Archive | Litigation Research

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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Heuristical thinking

Biases and heuristics often, but not always, go hand in hand. While bias is attributed to the absence of reflective thought, leading to limitations in judgment, heuristics are used intentionally when making inferences. Heuristics are common sense reasoning strategies employed by laypersons. They are “shortcuts” that accelerate the decision making process. Heuristics may or may […]

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Magnus’ reports often contain a section entitled “Heuristics” and, when I’m showing our sample report to prospective clients, I usually have to explain what a heuristic is and why it is important.  I typically explain that heuristics are the ways that the jurors relate to a case – in their own language.  Whether it is […]

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Hard Work

Always learning – that’s the reality of life, and in operating a business. A lesson learned many years ago happened when we hired a young woman as a research associate. She fit all of our hiring criteria for education, background, etc. She was attractive and well dressed. Her appearance was important to her as evidenced […]

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Hooray for Jessica!  As David mentioned, after our experience with one of our former employees, who resigned over too many broken fingernails, we were delighted to hire Jessica Nurek (now Jessica Palomino) because, not only was she qualified for the research associate job, she was not afraid of performing hard work.  Cleaning animal stalls is […]

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Templates – Creating and Using

We spent some time recently updating the templates we use at Magnus. From day 1, I’ve worked on developing templates and, over the years, modifying them to keep up with changes as necessary. We have templates for reports, for contracts, and countless forms that help us keep track of our work. The only thing standardized […]

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David likes forms and templates more than anyone I have ever known.  When we are in the process of developing a new service, David routinely advocates for using a template to ensure things are standardized.  Although all of my questionnaires are custom designed to assess mock jurors’, survey respondents’, and other research participants’ attitudes about […]

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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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Better Than “Different Direction”

As a follow up to David’s last post regarding the soul killing phrase “We have decided to move in a different direction,” I will provide alternative phrases that are more appropriate forms of rejection. Keeping in mind that David, and other consultants, spend considerable time and money speaking with prospective clients, preparing proposals outlining the […]

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I like that-“vapid euphemisms.”  In my most recent vapid encounter, vapid also seemed to apply to the paralegal who called me.  Whether it was her fault or not, she not only had insufficient information to give me as to what the attorney purportedly wanted (which was an inappropriate research design, given what she did know), […]

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Different Direction

Last week I got a call from a paralegal who asked me to provide a proposal for a mock trial for a commercial case.  She told me that, although she’d been a paralegal for 25 years, she had never shopped for a trial consultant.  I walked her through the process, provided her with information on […]

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If you think about it, and I certainly have, “We are moving in a different direction” or “We are moving in another direction” is meaningless drivel.  This statement has somehow become common when it comes to rejecting job applicants, consultants’ proposals, and people, in general.  In preparing for my part of David’s post, I have […]

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Ghosting

Ghosting. This is a relatively new term used to indicate what might otherwise be called “radio silence,” that is, a loss of communications. Despite the many ways we can now communicate, via email, text, direct messaging, “zoom” calls, or even the good old phone or maybe “snail” mail, it amazes me that we often end […]

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Ghosting is rude, unprofessional, and, when it comes to friends and family, mean.  I have been ghosted on several occasions, by long time friends who chose to cut me out of their lives for unknown reasons.  One of these friends remained out of touch for about 20 years, another, for 7 years, and another, 6 […]

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