Archive | Business Frustrations

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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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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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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Have Brain-Will Travel

“Have Gun-Will Travel” was a Western radio and TV series starring Richard Boone that was broadcast from 1957 to 1963. The lead character was named Paladin; he was a gunfighter who traveled around the old west while working for people who needed his help solving their problems. Paladin charged a lot of money for his […]

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Many jobs require a lot of “stuff.” The tools of many professions such as Melissa’s, however, require a sharp, focused mind, and little else. A pen and paper for note taking are probably the minimum in these occupations. However, despite the fact that Magnus is essentially paid for brainpower, certain aspects of the work we […]

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Trial Consultants Are Not Just for Trials

It happened again. I am introduced to a new, prospective client, a lawyer at a very large firm – one with a nationwide presence, hundreds of lawyers, and many offices. This is the kind of attorney whom I assume understands the concept of what a trial consultant does. But, no. I send an email introduction […]

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There are many people who believe they know more than they, in reality, actually know. Prospective clients who presume to know more than I know about the field in which I have been employed for the past 30 years are, in my opinion, rarely going to become Magnus clients. The misnomer “trial consultant” notwithstanding, it […]

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Can Do

“Can Do” is one of my mantras. I adopted it from Claudia Taylor Johnson, more commonly known as “Lady Bird” Johnson, the wife of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Lady Bird Johnson was our First Lady from 1963 to 1969. On her desk was a paperweight with the “Can Do” motto on it, to signify that […]

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It is refreshing when the can do attitude is demonstrated by a stranger, a store clerk, a server in a restaurant, and of course, an employee. I was once complimented by a customer to whom I was selling a camera in a retail setting. I didn’t think I was doing anything special, but he noticed, […]

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Be the Solution

One of the television shows Melissa and I watch is “NCIS.” The story line in a recent episode involved a young man telling about his father, who had died in another episode. The young man said that, before he died, his father attempted to teach him to “be the solution.” That is, don’t be the […]

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“Be the solution” is similar to “Be the change you want to see in the world” (with the latter saying commonly misattributed to Mahatma Gandhi, who, according to multiple sources, never said anything of the sort). The idea behind both of these statements is that, for positive change to occur, one must be an active […]

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First impressions (do matter)

First impressions matter. They really do! Social psychologists who study impression formation and cognitive psychologists who study presentation order effects, such as the primacy effect, agree that information presented early has a greater impact than information presented later. Impression formation has been heavily researched in social psychology since the 1940s, when Solomon Asch conducted a […]

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In thinking about what to write for this post I immediately had a flashback to a time Melissa and I were scheduled to interview a young man who had recently graduated with a master’s degree in psychology and had a wealthy family background. I guess stereotypes were working in his favor, that is, until he […]

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