2’s Company – Magnus Insights

Home/2's Company - Magnus Insights

Hiring an Unqualified Consultant is Like…

September 17th, 2019|

As I write this, David is attending a series of out of town marketing meetings. David is meeting with clients, as well as with prospective clients, in the never ending task of obtaining new business for Magnus. Even though my career is nothing new and I have been working in the field of litigation consulting for 30 years, I am constantly amazed at the absence of sophistication of some attorneys when it comes to hiring a jury/trial/litigation consultant. When scheduling a meeting with one prospective client, David was quickly dismissed with the statement, “I’m happy with my current consultant.” This,

Never Hired a Trial Consultant?

August 29th, 2019|

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 we refer to what we do as research. That’s what it is, to us, social science research. But “research” means different things to attorneys. When you are considering your first time working with a trial consultant, there are some important things to know. (This post

Sunk Costs

August 15th, 2019|

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 spent so much money on this potentially multi million dollar case that he was not sure he could get the partners to agree to put more money into it. As we discussed the situation, in which they represent the plaintiff who is seeking a multi

How much risk can you take off the table?

August 1st, 2019|

A recent lunch with a client involved an interesting discussion of how to convince “end” clients to spend money on mock jury research. For those who don’t know, in some cases, the lawyers advance the expenses, including expenses for things such as mock trials, and in others, they expect the actual client, the “end client,” whether an individual, corporation, or insurance company, to advance those expenses. Our discussion involved a reality of litigation such as there are many variables which affect case outcome. These “risk” factors can be things like the likability of the parties involved on either side, the

10,000 Hours

July 25th, 2019|

There is considerable research on what level of effort is required to perform at “master” or “expert” level at a variety of skills. Malcolm Gladwell expounded on this concept in his 2008 book, Outliers. Much of the focus of this research has revolved around becoming expert at a skill like chess or mastering a musical instrument. While there is considerable debate about whether it is a hard rule that 10,000 hours are required to become a master and whether other factors are essential (e.g., innate talent and age when beginning the endeavor), the point remains, practice does improve performance. Whether

Confirmation Bias, Part 2

July 11th, 2019|

In thinking about my prior post on confirmation bias, I thought about one aspect of being hired as a professional trial consultant. It happens that I recently saw an announcement of a bar association seminar on do it yourself (DIY) mock trials. I know that mock trials are often expensive when conducted by a qualified trial consultant (what constitutes the distinction of “qualified” has been the topic of other posts). I get it, sometimes a case does not warrant the cost of a professional. But just as other DIY projects, DIY mock juries often suffer from the lack of expertise

Confirmation Bias, Part 1

July 4th, 2019|

I read an article recently about confirmation bias and how it negatively impacts social science research and progress. Confirmation bias is “the tendency to seek, interpret, and create information in ways that verify existing beliefs.” (Brehm & Kassin, Social Psychology, 1989. Which is, coincidentally, a textbook for which Melissa co-authored the Instructor’s Manual and Study Guide.) Confirmation bias happened when one sticks to what one already believes despite conflicting, or contradictory, information. Often, the initial belief is based on incomplete information or, perhaps, new information is developed over time that is contrary to the old information. It is not always

It’s all Marketing

June 27th, 2019|

I will admit, I probably have a bias. Both my undergraduate and graduate business degrees had a strong emphasis on marketing. Therefore, in the context of operating a small business, I am cognizant of details that create impressions. As a result, it seems to me that almost everything done in a business is marketing. The way the phone is answered creates an impression. The look of a proposal is marketing. The tidiness of a piece of mail that will land in someone’s hands. The absence of typos in a report. The look of the brochure, the report, the website, or

Dress for Success

June 25th, 2019|

In the 1980s, “Dress for Success” was in vogue for people (although, it seems, primarily women) who wanted to achieve status in the world of business. There were books about how to dress for success, as well as seminars and other related products. My (then) employer enrolled me, along with other female executives, in a Dress for Success seminar, where we spent a day learning about the colors that accentuated our appearance, how to conduct ourselves in meetings, and generally, proper attire and etiquette in our professional lives. Once again, thanks to my mother, I was miles ahead of the

Jury Consultants Are Not Just for Jury Trials

June 20th, 2019|

In the vein of prior posts, this is an attempt to clarify another misconception about what we do as trial or jury consultants. Usually in the context of an introduction, I hear what might be called “sales objections.” There are varieties of these objections, but one is this, if introduced as a “jury consultant” I sometimes hear a retort, “Well, we never do jury trials, we only _______.” The blank is typically either “settle our cases at mediation,” “do bench trials” or “resolve cases in arbitrations.” For the first one, see the prior post, Trial Consultants Are Not Just for