confirmation bias in social science research. Recently, the media have frequently mentioned confirmation bias, as if […]

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Travel to maximize office/work time

The late Wayne Huizenga, who founded several major corporations and owned several professional sports teams, was quoted in a news article many years ago as endorsing the view that he and his employees traveled on business during the time most people are home, spending time with their families. For Mr. Huizenga, it was more important […]

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There is certainly a balance in scheduling work and work travel to meet the clients’ needs. Without imposing on our employees’ personal time or incurring too much expense related to overtime work, the clients’ needs must come first. And, one thing, I suspect, is not taught at law school is that the life of a […]

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It’s all Marketing

I will admit, I probably have a bias. Both my undergraduate and graduate business degrees had a strong emphasis on marketing. Therefore, in the context of operating a small business, I am cognizant of details that create impressions. As a result, it seems to me that almost everything done in a business is marketing. The […]

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David is right. It’s all marketing. From the manner in which the telephone is answered, to the style of written communication used in an email, to the attire worn in the courtroom (or research facility, during a mock trial), to a brochure, to a website, to the report of research findings prepared for a client, […]

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Dress for Success

In the 1980s, “Dress for Success” was in vogue for people (although, it seems, primarily women) who wanted to achieve status in the world of business. There were books about how to dress for success, as well as seminars and other related products. My (then) employer enrolled me, along with other female executives, in a […]

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Reflecting on the attire of past job candidates who showed their inability to dress for success at their interviews is telling. There was the heavyset young man who showed up for his job interview wearing a shirt (partly untucked), tie and dress slacks, sweating profusely. Okay, it is Florida, and it was hot, but the […]

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Jury Consultants Are Not Just for Jury Trials

In the vein of prior posts, this is an attempt to clarify another misconception about what we do as trial or jury consultants. Usually in the context of an introduction, I hear what might be called “sales objections.” There are varieties of these objections, but one is this, if introduced as a “jury consultant” I […]

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I prefer the term, “litigation consultant” to other terms more frequently used to describe the kind of work I perform. When I am asked what I do for a living, I rarely say I am a “jury consultant” or a “trial consultant.” Few laypersons know the meaning of any of these expressions and surprisingly, some […]

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