Archive | Litigation Consultants

Social Psych = Groups = Juries

Over the years, many people have asked me what makes me qualified to work as a jury/trial consultant. I explain that I have a Ph.D. in social psychology, which is the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by other people and situations. Social thinking, social influence, and social behavior are […]

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I have certainly learned a lot about social psychology, by osmosis and directly from Melissa, as well as in a graduate course, taken before I had any intent of working in the trial consulting world, that helped me more than I knew it would.  It is interesting to explain the principles of psychological science to […]

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Herding Cats

I am sure most people have heard the expression that something is like “herding cats.” I am sure herding felines would be nearly impossible based on my experience with having 1 in the house. Herding any of our cats, even 1 at a time, is quite a challenge. Even though our Siamese cats know their […]

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My job involves herding lots of cats, metaphorically speaking.  Not only do I “herd” attorneys, including timing their presentations during mock trials, getting a trial team to work together on trial strategies, and convincing multiple clients to listen to me and follow my advice during jury selection, I herd numerous other cats during my working […]

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Almost Like Cheating

I keep a list of things clients have said during or after working with us on mock jury research. These tidbits illustrate the eye opening reactions some attorneys have when observing jurors deliberate. One of my favorites was from (now retired) Pete Burkert in Fort Myers, FL. After a series of mock juries, he said, […]

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Pete Burkert’s quote is memorable, even after many years have passed.  Until his and his partner, Kim Hart’s, retirement, Magnus enjoyed decades of working with these 2 extremely fine attorneys.  Mr. Hart had worked with us several times before we worked with his law partner, Mr. Burkert, and Kim called to tell me what Pete […]

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Completion Satisfaction

I played hooky this morning for a couple of hours in order to complete some tasks on my to do list. These were things that had been lingering at home for some time and I finally had the parts in hand to do the repairs, thanks to a big trip to Home Depot and several […]

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Hooray for David in, as I like to say, “gittin’ er dun”!  It’s always nice to accomplish tasks on the “to do” list.  As David said, our professional lives do not offer the same sense of satisfaction that comes from other people’s jobs. Our work takes a long time to complete, and often, our clients […]

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Have Something to Live for

Have something to live for. It doesn’t matter what it is; having a goal or an event to look forward to is enough to keep most people moving ahead, even in times of strife. For some people, the anticipation of their next golf game among friends brings happy thoughts until game day happens. For other […]

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Having an interest in something or some things that challenge one, or are intrinsically rewarding, is not as difficult to do as perhaps, saving the world from polio or malaria (goals of the Gates Foundation).  But, having interests, an outlet for mind and body, is a positive thing.  I recently had someone, for whom English […]

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Premature Decisions

Several recent client/case events prompted this post. My biased view of litigation is that it is best done when as much input (a.k.a. data) is considered. This includes data from various experts, but also data from mock juries used to evaluate the risks of litigation. The first example is with a case that settled prior […]

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I prefer things to be done in an orderly, not a chaotic, manner.  When I make a decision about whether or not a particular person will be a “good” juror for a client’s case, I don’t merely look at the person and say, “Yeah, that one looks pretty good to me.”  Instead, my decisions regarding […]

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Things Easy for You Are Real Hard for Me

As anyone who knows me soon realizes, I am not a “normal person.” I never have been and I never will be. My mom used to marvel that, despite the many differences between people my age and me, I had the ability to make, and keep, friends. I have usually been accepted by people who […]

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I think sometimes about how the life Melissa and I share personally and professionally is built on trade offs of strengths and weaknesses.  Long ago, a client/friend remarked “David must be here to carry Melissa’s luggage.”  We were attending a conference where she was speaking, and this client/friend had invited her to speak.  He was […]

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Letter from the Internal Revenue Service – Yikes!

No small business owner likes to receive a letter from the Internal Revenue Service – trust me. Such letters inspire dread. Though they occasionally include a good surprise, such as a refund of an over payment, more often they are “not good.” Melissa and I recently received such a letter informing us that, because we […]

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There must be some nice, friendly, helpful people who are employed by the IRS.  Statistically speaking, there has to be some percentage of IRS employees who are customer oriented. It just isn’t possible for everyone who works at the IRS, or even the majority, to be rude, condescending, and generally speaking, unhelpful to its clients, […]

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Dress for the Interview

Job interviews are something with which Melissa and I have had considerable experience over the last 30 years. We’ve revised our procedures over time, but we have always utilized an in-person interview as a final part of the process. Regardless of the position for which we are interviewing, we, as a professional practice serving a […]

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I love people!  I really do!  I am constantly entertained and surprised by the things people do and say.  Never a dull moment, that’s for sure!  David’s post was prompted by our most recent job interview, which was of the shortest duration in the history of Magnus.  Why?  Because the job candidate, a young male, […]

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Reactive v. Proactive

My mother used to tell me that she, as well as almost everyone else, would “have to get up before breakfast to stay ahead of me.” For readers of this post who are unfamiliar with, as Mom used to say “old South Carolina sayings,” this means that, all things considered, I work and move at […]

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I don’t think of the proactive/reactive dichotomy as just an issue of speed, but of priorities.  And, in fairness to our clients (attorneys), many reactive behaviors are a part of the job.  They must react to rulings by the court, motions or pleadings by the other side, client demands, etc.  It is not just attorneys, […]

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