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 Magnus Research Consultants, Inc. In fact, the name Magnus originated with Ed. He had always wanted to name a business Magnus – for greatness. (He actually wanted a business called Magnus Motor Works – but he was happy just to use Magnus.) Ed was a trial lawyer in his career, but when we met him, he was a former trial lawyer, with lots of arguments left in him. And, that was his role – opposition arguments for our clients who needed that for their mock trials. Alas, the business relationship with him was short lived as he did not share our vision or business philosophy. But, he was a significant part of Magnus’ conception and early success. Our shared experiences at the former trial consulting company drove us to make this move and today, we’re remembering Ed as we just learned of his passing, due to COVID-19, at nearly 80 years old. He taught us many things, including where to find some great meals. Cheers to you, Ed!
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 met Ed in 1991, he was the youngest looking 50 year old I had ever seen. In fact, I didn’t believe him when he told me his age and I asked him to show me his driver’s license to prove it! Ed and I traveled together on an almost daily basis from 1991 to 1993, conducting focus groups and mock trials for a high volume trial consulting business. Just as I knew the coolest FM radio stations in every town (when cool FM stations still existed!), Ed knew the best restaurants wherever our work happened to take us. Thanks to Ed, I have enjoyed fine dinners everywhere from The Palm in Manhattan to The Mansion Restaurant at the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas to The Sovereign in Gainesville, Florida. Ed sure did appreciate fine dining! David, Ed, and I founded Magnus Research Consultants in July of 1993. And, as David mentioned, Magnus was Ed’s idea for the name of our fledgling company. I developed all of the research protocols for Magnus on David’s and my back porch at our home in Lighthouse Point and Ed reviewed my work, then offered suggestions on naming each of our services. During the early days of Magnus, Ed stayed at my mom’s house with David and me while we knocked on doors of potential clients in my hometown, Fort Myers. Then, when we went to Jacksonville for several weeks to do the same thing, all three of us stayed with David’s parents. It was during this trip to Jacksonville that Ed introduced us to one of the finest attorneys I have ever known, in fact, one of the finest people I have ever known, Buddy Schulz. Of all the things Ed did for David and me, meeting Buddy was the absolute best. Although we parted ways soon after starting Magnus, Ed will always be part of our company’s legacy. I share David’s sentiment, cheers to you, Ed!