Working as a trial consultant has many unique factors that keep our lives interesting, and sometimes, frustrating. One factor is the time between when we are called on a case and when we actually do our work, such as a mock trial, and when that case goes to trial. I sometimes have attorneys ask me when they should call us about a case. My answer is EARLY. Call, put it on my radar and I’ll try to keep track of the case’s progress to know when it is ready for research. As I wrote this post, I thought of one of the “prize winners” which took 10 years to ripen. (In so doing, the band 10 Years After came to mind because it was 10 years after we were first contacted. Alvin Lee and this band had some early 1970s hits like “I’d Love to Change the World.”) It took 10 years because the case was contentious, with multiple appeals by both sides that delayed everything. During that time, I’d occasionally contact the attorney for updates. In fact, we worked on other cases with that attorney while the one in question lingered. I remember that scenario often because it seemed strange. Yet, I’ve learned that many cases linger for years with post verdict appeals. The fact that there were 10 years of pre-trial appeals remains somewhat of an anomaly. Many things change in 10 years, including our pricing. But, this was a big case and it supported the expenditure. That experience taught me about keeping up with clients and the long life of many cases. I’m sure that the litigants were stressed more than normal by the delays, and that is a perspective for us, and the lawyers, to remember. In the end, it is better for us to have a case on our pending list and wait for it to come to fruition, than it is to get last minute surprises. Ultimately, that is the message behind this post.
David does an excellent job of following up with Magnus’ clients. Some people would be offended by the “radio silence” that usually happens between when a client contacts us about a potential case and when he or she decides to retain us. Not David. David calls, then calls again and again, emails, then emails again and again, until finally the client says “Okay, we are ready to conduct mock trials,” moving forward to schedule a date, or “No, we decided not to retain your firm,” with reasons of a varied nature. David understands the life cycle of litigation, the personality of litigators and insurance adjusters, and he seems to know when the time is right to ask them if they are ready to proceed. I agree 10 years is a long time between case intake and conducting research and I certainly hope this is the record delay we will ever experience. There are many reasons why clients fail to return David’s calls or reply to his emails. These reasons range from being extremely busy to general rudeness. Nonetheless, if David had thin skin, became insulted when he was ignored, or did anything other than persevere, Magnus would lose many opportunities to provide our excellent services to attorneys and their clients throughout the U.S.A.