Archive | Trial Consultants

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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No One Has Ever Said They Wish Their Jury Research Had Been Later

In almost 30 years of owning and operating Magnus Research Consultants, David and I have been fortunate to have few complaints from clients. When there have been complaints, they have been of the following type: (1) “Your report is too long and comprehensive; it took too long for me to read”; (2) ”The charts summarizing […]

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This topic is salient because I had the discussion again recently, “What is your lead time for conducting research? My client wants to put it off as long as possible, because maybe they can settle…”  I patiently explained that the ramp up period, once we’ve provided a proposal, agreed on the research design, gotten approval […]

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PowerPoint Exhibits: Good-Bad-Ugly

I had an interesting conversation today with a client who was preparing a PowerPoint presentation for an upcoming mock trial. As we discussed his plan, he mentioned that he was planning to use 20 slides for a 10 minute presentation. I tactfully suggested that 1 slide every 30 seconds is too many. This led to […]

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Death by Powerpoint.  That’s what I call the majority of Powerpoint and other, similar, electronic presentations.  I have witnessed countless attorneys “kill” their audience with electronic presentations that contain words, then more words, then even more words.  These well meaning attorneys, in their quest to educate the jury about their case, put everything they can […]

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Ed Groot

Way back in 1993, Melissa and I first started contemplating opening our own trial consulting practice. Pretty soon, those discussions included a third individual, Ed Groot. The three of us were working for another trial consultant in what can simply be described as a toxic work environment. The three of us started planning what became […]

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I’m not sure why I was compelled to search for Ed Groot on my computer today, but something kept nagging me to do it.  I immediately came across his obituary and read that he passed away on November 30, 2020.  He would have been 80 years old on January 2, 2021.  When David and I […]

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Listen as Much as, or More Than, You Talk

Sometimes, these posts almost write themselves. This is one of those times. I am a regular reader of advice columnists in newspapers. (Yes, I still read newspapers, several, in fact, on a daily basis.) “Dear Abby” recently provided some sage advice that included a suggestion for the reader to “listen as much as you talk.” […]

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To borrow from Alex Lifeson of Rush – “Blah blah blah.  Blah blah blah, blah, blah, blah.”  Some of you may recognize this from Alex’s speech following Rush’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  It was an amazing thing to hear and watch – because one could, or at least I could, […]

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When is the Last Time You Learned Something?

One of the strangest objections I have heard, relatively often, during my career as a jury/trial/litigation consultant goes something like this: “Well, I have been a VERY successful trial lawyer for many, many years and I have never, ever, hired a trial consultant. What in the world could I possibly learn from you, or another […]

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This phenomenon exists in many contexts, but given that Melissa and I have spent decades working with attorneys, it hits us from time to time, right between the eyes.  One of my college professors told me that a sign of intelligence is knowing what you don’t know.  I think about this whenever I hear the […]

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I’ll ask my parents

One source of material for these posts over the years has been the things Melissa and I have heard from employees that took us by surprise. This one is among my favorites, after the fact. We usually hire recent college graduates for our Research Associate position. Many years ago, we hired a typical, fresh from […]

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Many people have asked me if I have any kids.  I don’t know why they ask this personal question, but I always respond with, “Yes, I have had between 40 and 50 kids; they are of were my employees.”  As David said, recent college graduates have been Magnus’ Research Associates since we founded Magnus in […]

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When things don’t make sense: 28 days off

The work we do as trial consultants requires us to work closely with our attorney clients for several weeks or months, or even years. Clients are typically respectful and courteous. But, as we have written before, there are a few outliers – clients who abuse everyone around them, including us. We have had a few […]

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One of the most interesting aspects in my career as a jury consultant is unrelated to the expertise I provide to my clients on things such as trial strategy, jury selection, and witness preparation.  This interesting aspect of my job happens when my clients, all of whom are educated and intelligent attorneys, forget I am, […]

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Technology simplifies our lives, right?

Another clean out story. In purging the old equipment to prepare for the Magnus’ move to new office, we came across VCRs, VHS tapes, cassette recorders, cassette tapes, DVD duplicators, and more. These are a history of the technology evolution in our lives. Yet, it was also a reminder of simpler times. When we first […]

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I don’t endorse the premise that technology simplifies our lives. Sometimes, it does, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes, there is no noticeable difference between old and new technology within the realm of simplicity.  I don’t mind change; in fact, I thrive on it.  And, it is relatively easy for me to learn new ways of […]

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