Trial Consultant as Secret Weapons

Over the years Melissa and I have been working as trial consultants, we have often been called “a secret weapon” numerous times. In reality, the fact that we, or any trial consultant, is working on a case, at least in conducting pre-trial research, preparing witnesses and the like, is secret. It is confidential attorney work product. When a trial consultant appears in court for jury selection, this is a bit less secret, but the trial consultant’s role is typically not telecast to the jurors by agreement of the attorneys (especially when both sides have consultants). Our status as a “secret weapon” is really an admission by the attorney that he (all of the attorneys that have said this to us have been men) recognized that our work, specifically, our research and recommendations, have resulted in better outcomes for the client than would otherwise have occurred. That is great to hear and a few of these clients were willing to go on the record and put it is writing, and/or video for us to use as testimonials. Interestingly, a few were serious about the secret part and declined to be on our reference list – but agreed to let us give out their name verbally. All of this came back to me recently when I met with a client who won a particularly difficult case with a difficult client against a high profile defendant. Our client was recalling how much we had to do to get the case, and his clients, ready for trial. He told me that he really believed it made all the difference in winning the case. Further, he explained that he was preparing his motion for fees and costs and that his expert confirmed that the research, witness preparation, and jury selection were critical components in that win such that these costs should be recoverable. So, far from being his secret weapon, in this case, our role will be public, at least in a courtroom somewhere as the attorneys hash out the details! Here’s hoping that motion is granted.

It is interesting for me to be frequently called a “secret weapon” by my clients. As long time readers of David’s and my posts know, the client who utilized Magnus’ services most effectively is Kim Hart, from my hometown, Fort Myers, Florida. Kim Hart “gets it,” he really does. He, along with many other of our clients, knows that, with my help, he has a better chance of securing a positive outcome for his clients than if he prepares for mediation or trial absent my help. Some of our clients, unfortunately, have had to learn this lesson the hard way. They have waited too long, failed to obtain their client’s approval for hiring my company, or were otherwise precluded from working with me, such that my services were retained by their opposition. On the occasions when that has happened (and there have been quite a few over the years Magnus has been in business), the client who did not retain me, while understanding that I have to make a business decision to work for the opposition, appears dejected to have me, the secret weapon, being weaponized for the “enemy.” Greeting a client in the courthouse, or in the lobby of the only hotel in a small town, before selecting a jury for opposing counsel is never something that is comfortable for any of us. But, once in a while, being on the side of a courtroom victory has resulted in my being contacted by the losing attorney, to ensure I am his/her secret weapon on the next case.

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