2’s Company – Magnus Insights

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Pioneering Eyewitness Identification Research Confirmed

May 25th, 2017|

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

Alternative Venue Research

May 18th, 2017|

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.

Reducing Uncertainty

May 11th, 2017|

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

Defining Success

May 4th, 2017|

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

Debugging the Case

April 27th, 2017|

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

Won some should have lost; lost some should have won

April 20th, 2017|

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.

Window of Opportunity for Trial Consulting Work

April 13th, 2017|

Recently I’ve received calls from attorneys who wanted mock jury research on their cases, but the calls have come so late that I have been reflecting on when the window of opportunity is open for mock jury research. I have mentioned this issue in other posts, but because I’m noticing this recent spate of last minute calls, I thought it deserved more discussion. The truth is, to some degree, as long as the case has not started trial, there MAY be some value to even last minute work. I say “MAY” because, when the call is a week or so

How NOT to do mock jury research!

April 6th, 2017|

I recently had a telephone call from a prospective client who wanted help with a case going to trial within 2 weeks of his call. It was a big case and he asked that we conduct mock trial research on a specific Saturday (which was 10 days after the call), in our home venue (despite the fact the actual trial was on the opposite coast of Florida), and told he me he only wanted 1 focus group panel. (Initially, he did not tell me trial was set for 2 weeks later, but that came out when we tried to work


April 4th, 2017|

We all know poseurs. Poseur is a French word derived from pose and poser and as we all know, it is used to describe someone who adopts a fake or insincere way of presenting himself/herself to others. There are all kinds of poseurs, including many politicians and celebrities, who affect their public image in ways they believe will impress others. In my work as a social psychologist, I encounter many people who are poseurs, including some of my clients and some of my colleagues. It usually doesn’t take me long to evaluate these people and reach the realization that their

Trial Consultants & Dentists

March 16th, 2017|

Okay, what do trial consultants and dentists have in common? I was prompted to think about this recently when I met a dentist who is participating in the Jim Moran Institute/Florida State University Small Business Executive Program with me. He and I were discussing how people dread going to the dentist. It is one of those universal fears. Maybe fear is the wrong word, but dread fits for most people. They fear or dread the pain, and the noise, or maybe it is the huge needles. I know it is one or more of those things for me. And, apparently,