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.

Faces of Jurors: “3 week trial” “Duty as Citizens” “As Pleasurable as Possible”

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 10, 2019

Category: Jury Behavior, Jury Consultants, Jury Deliberations, Litigation Consultants, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Magnus Research, Trial Consultants

In my 30 year career as a jury/trial consultant, I have assisted attorneys in the jury selection process in over 200 trials. (And, just to be clear, I really don’t want to hear about the 1 time you were on a jury. I really don’t.) All of the trials on which I have worked are […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 10, 2019

Category: Jury Behavior, Jury Consultants, Jury Deliberations, Litigation Consultants, Magnus, Magnus Insights, Magnus Research, Trial Consultants

I have not sat in the seat Melissa mentions looking into the faces of the jurors, but I have been one of those being questioned a few times. And, I’ve seen some faces made by those among the venire along the lines she described. (Some of the faces looking at the venire members were not […]

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The Game Warden’s Badge

An event I observed decades ago on a dove hunting field created a memory I will never forget. Opening day of dove season is a social event, the hunt, or shoot, occurs on a large field, 30, 40, or more acres; hunters with shotguns are spread around the field. There are social norms of politeness […]

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Jumping to conclusions is rarely a good thing to do. Sometimes, one may be right, however, other times, one may be wrong. David mentions authority figures who fail to consider all of the circumstances before wrongly accusing someone of something. We have all heard numerous examples of police officers who shoot first and ask questions […]

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Traits of Mom’s wheelchair helpers

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 3, 2019

Category: Common Courtesy, Getting Through Life and Work, Growing Old is Not for Sissies, Life Outside of Work, Psychology

As with many illnesses, including some types of dementia, the ability to ambulate declines until the patient is unable to walk. My mother had a form of dementia, known as Pick’s Disease, that caused a regression in her ability to ambulate on her own, to walking with a cane, to walking with a four pronged […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 3, 2019

Category: Common Courtesy, Getting Through Life and Work, Growing Old is Not for Sissies, Life Outside of Work, Psychology

Melissa reported these encounters with angels to me in real time. It was surprising to her and her Mom, as well as to me, at first. But, then it came to be something of a curiosity as to what story I’d hear her tell next. I don’t think we had many offers of help when […]

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Never Hired a Trial Consultant?

While we work with many repeat clients, once, all of our clients had a first time experience hiring a trial consultant. And, these first time experiences happen on regular basis. I’ve come to realize that things which are second nature to me are foreign to first time prospects and clients. In fact, it starts when […]

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David has developed numerous aids to help Magnus’ first time clients understand what will happen before the research day, on the research day, and after the research day. The fact that many attorneys do not understand that conducting surveys, focus groups, and mock trials is research means we have a long way to go to […]

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Rhythmically Challenged People

Rhythm. Some people have it and some people don’t. Johnny Cash sang, “Get Rhythm” as a cure for the blues, and, although I love Johnny Cash and this song, in particular, I don’t share his optimistic view about certain people’s ability to get rhythm. Fortunately for me, I have always had rhythm. I can keep […]

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“Timing is everything” takes on a new meaning when talking about keeping the beat. Because that is literally what it is about – timing. I can’t dance, but I’d like to think I can, or once could, keep the beat when I played in my high school’s band. And, I try hard not to be […]

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10 Years After

No, not the band 10 Years After. This is a post of about a pleasant surprise. Something that worked as hoped, as intended. I recently got a call from a client with whom we worked 10 years ago. She was not the primary client then; she represented one of several defendants in a large case. […]

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Having just finished typing a report for the client David mentions, I will say I’m glad our clients read, then save, our reports. It takes many days of deep thought and concentration for me to write reports for Magnus’ clients. And, due to the so called modernization and high tech nature of our work environment, […]

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Purr more; Hiss less

Purr more; hiss less. This could be a good mantra for our lives. In other words, look for the good things in life instead of focusing on the bad things. Find solutions to problems instead of whining and complaining about them. When someone spills an entire glass of iced tea (after sweetening it with sticky […]

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It is sometimes difficult in today’s polarized world to remember to purr more. There are so many things to hiss about. But, as my now 102 year old friend Dr. Fran Kinne reminds me, be positive. Melissa and I have a purr reminder in the form of a Siamese cat named Rex. Pick him up, […]

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Sunk Costs

I recently had a conversation with a potential first time client who requested a proposal, a request I granted as always. I followed up with a call and the discussion quickly moved to the price. That’s not uncommon. But, what struck me in this conversation was that he stated that he, and his partners, had […]

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When attorneys, such as the one David has described, contact us about the possibility of retaining us, I believe they should understand there is a cost of doing business with us. (The old biker saying is applicable to many things in life, including working with a trial consultant: No one rides for free.) It astounds […]

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A scientist’s experience of the paranormal

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 13, 2019

Category: Common Courtesy, Getting Through Life and Work, Growing Old is Not for Sissies, Life Outside of Work, Psychology

I am a scientist and, as a scientist, I prefer to base my decisions on data and other provable information. However, there are some things that cannot be explained by logic, science, or anything else; they remain mysteries. As I write this post at a time near the 10 year anniversary of my mother’s death, […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 13, 2019

Category: Common Courtesy, Getting Through Life and Work, Growing Old is Not for Sissies, Life Outside of Work, Psychology

I was just thinking of this event recently, before reading what Melissa wrote about that night. I, too, am very glad that we were all together when Leola turned out the lights in that I don’t think the experience would have otherwise been believable. She was not connected to any machines, so there was nothing […]

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How serious are you about winning?

Continuing the discussion started in the post entitled How much risk can you take off the table?, the conversation took another turn when our client mentioned another question he asks certain clients, “How serious are you about winning?”. He usually works for sophisticated and/or wealthy clients on commercial cases – those without physical injuries. Many […]

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It amazes me that some clients are more interested in winning their cases than others, in that I believe winning one’s case should be a desirable goal for everyone who becomes involved in litigation. In fact, if I were an attorney who worked on high stakes civil litigation, I would consider asking all of my […]

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