30 Years

This year, 2023, marks 30 years since the beginning of Magnus Research Consultants, Inc. Melissa and I, along with another person who was a prospective partner in our venture, filed the articles of incorporation in July, 1993. (Quick digression, the other partner drifted out of the picture without becoming a partner.) At the time all 3 of us were working for another trial consulting firm, but the handwriting was on the wall; that situation was toxic and was not going to last. It didn’t and the situation exploded in late 1993, but we had our Magnus “parachute” in place and we received our first retainer check on December 17, 1993 (it is still in a frame on the wall today). Melissa and I thought working together would be fun, a good thing, productive. And, it has been. Certainly, we’ve had many ups and downs, many challenges, and always some curve balls to handle (like right now trying to get a client to retain us all the while the attorney and the “end client” are debating which of them should write the check). But, while it seems we have to work hard, on a daily basis, to keep the business alive, we have been successful for 30 years. And, I realize that is something noteworthy. We haven’t gotten rich, financially, but the life we have had working together has been rich in many ways. We’ve survived financial cycles, a pandemic, family lifecycles, and taken some killer vacations. Magnus has evolved with the times, changing where necessary, but not compromising our commitment to provide customized, client focused services. As a “boutique,” we are able to adapt to meet the needs of clients and their cases rapidly and specifically. We have never been a one size fits all business. So, as we approach July, and a true 30 year milestone, it is worth reflecting on something that seems hard to believe at times, that we’ve been on target and on track for 3 decades. Where has the time gone?

Many life events have taken place in the 30 years since David and I founded our company.  We have been fortunate in many ways, including the sudden departure of our third partner soon after we began working together as Magnus.  His legacy lives on in our name, but looking back, I realize it would have been disastrous to have him as our business partner.  We also “lucked out” at the beginning of Magnus, that we were unable to obtain financing from a bank or almost anyone, for that matter.  We had small financial commitments promised by 3 people who believed in us, which we opted not to take, forcing us to work extra hard in the early years of our business.  Both David and I learned, because we had to, how to balance taking care of our business with taking care of aged parents.  And, speaking of our parents, no one was more proud of David and me (well, mostly me) than my mom.  When she passed away, I found Magnus’ original brochure among her most treasured belongings.  This brochure was not technically a brochure; rather, it was photocopied pieces of paper describing our services that were placed inside a gray folder.  The note I wrote Mom saying “LOOK! This is Magnus’ new brochure!” was still attached to it.  We have come a long way since then; for example, for many years, our brochure has been electronic instead of paper.  Some people like to argue with me about whether the jury consulting business has changed in the 30 years since David and I founded Magnus, and in the 34 years I have been exclusively working in this industry, and to those people I say, “I sure hope so!” as it would be dreadfully boring if we were doing the same things now, in the same ways, as we did all those years ago. Onward and upward!

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