Trial Consulting and “The Simpsons”

The reader may wonder, based on the title of this post, what is the connection between trial consulting and “The Simpsons.” No, trial consulting is not cartoonish, it is not usually funny, and our clients don’t say “D’oh!” like Homer Simpson when they are annoyed. The connection is merely time based and personal. I began my career as a trial consultant working for Litigation Sciences, Inc. (LSI) in August of 1989. “The Simpsons,” after appearing as a short feature on “The Tracey Ullman Show” for several years, debuted as a prime time sitcom on December 17, 1989. Since then, “The Simpsons” has been my favorite television show, much to the surprise of almost everyone who doesn’t know me well. Although Homer and Marge Simpson are fictional, and perpetually 39 years old, the three of us have a lot in common! Their zany adventures and hilarious adventures remind me of those in which my friends and I have participated. Then, there is Lisa Simpson, the nerdy musician who is tolerated, more or less, by her more worldly older brother. A familiar theme in my life, even though I have two older brothers who do their best to tolerate me! When I began my long career as a trial consultant, I had no idea where I would go, what I would do, who I would meet, or whether I would succeed, but, just like Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, and the rest of the fictional cast of TV’s longest running show (having surpassed the 635 episodes of “Gunsmoke” recently), here I am, almost 30 years later, still working and enjoying working as much as ever. It is sometimes said that nothing lasts forever, but for as long as my career as a social psychologist who works as a trial consultant lasts, I am committed to providing high quality work to Magnus’ clients. It is impossible to know what the future holds, but “The Simpsons” and I must be doing something right; we have succeeded when many others have failed. Stay tuned for more episodes!

Melissa and I have been together, personally and professionally, for longer than Simpsons. While I enjoy the show, she’s a bigger fan. And one thing about watching the series is that the path each episode will follow from beginning to end is never clear until the show is over! Each episode takes twists and turns that viewers never anticipate. The same is true of the cases on which we work as trial consultants. We know we don’t get hired on the simple cases; thus, the twists and turns in complex cases are sometimes the reasons we get hired. But, even when we are first hired on a case, as we get involved, we often find twists, some of which our clients had missed. Certainly one of the reasons we’re hired is to seek out the twists, and find ways to straighten the path to a successful outcome. Some of those paths can’t be cleared, but there may be obstacles to try to smooth out and overcome. I know Melissa and I will forever remember some of the unusual story line diversions in the cases, diversions that no one anticipated, such as the grandmother of the decedent who got so hysterical while testifying, through an interpreter, during a trial that she ran off the witness stand shedding her clothes as she exited the courtroom. Few plot twists are that extreme, but some are so extreme that they would not have been considered even realistic enough for The Simpsons!

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