Archive | Litigation Consultants

Is your consultant a criminal?

This is a strange topic: Is your consultant a criminal? In this context, it is related to your trial consultant. When one hires a new employee, most often, a variety of background checks are conducted. A lawyer’s criminal history is policed by Bar associations; similarly, other licensed professions are vetted. But, what about professions not […]

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In the decades Magnus has been in business, we have found out many things about our employees, vendors, and prospective employees that, absent our checking into them, would have remained hidden.  Often, these secrets were nothing serious, for example, the office administrator we hired, even though we knew she had been arrested for D.U.I.  Then, […]

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Exude Competence

Many years ago, when I was working for another trial consultant, one of the clients spoke to my boss and told her that I “exuded competence.” The boss was happy to hear this and to tell me. I took it as a high compliment because it reinforced my goal of doing what I say I’m […]

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David is right.  We have to exude competence if we are to convince others that we possess the expertise necessary to perform a job.  When I first became a trial consultant, way back in 1989, the person who trained me was a particularly tough task master.  He greatly disliked my psychologist’s way of pensively contemplating […]

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Leadership styles

Many people wonder how leaders emerge. Some people endorse the view that certain people are “born leaders,” while others believe leadership is a skill that is acquired. Organizational psychologists have studied leaders, leadership, and leadership styles for decades to determine what traits separate effective leaders from leaders who lack effectiveness, the situations in which leadership […]

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I often learn new things in reading what Melissa has written.  As someone whose graduate work was in the Organizational Behavior field (the business school version of I/O psychology), leadership is a familiar topic.  But, considering her perspective on how leadership plays out in the jury decision making process is enlightening.  Melissa is the expert […]

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Work Life Balance

The term “Work Life Balance” seems to have existed for a long time. In writing this post, I did a bit of quick research and found the concept was not well defined until the last 20 years. Researchers have identified 3 key balance components: time, involvement and satisfaction. When work or life (family) demands are […]

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Due to the lasting impact of COVID-19 on our nation’s workplaces, the issue of work/life balance has taken on a new urgency.  Although many corporations are requiring their employees to return to the office full time, and some workplaces, such as hospitals, never allowed remote working, other employers are struggling for ways to keep their […]

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High Anxiety

Magnus’ clients are attorneys involved in high stakes litigation. Whether they represent the plaintiff(s) or defendant(s), they are under a great deal of pressure to get the best result for their clients.  Even when they don’t show it, we know this is a high stress situation.  Putting together a mock jury research project is intense.  […]

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David’s title, “High Anxiety,” instantly reminded me of the 1977 Mel Brooks movie of the same name.  However, that’s where the similarity both begins and ends.  While Mel Brooks’ movie was a farcical comedy, Magnus’ cases are anything but comedic.  Many of our cases are tragic and all of them involve high stakes.  The attorneys […]

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The Major League

My family is a baseball family. My dad, the late Park T. Pigott, Sr. played baseball, coached baseball, and generally speaking, lived much of his life for baseball. I am not usually fond of sports analogies, however, recent experiences with clients of Magnus Research Consultants have reminded me of baseball. Almost all of Magnus’ clients […]

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This minor leaguer experience was one of the strangest situations we have had in years.  We had been, to keep up with the baseball analogy, “scouted” by the end client (that is the entity/person paying our bill).  Our ability to work with the lawyer was limited until that scouting was completed.  Admittedly, this process was […]

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Retainers

Call it a deposit; call it a retainer. Magnus doesn’t start work without one (except in rare circumstances beyond the scope of this post). We need money, we want money; importantly, other people want money. We learned, the hard way, that clients need to “show us the money.” One of our first cases blew up […]

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No one works for free.  By definition, work is performed in exchange for compensation.  (The obvious exceptions, such as slavery, human trafficking, etc., are beyond the scope of this post.)  The fact that one of the largest law firms in the U.S.A., as well as its client, one of the largest corporations in the world, […]

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Hiding behind Email

Prompted by my posts about “different direction” and “ghosting,” a related phenomenon is hiding behind email, especially as a way to deliver bad news. Maybe it is just me, but it seems a matter of professionalism and fairness that, if one asks someone else to do something like prepare a proposal for consulting services, the […]

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I love to discuss, and write about, etiquette.  As a social psychologist, I am keenly aware of the social norms involved in etiquette, which involves far more than knowing which fork to use.  There is a certain etiquette involved in communicating with others, in both professional and personal settings.  This includes “responding in kind” to […]

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I’m a Professional Judge of Character – Trust my 1st Impression

There have been several notable examples of my, and others’, questioning my first impressions of someone. On all of these occasions, my first impression was correct and unfortunately, questioning it caused negative turns of events. In that, as a psychologist, I am what most people would consider “a professional judge of character,” I have tried […]

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One aspect of owning a business never gets easier – hiring.  I feel like it is always a gamble.  And, I’m apparently not a good gambler because I’ve taken chances on hiring people who turned out to be ill equipped to do our work, or worse, a really bad fit, a bad choice, maybe a […]

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Sorting out responses and non responses

A few months ago, Melissa and I were talking with one of our favorite clients, Buddy Schulz, when he commented that Melissa’s job during jury selection involved sorting out responses, and non responses, of potential jurors. He was noting that it is one thing to evaluate what someone says during jury selection (or perhaps with […]

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Jury selection involves, at least for me, interpreting and de-coding the things people say and do and the things they don’t say or do.  In fact, I spend just as much time observing the nuances of people’s behavior as I do in listening to the words they say.  When a potential juror is being questioned […]

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