Insights for Success

For many years, Magnus has used “Insights for Success” as a tag line in many of our marketing materials. We have recently reevaluated this concept in the process refining our materials. “Insights for Success” has much meaning, and history, to us. We at Magnus firmly believe that the trial consulting work we do helps clients achieve optimal litigation outcomes – successes. Success is defined differently by different clients. In the civil arena, where the method of measurement is dollars, the measure of success is how much or how little is paid for the damages sought in a case. “Success” does not always mean winning outright – it is more relative. For example, as a defense lawyer, a verdict for the plaintiff for less than the plaintiff sought is success. We once had a client who lost $8 million in a verdict, but who was thrilled that it was not $25 million! Success! And, the success was made possible, in at least part, though the insights we provided as a result of mock jury research. Marketing a business is an evolutionary process. When we first started, we used a tag line “Reducing Uncertainty” – because that is what we do. But, we quickly realized that few lawyers ever admit being uncertain! They may be wrong, confused or going down the wrong path, but they are certain about their strategies. As a result of this, we changed to Insights for Success and it has served us well. But, as we think of the legal-business environment today, with many changes, we realize the need to renew marketing approaches. We have updated our website; what was once a set it up and leave it alone approach now requires constant updates and revisions. And, in that process reevaluating the tag line for the banner part of our site became necessary. The new one involves the psychology of litigation. Melissa is a psychologist who works as a trial consultant. Psychology provides many insights into how humans (jurors, mediators, arbitrators, judges) will respond to information, how they can be persuaded, and ultimately, how they make decisions. Thus, litigation psychology provides Insights for Success. Finding ways to introduce that concept remains challenging – and probably always will be.

As David wrote, “insights for success” has a long history in our company. We have been asked, countless times, for our success rate over the years we have been in business. Although it may appear, on the surface, that measuring our success is an easy task, in reality, defining success has proven to be quite challenging. For example, if we are working on a plaintiff’s case in which the plaintiff’s attorney has demanded (“demand” is an attorney’s word for “request”) $10 million from the defendant, but our mock jury research has revealed $5 million is the highest amount a jury will award to the plaintiff, should we consider it a success when the attorney settles the case for $5 million instead of going to trial and risking the jury awarding less than that, or even nothing? It’s easy when things turn out the other way, that is, when we learn something during our research that shows the case is worth far more than the plaintiff’s attorney hoped for, but in the example above, many attorneys would congratulate us for conducting research that convinced their client to “take the money and run” during mediation, even if it is less than they had hoped. When we are working for the defense, we are most often in the position of finding ways for our client to convince a jury to award considerably less than the amount of money the plaintiff has demanded. There are relatively few times, in my experience, when a defendant hires us in the hope of finding a way to pay the plaintiff absolutely nothing. In the case David mentions, I selected the jury for the defendant (a large and unpopular municipality) after we had conducted several mock trials. I was quite upset to find out the jury I had selected awarded $8 million; I called my client with trepidation upon hearing we “lost” the case. My client was far from upset; in fact, he was ecstatic over the fact the jury had only awarded $8 million because the plaintiff had asked the jury to award $50 million and everyone fully expected the jury to award at least $25 million. Thus, in my client’s view, my hard work had resulted in a $17 million savings for our mutual client! This is a wonderful example of the way my and my company’s insights lead to our clients’ success!

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