Archive | Jury Behavior

My job is to help people

Sometimes, when I am asked what I do for a living, I answer, “I help people.” Although the details of my job description have changed over the years, my entire career has been devoted to helping people. In my job as Director of Marketing Research at a large hospital, I was tasked with helping improve […]

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A client called for help this week.  He faces a unexpected challenge of a case that he didn’t think would get to trial – then the judge set a trial date.  With a trial looming, and some extra challenges on the part of his client, he called.  It helped that he is a regular reader […]

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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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Faces of Jurors: “3 week trial” “Duty as Citizens” “As Pleasurable as Possible”

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 10, 2019

Category: Jury Behavior, Jury Consultants, Jury Deliberations, Litigation Consultants, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Magnus Research, Trial Consultants

In my 30 year career as a jury/trial consultant, I have assisted attorneys in the jury selection process in over 200 trials. (And, just to be clear, I really don’t want to hear about the 1 time you were on a jury. I really don’t.) All of the trials on which I have worked are […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 10, 2019

Category: Jury Behavior, Jury Consultants, Jury Deliberations, Litigation Consultants, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Magnus Research, Trial Consultants

I have not sat in the seat Melissa mentions looking into the faces of the jurors, but I have been one of those being questioned a few times. And, I’ve seen some faces made by those among the venire along the lines she described. (Some of the faces looking at the venire members were not […]

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Never Hired a Trial Consultant?

While we work with many repeat clients, once, all of our clients had a first time experience hiring a trial consultant. And, these first time experiences happen on regular basis. I’ve come to realize that things which are second nature to me are foreign to first time prospects and clients. In fact, it starts when […]

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David has developed numerous aids to help Magnus’ first time clients understand what will happen before the research day, on the research day, and after the research day. The fact that many attorneys do not understand that conducting surveys, focus groups, and mock trials is research means we have a long way to go to […]

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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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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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Dr. Susan Broome

I am a social psychologist who, for the past 30 years, has been employed as a trial/jury consultant. Along the way and across the years, I have worked with many people, including several colleagues who have become long term friends. One of the most influential colleagues with whom I have ever worked is Dr. Susan […]

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Some people in life teach you things they don’t even appreciate they are teaching. Sometimes this is done by example. Melissa observed that Susan purchased bouquets of fresh flowers each week, which brought some color to her home in the dreary winter world of Boston. Melissa started doing this when we lived in Atlanta, which […]

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Tell no one what we do

An oddity of my job as a jury/trial consultant is not being able to share the details of my work with family, friends, or anyone, ever. All of the cases in which Magnus consults are high stakes matters, regardless of whether they are civil or criminal trials. Everyone who is employed by Magnus, including David […]

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In the past two weeks, news about several cases on which we have worked have appeared prominently in the news. The cases, and the results of their trials, were newsworthy. This is, no doubt, common for trial consultants and it is, admittedly, exciting to be involved in high profile or noteworthy cases. Yet, from the […]

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Juror Background Checks

The only universal recommendation we make to clients these days regarding trial strategies is to be prepared to have background checks conducted on the potential jurors. Though this practice must be done with some care, and with the observation of a few Bar rules, it is important to prepare for background checks early. I have […]

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The voir dire process (which is defined as asking questions of potential jurors to de-select those who cannot be fair and impartial), as arduous as it may be, is never exhaustive enough to provide all of the information we need to know about every potential juror. There are time limitations, particularly time limitations related to […]

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Crazy Courthouse Story #2 calendars idea

Second in the series on crazy courthouse stories is the Courthouses of Florida™ idea I had while working in courthouses all over my home state of Florida. Over the years when I have worked for attorneys during the jury selection process, I have observed their fondness for courthouses. They often regale me with stories about […]

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The crazy idea wasn’t that crazy and it turned into a challenging and mostly fun adventure. The phenomenon of associations, mostly positive, made by our clients with a particular courthouse has been interesting to observe. There are probably negative associations with some courthouses, but what we hear are, “That’s where I won my first big […]

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