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.

Fronting Money for Clients

One thing we learned the hard way, many years ago, is that advancing money on behalf a client is risky. On one of our first cases, we were given the verbal go ahead by an associate level attorney whose boss had told him to do so. We were very excited to work with this attorney, […]

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The majority of Magnus’ clients are large corporations, such as insurance companies, financial institutions, and health care conglomerates, all of which have “mega bucks,” especially when compared to our small business.  Because of this, it is quite irksome when Magnus is expected to advance funds to pay our clients’ expenses.  Every time we conduct focus […]

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Old School

In many ways, I, and people like me, are considered “old school” or “retro.” Someone recently complimented me on an Alice Cooper t-shirt I was wearing, saying he really liked its “old school” look. I still use expressions from “back in the day,” such as groovy, psychedelic, cool (instead of hot, meant to describe something […]

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I don’t know when a part of one’s life, bell bottom pants for example, take hold as the norm such that later they become old school.  And, while Melissa is more retro that I am in terms of fashion, etc., she’s newer school in keeping up with modern rock music than am I.  She does […]

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Shortcuts

I recently read a newspaper article in a business/legal publication that prompted this post. The premise of the article was that women are more likely to be plaintiff prone on juries than men. Prominent and successful lawyers espoused their preference for having women on juries. A jury consultant (of whom I’ve never heard) reported research […]

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Some things change and some things remain the same.  Over the years of my career as a trial consultant, there have been several constant factors, including many attorneys’ search for “a magic bullet,” “an easy way out,” or as David says, “a shortcut.”  Instead of spending some time learning about how people make decisions, why […]

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Lessons Learned the Hard Way

I make mistakes, a lot of them. A few minutes ago, David pointed out my most recent mistake, for which I apologized. I almost always take responsibility for my mistakes and I try to correct them when it is possible to do so. Fortunately, none of my mistakes have resulted in seriously negative outcomes for […]

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Some of the lessons learned at the top of my list are not really mistake driven, but lessons learned due to many of the unique aspects of doing trial consulting work, including working with highly successful, demanding clients (attorneys) on difficult and complex cases.  And, further, while we are not doing “rocket science,” there are […]

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Run of the House

I booked a hotel room recently and, while navigating the rates, I came across one that said “run of house.” I know this means “you get what we’ve got left.” It is doubtful that this would ever be an exciting upgrade, but maybe. In my experience, upgrades rarely happen even when I’m paying higher rates. […]

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The expression, “run of the house” does not have a positive connotation for me.  I prefer to know what I am getting and even more than that, I prefer to know I am getting the best I can possibly get.  I dislike most surprises because many people are not as discerning as me, therefore, what […]

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An Ode to Mullet

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On June 28, 2022

Category: Getting the Job Done, Giving Back, Life Outside of Work, Magnus Insights, Work-Life

Recently, my friend, Button, and I were talking about our fondness for fresh fish. We discussed our shared opinion that fish is best prepared fried, not baked, smoked, grilled, blackened, or en papillote. (I enjoy eating fish that has been prepared in all these ways, but in my opinion, there is nothing quite as good […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On June 28, 2022

Category: Getting the Job Done, Giving Back, Life Outside of Work, Magnus Insights, Work-Life

Mullet – now that I can relate to indeed!  I was probably about 10 when I met my first mullet.  We lived near the St. Johns River and my brother and I liked fishing.  Our neighbors lived on the river and had a dock.  Dale and I spent hours, almost daily, and definitely on the […]

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Modern Communications

Writing this post in mid 2022, I want to comment on modern communications technologies. Especially due to the pandemic, the “modern” technologies of cellular telephones and virtual meetings (Zoom, etc.) have become more common in the world of business. This is for better or worse, depending on point of view. These technologies are great because […]

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David spends significantly more time talking on the telephone than I do, but I share his frustrations.  The poor quality of some people’s internet connections make it difficult to have a meaningful telephone conversation.  This is compounded when the conversation is via a platform, such as Zoom, that includes both audio and video components.  Constant reminders […]

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Zenobia

Recently, a long time friend of my family’s, Woody Hanson, posted an old photo on a social media site that brought back fond memories. The photo was of Zenobia King Hill, the owner of a modeling school in my hometown of Fort Myers, Florida. Zenobia was from Alabama; she attended the famous John Robert Powers […]

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I’ve heard many stories about Zenobia over the years, but it was not until I saw the photo Melissa referenced, with the description, that I actually knew how her name was spelled.   Melissa, as well as some of her friends, have spoken fondly of Zenobia over the years.  I’ve heard about the life skills learned, […]

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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” is a phrase used to suggest one should relax, chill out, and not worry about the little things, things which sometime seem out of one’s control. Well, that’s great. But, our “day job” as trial consultants doesn’t allow it. Neither does my prior advocation, photography. For example, when photographing people […]

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This topic, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” came up recently during a slightly heated debate David and I were having about the proper way to prepare something we were having for dinner.  (As the reader might imagine, David and I have many debates, some over trivial matters, on an almost daily basis.)  I don’t recall […]

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