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Judges are People: Some are nice and others, not so nice

March 24th, 2020|

Judges are people, just like the rest of us. There are many types of judges, young, old, women, men, smart, not so smart, nice, and not nice. In my years of working as a jury/trial consultant, I have encountered many judges. I have met judges during hundreds of jury selections; I have made presentations with judges as audience members; some of my clients are/were former judges; some of my clients have become judges; and I was once in a rock band with a judge (obviously, a pretty cool judge!). Therefore, unlike most people, I have a lot of familiarity with

Trial Team Crew

March 19th, 2020|

Once again, I was reminded about the people who support the lead trial attorney. The lead attorney and 2nd chair attorneys get the attention, like the rock star. Like Ozzy, Mick, or Geddy, who are lead singers, the lead attorneys are in the spotlight (or hot seat). But, behind them, there is often a small army, or at least a platoon. The associates, paralegals, assistants, secretaries, receptionists, IT staff, and experts, consultants and many others work in support roles to assist the lead attorney in all aspects of litigation. As trial consultants, we depend on various parts of this army

Free Advice on Selecting a Jury

March 3rd, 2020|

As a follow up to my previous post regarding my day of jury duty, this post will involve some free advice to attorneys. I rarely provide free advice, but my observations during my jury service warrant it. When the plaintiff’s attorney in the automobile accident case on which I was a prospective juror began to question me about my suitability as a juror in the case, the first question he asked me was whether I was critiquing his jury selection strategy. Both he and I knew the answer to his question was a resounding, “Yes, of course!”, however, I replied,

A Jury Consultant’s View of Jury Duty

February 25th, 2020|

I recently had the privilege of being summoned to appear for jury duty in Broward County, Florida, where I have lived for almost 30 years. Unlike almost everyone I know, I was not dismayed, afraid, or angry to receive my jury summons. I was, in fact, somewhat happy about it, as well as hopeful that, while it was doubtful I would ever be selected for the jury, I would at least make it to the voir dire process that is part of every jury selection. I made it! I was Juror #4, seated in the jury box, on a civil

Reverse Hardships: Who Wants to Be Here?

February 18th, 2020|

I have assisted attorneys in selecting juries since 1991. That’s a long time. I have been involved in hundreds of jury selections across the U.S.A., from Alaska to Florida. Never, until recently, have I witnessed a judge asking a large panel of potential jurors the following question: “Who wants to serve as a juror on this case?”. In every case except this one, the judges inquire about the potential jurors’ hardships, defined as something that would make it difficult or impossible to be a juror. Common hardships are: financial, including not being paid by one’s employer when someone is not

2020

February 13th, 2020|

Well, here we are. It’s 2020. Lots of celebrations, talk about the new decade, and the roaring 20s. But, many of us think of it with the term “hindsight” attached, as in “hindsight is 20/20,” meaning that when looking backward, things that were once unclear become clear. Monday morning quarterbacking is related. If we see an outcome, sometimes we can see how, for better or worse, that outcome was reached. Hindsight is the opposite of foresight, which some people possess to greater degrees than others. Some people have tremendous foresight and can imagine, better than others, how things will turn

Don’t Confuse Expenses with Investments

February 6th, 2020|

This post is prompted by a comment made by someone with whom we frequently work in our litigation consulting business. He remarked how he hoped clients would recognize the value of our work, and his work, and see it as an investment, not just another litigation expense or cost. As I explained to someone yesterday, someone who called to inquire about a “focus group,” I know the services we offer are expensive. There is no doubt about that, even though we know we are not as expensive as some of our competitors. (Nor are we as inexpensive as others. But

False Equivalents

January 23rd, 2020|

Melissa and I do our best to keep politics out of these posts, as well as our professional lives. So, this is the disclaimer, this post is not about specific politics, politicians, or even impeachment, though the topic arises from various political battles of the day. Unfortunately, I need to set the stage for my post with some political context. During the recent investigations related, mostly, to the President, leading up to and including the impeachment, there has been a narrative that attempts to conflate what he is accused of having done with what others are alleged to have done.

Whistleblowing isn’t easy

January 16th, 2020|

Much has been in the news lately about people blowing whistles on allegations of corruption and abuse. Without discussing these specific situations, I want to address the act of sounding an alarm, or blowing a whistle. I have written something on this previously, but it warrants revisiting. I will start by saying that, if you haven’t been there, you may not comprehend this, but, I’ve been there. I’ve been a whistleblower. In fact, both Melissa and I have been there. And, taking a stand against what we saw as fraudulent acts by our then employer has had long term costs

Pro bono work – why do it

January 14th, 2020|

In the almost 30 years David and I have owned and operated Magnus Research Consultants, we have been privileged to work on several high profile pro bono cases. Pro bono means “for the public good” and it is usually performed by attorneys for free, that is, at no cost to their clients. Many lawyers are committed to working on pro bono cases; in fact, large law firms often have a pro bono practice in which several attorneys work on behalf of their clients. Magnus has been involved in some horrifying pro bono cases, including mentally ill prisoners who were abused;