Archive | Litigation Research

Show, Don’t Tell

Melissa and I wrote employee policy manuals and other training materials before we had employees. I am thinking about those today because I added a small update to the policy manual yesterday, thinking that it had been a long time since I had added anything. But, while the policy manual is pretty well set, the […]

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David never ceases to amaze me.  I cannot believe he missed a perfectly good opportunity to relate his post to a song by his favorite band, RUSH.  The title of the song is “Show Don’t Tell,” which is the title David used for this post. The premise of the song, written (of course) by Geddy […]

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Fighters or Settlers

We’ve written previously about how some lawyers seem to be more willing to go the distance, that is, take a case to trial, than others. In some discussions, this becomes a comparison of trial lawyers, who are ready for trial, and litigators, who work up cases, but seem to avoid starting a trial at all […]

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David has chosen to write about one of my favorite topics, which prompts me to mention one of my favorite clients.  I agree with the premise that some attorneys are fighters, who are willing to go to trial and “battle” for their clients’ rights, while others are fearful of going to the courthouse, instead, settling […]

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Psychologists and Lawyers See the World Differently

As I have stated in previous posts, I have had an interesting career, primarily because I have spent almost all of my professional life working with attorneys instead of with colleagues. Furthermore, my definition of “colleague” is narrow, in that I consider only other social psychologists as colleagues. The field of psychology is large, with […]

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What a perfect day to write this post.  Melissa just had a call with a client who is heading to trial soon.  When it was over she couldn’t wait to let me know about one aspect of the call, which was the lawyer insisting on wrongly defining a social psychological concept.  As readers of these […]

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Jury is Greater than the Sum of Individual Juror Parts

Social psychology is the scientific study of how people behave in groups. There are many areas of research within social psychology, however, they share a common focus on how individual and group interactions are shaped by one’s external environment, specifically, other people. Numerous research findings have demonstrated the impact of the group on individual performance, […]

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Groups are found in many environments.  Work teams, church or other volunteer groups, are the norm in our world.  But, nowhere other than juries are group efforts and group decisions more important in our society.  Juries, especially those which require unanimous verdicts, work hard to achieve their goal.  The study of juries as groups by […]

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Holiday Plans

I’m writing this near year end, but as is often the case, things are hectic as we wrap up the work for the year, and prepare for work early in the new year. Melissa and I have diligently tried for all these years to treat the last 2 weeks of the year as a break, […]

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David and I often work on holidays and during vacations.  Our business, and the world of litigation, don’t close just because we are not in the office.  I have distinct memories of: (1) doing an intake on a new case on Christmas Eve, in my mom’s Florida room, mere minutes before we opened our gifts: […]

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Some Cases Last Longer than Imaginable

A challenging aspect of our trial consulting work is timing. It is always an issue for us to ramp up when we are engaged for a project. There is lead time in all that we do. Some clients, particularly repeat clients, understand this and call us well in advance of their “need.” Other times it […]

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I sincerely hope 10 years will be the longest time between case intake and conducting mock trials!  At this point in my life and career, I’m not certain I will be around 10 years from now!  The case to which David refers is Magnus’ infamous case #110.  As a point of reference, when we finally […]

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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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Grace Under Pressure

What does it mean to have grace under pressure? Grace under pressure can mean several things to people, but to me, it means having a calm demeanor and an overall presence of mind in a stressful or highly demanding situation. My job as a trial/jury consultant is stressful. I often remark to people who are […]

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“Grace Under Pressure” is the title of the 10th album, a 1984 release, by RUSH.  The readers of these posts know that RUSH is my favorite band.  Though there is no song on the album entitled “grace under pressure,” the album had many references to being under pressure, especially in terms of the Cold War […]

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