We recently wrote that lawyers are people too. It has been interesting for me to watch client reactions when Melissa occasionally finds herself needing to remind the attorney/clients that judges are people also. Once an attorney becomes a judge, and puts on the black (usually) robe, a new relationship develops between their former colleagues and them. Some of this is a matter of position power, some of it is to avoid conflicts of interest. Some new judges may let their power go to their head, but some of this is an artificially created perspective, which is the reason Melissa has
The older I get, the more I choose to spend time with nice people and the less time I choose to spend with mean people. My philosophy has evolved to include family members, spouses of family members, friends, spouses of friends, and clients. Even though clients, unlike the other categories of people I have listed, are paying me to spend time with them, I limit the time I spend with clients to those who conduct themselves in a professional manner, who treat my staff and me with respect, and who value my role on their trial team. I am not
In any industry, business, or practice, one gets to know one’s colleagues/competitors. And, we have, in the past 30 years, seen the gamut of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Melissa started her career with Litigation Sciences, Inc. and many of the consultants who were affiliated with LSI remain among the top consultants in the country. There are many other highly educated, qualified consultants around the U.S. However, going forward on this post, I want to comment on some who fall into the bad and the ugly categories. Without naming names, I provide these examples because it sometimes seems
Clients are people too. I repeat, clients are people too. This may seem obvious to the astute reader, however, there have been many occasions on which I have had to remind my staff to treat our clients like people, instead of merely treating them like clients. Magnus’ clients are high powered attorneys, insurance adjusters, risk managers, and other executives. Our clients are paying us handsomely to help them with the challenges they face in their high stakes litigation. The lawsuits for which my company is retained range from multi millions to multi billions of dollars. Often, our clients are nervous
In the early to mid 1980s, my business partner/wife was on a team conducting research in the realm of eyewitness identification. The research was funded by the National Institute of Justice and the National Science Foundation and she, and the others on the team, evaluated different aspects of eyewitness identification. One aspect of that research, as reported in Bothwell, R.K., Brigham, J.C., & Pigott, M.A. (1987) An exploratory study of personality differences in eyewitness memory, Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 2 (3), 335-343, focused on the confidence of eyewitnesses. One conclusion of the study was that confident eyewitnesses, those
In a prior post which I initiated, I wrote about how not to do jury research. That post was prompted by a call from a prospective client who wanted to hire us, but wanted to specify every aspect of the research, but all of those approaches were wrong in our estimation. Specifically, he wanted the research done for this case in his, and our, home venue in SE Florida. But, the case was not being tried in SE Florida. It was in a large venue, 4 hours away on the central west coast of Florida – a very different place.
This post builds on the evolution of our experiences as trial consultants and goes further back in that history than a related post on a similar topic. When Melissa and I first developed the marketing materials for our new trial consulting practice (in 1993), we started from scratch on everything. In time, we developed brochures, slide shows (before PowerPoint) and even, in 1996, our first website. As someone with a marketing background, I thought it was important to have a simple tagline to use to explain what we do. After considerable thought, we tried “Reducing Uncertainty” as a way
As trial consultants, we work in a field where defining “success” is somewhat elusive. We have talked around this in other posts, but will explain it further in this one. In the civil arena in which we work most often, the outcome variables are a verdict comprised of liability and damages. While lawyer advertising often touts successes like “My lawyer won me $1 million” the reality is that defining success is not quite that simple. To quote a lawyer I heard at a conference once, the best way to get a $1 million verdict is to start with a case
When I am wearing my marketing hat (one of many hats I wear, as discussed in other posts), I often find myself looking for ways to explain what a trial consultant does for a trial lawyer. As hard as it is for me to repeatedly explain, after 25+ years in this field, I frequently find myself explaining the basics. This is less surprising with young lawyers, though some of them are exposed to trial consultants in law school. But this is also true with lawyers with 10+ years of experience who have never been educated on the subject, and have
In writing about the window of opportunity for trial consulting, I reflected on who are our “best” clients, and why. Our best clients are the attorneys who “get it” – who understand what we do, what goes into it, and what they will get out of it. But, how do they know these things? They have done it before – they took the first step and hired a trial consultant, hopefully us, for the first time. But, why did they do that? Many of them have reported to us that they had previously been surprised by a jury trial result.