2’s Company – Magnus Insights

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November 7th, 2019|

A client who has made several comments that have prompted prior blogs mentioned recently that, sometimes, things look great in the war room, but in the bright lights of the courtroom, they fall flat. I think he made a great point. As a photographer, I know that one of the keys to success in photography is photographing things in the right light. That is, the light most flattering to the subject. This could be front light, back light, side light, Rembrant lighting, low key, high key, and so on. Sometimes the light is too hot, sometimes it is too dim,

Which Path?

October 31st, 2019|

I was recently contemplating a question commonly asked by our clients – which alternative is best? For example, a client recently asked, “We can call the situation a complication, we can call it unforeseen, we can call it an accident; which is best?” For whatever reason that day, my mind did, as it often does, thought of song lyrics. So, with apologies to Led Zeppelin, I’ll reveal that what I thought of were the words to one of the top songs of all time (“Stairway to Heaven”), which goes like this: Yes, there are two paths you can go by

Trial Consultant as Secret Weapons

October 10th, 2019|

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

Talk to the Boss

October 3rd, 2019|

Many years ago when we were first starting Magnus, we learned a lesson, the hard way, about trusting clients, even prior clients, or their associates, when making research plans. We met with a client from our prior employer, at his request, and we came up a research plan for one of his cases. After the meeting, I sent a proposal, and because the attorney was busy and traveling, I communicated with the associate attorney working for the lead attorney – the prior client. He confirmed the research plans and assured us that everything was on track. Time was tight and

“What’s the next case going to be?”

September 19th, 2019|

Glass laminates, carpet glue, yacht paint, windshield wiper technology, medical negligence, accounting malpractice, legal malpractice, burns, brain damaged babies, dog bites, hurricane damage – to coffee, hurricane building damage, construction defects, government taking of land (eminent domain), murder, rape, cruise ship based crimes, cruise ship excursions gone wrong, toxic chemicals, environmental damage, celebrities accused of acting badly, sick buildings, automobile vs. automobiles or trucks, motorcycles vs. cars or trucks, hearing loss, fires, nursing home deaths, artificial insemination gone wrong, stock broker misconduct, and medical experimentation. What these all have in common is that they are a sample of the types

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