About this blog

After more than 25 years operating a trial consulting practice together as co-founding partners of Magnus Research Consultants, Inc. and Magnus Graphics, Inc., and more than 30 years of marriage, Dr. Melissa Pigott and David Fauss decided to share some of their thoughts, experiences, pet peeves, and perspectives on operating a small “mom & pop” business. The intended audience for their writings is other business owners, as well as employees of small businesses. Trial consulting is a professional service business, as was David’s photography business. There are many unique issues faced by professional service providers; Melissa and David share some of their insights on running a successful business.

Leverage

One uses a lever to gain leverage in order to be able to move something easier than moving it without the lever. I don’t know a great deal about physics, but I get this. And, it is important to look for leverage in life, in business, and in our world, the world of litigation. There […]

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I have lost count of the number of times in my career when an attorney retains Magnus in order to gain leverage over his/her client regarding the value of a lawsuit. We have worked on cases for plaintiffs’ attorneys whose clients believe that, because the insurance (or other) company has the financial resources to pay […]

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Crazy Courthouse Story #5 remove your jacket (but there’s nothing underneath)

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 12, 2019

Category: Careers, Common Courtesy, Getting the Job Done, Jury Consultants, Litigation Consultants, Magnus, Magnus Insights

In this series of 5 crazy courthouse stories, I have recounted 1 funny story, 1 story that led to a great idea, and 2 scary stories, with the worst, of course, being the events of September 11, 2001. In this final post on crazy courthouse stories, I will write about another funny experience. As almost […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 12, 2019

Category: Careers, Common Courtesy, Getting the Job Done, Jury Consultants, Litigation Consultants, Magnus, Magnus Insights

This one would have been fun to observe! I guess we’ve all encountered people going about their jobs in a mindless fashion. Clerks who don’t look up from their desks when approached, cashiers who don’t make eye contact and my (least) favorite, security personnel who are clueless automatons. I encounter the latter frequently when entering […]

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Vitamins

Do you take vitamins? (I do, especially vitamin C, after meeting Dr. Linus Pauling, and spending a day photographing him, during a visit he made to Jacksonville University. He got a Nobel prize for his research on Vitamin C.) How about a baby aspirin? (I do that too, why not, it’s cheap and it is […]

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Taking vitamins is a health precaution some, but not all, people believe in. In addition, there are certain types of people who avoid going to see a medical doctor, dentist, or psychologist, or who avoid taking their beloved pet to a veterinarian, until they are on “death’s door,” then there are other types of people […]

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Crazy Courthouse Story #4 911

I have studied the phenomenon known as autobiographical memory since I was in graduate school. Autobiographical memory is a distinct type of memory due to its shared meaningfulness to many people. For example, most people of a certain age can remember where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated. This tragic event was shared by […]

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Also sometimes called “flashbulb” memories, events such as 911 tend to stay with us with some degree of accuracy. I was attending a meeting near the Broward County Courthouse on that fateful morning. We were meeting in an office which had considerable video capabilities. Though the news was not turned on in the conference room […]

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Cindy’s Question

We recently experienced one of our worst nightmares in our trial consulting business. A case on which we had been working for many months, and for which we had been planning a large scale mock trial, settled a few weeks before the mock trial was scheduled. I’m sure it was a good result for the […]

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The expression, “easy come, easy go” has no applicability to the situation David just described when we have been preliminary retained for a case that will bring in sizable revenue, only to have it cancel due to the settlement of the case. Although we always charge a sizable portion of our fees as a retainer, […]

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Crazy Courthouse Story #3 Bombscare

My first crazy courthouse story happened in the Lee County Courthouse in my hometown, Fort Myers, Florida and this post, the third in the series, is also about an event that happened in the Lee County Courthouse. As with rental cars, airplanes, hotels, and other places and things I frequent, I spend a lot of […]

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Melissa’s courthouse experiences have run quite the gamut. I’m sure our clients have many crazy stories to tell as well. As for me, all I can add is that I’m glad in instances like the bombscare, or the 9-11 attacks, that those who work in the courthouses are well trained. I’m sure that, in today’s […]

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Juror Background Checks

The only universal recommendation we make to clients these days regarding trial strategies is to be prepared to have background checks conducted on the potential jurors. Though this practice must be done with some care, and with the observation of a few Bar rules, it is important to prepare for background checks early. I have […]

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The voir dire process (which is defined as asking questions of potential jurors to de-select those who cannot be fair and impartial), as arduous as it may be, is never exhaustive enough to provide all of the information we need to know about every potential juror. There are time limitations, particularly time limitations related to […]

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Crazy Courthouse Story #2 calendars idea

Second in the series on crazy courthouse stories is the Courthouses of Florida™ idea I had while working in courthouses all over my home state of Florida. Over the years when I have worked for attorneys during the jury selection process, I have observed their fondness for courthouses. They often regale me with stories about […]

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The crazy idea wasn’t that crazy and it turned into a challenging and mostly fun adventure. The phenomenon of associations, mostly positive, made by our clients with a particular courthouse has been interesting to observe. There are probably negative associations with some courthouses, but what we hear are, “That’s where I won my first big […]

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Internet Based/Virtual Jury Research: Part 2

My previous post outlined the reasons why online “mock jury” research is not in reality “mock jury” research. In this, related, post, I will discuss additional constraints and limitations of online “mock jury” research. I will also add that I have concerns about confidentiality with online research. Confidentiality is more than just having a confidentiality […]

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David is passionate about this topic! It was the longest post he has ever written since we have been blogging in June, 2013, and it was so long, it had to be broken into two parts. David’s second part of the posts on online “mock jury” research pertains to a crucial, but often overlooked, aspect […]

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Crazy Courthouse Story #1 Client on other side of this case

Long time readers of David’s and my blog may remember the 5 part series we wrote, entitled “Crazy Mock Juror Story” and/or the 5 part series we wrote on “Crazy Lawyer Story.” We are always eager to share some of our funny, or at a minimum, entertaining, stories about the serious work we do on […]

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The other attorney didn’t stop calling us because of this incident. He had other control issues that made working together impossible, specifically, he’d demand that Melissa be available for jury selection every day of his often 4 to 6 week trial dockets or else he wouldn’t hire us. And, of course, he wanted to do […]

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