2’s Company – Magnus Insights

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Cleaning the Closet

May 2nd, 2019|

When we have lulls in “real work,” we have a to do list that keeps us from getting bored. At the top of that list recently was cleaning out the equipment closet. The equipment closet is where we store an array of items required for our work. You might think, by looking in our closet, that we’re an audio-visual company. (We’re not, but video recordings are a big part of our “end product” or “deliverables.”) It contains video cameras, tripods, tons of cables, plus cargo cases to pack all of it for the road or for air travel. Though we’ve

Feed the lawyers

April 23rd, 2019|

In a previous post, David and I discussed the challenges we have faced with some of our clients, who did not think we should provide food and beverages to the mock jurors and other research participants who work with us on a case. Sad, but true. Somewhat more surprisingly, we have had other clients who would not authorize Magnus to order lunch or dinner for the attorneys who were working with us on a research day. These clients, who also happen to be attorneys, instructed us not to allow the attorneys who worked in their law firm to order any

Trials and Photography

April 18th, 2019|

I was writing a report recently and recommended that a client “focus” the jurors’ attention on a certain point. Given my 40+ years of photographic experience, I decided to test myself with this post to see if I can come up with analogies and metaphors between photography and litigation/trials. Focus is the starting point because it is important for attorneys to direct the audience (jurors, judge, opposing counsel) to see your focal point and shed some light on the subject. All of these are descriptions valid for photography, as well as litigation and/or trials. Further, sometimes during a trial, the

Feed the mock jurors

April 16th, 2019|

Conducting mock jury research, or other research involving human participants, involves many things unrelated to collecting data. Food and drinks are an important part of the work we do on behalf of our clients. Not only do we compensate our research participants for their time and effort in attending our mock juries and focus groups, we provide food and drinks to them. They spend many hours working with us on our cases and it would be both thoughtless and improper to mistreat them by withholding food and drinks from them. Some of Magnus’ clients have not understood the consequences of

Tell no one what we do

March 5th, 2019|

An oddity of my job as a jury/trial consultant is not being able to share the details of my work with family, friends, or anyone, ever. All of the cases in which Magnus consults are high stakes matters, regardless of whether they are civil or criminal trials. Everyone who is employed by Magnus, including David and me, are required by our clients to maintain strict confidentiality regarding their cases. Some of our clients, in fact, require everyone at Magnus who works on their case to sign confidentiality and non disclosure agreements as a prerequisite to our retention. Our work is


February 14th, 2019|

One uses a lever to gain leverage in order to be able to move something easier than moving it without the lever. I don’t know a great deal about physics, but I get this. And, it is important to look for leverage in life, in business, and in our world, the world of litigation. There are multiple forms of leverage that come into play at various points in litigation. But, the one that prompts me to write this post is mock jury research results. I recently had lunch with a prospective client who was intrigued at how a colleague of

Cindy’s Question

January 31st, 2019|

We recently experienced one of our worst nightmares in our trial consulting business. A case on which we had been working for many months, and for which we had been planning a large scale mock trial, settled a few weeks before the mock trial was scheduled. I’m sure it was a good result for the end client, but for us, and the lawyers involved, it meant that all the billings stopped abruptly. For us, the six figure project was over, done. All of the sudden, the work that would keep us busy, and the cash flowing, was gone. We suddenly

Crazy Courthouse Story #3 Bombscare

January 29th, 2019|

My first crazy courthouse story happened in the Lee County Courthouse in my hometown, Fort Myers, Florida and this post, the third in the series, is also about an event that happened in the Lee County Courthouse. As with rental cars, airplanes, hotels, and other places and things I frequent, I spend a lot of time in courthouses. I once had to count the number of jury selections in which I had been involved in order to testify as an expert witness and that count, many years ago, was almost 200. I have since lost count of the number of

Juror Background Checks

January 24th, 2019|

The only universal recommendation we make to clients these days regarding trial strategies is to be prepared to have background checks conducted on the potential jurors. Though this practice must be done with some care, and with the observation of a few Bar rules, it is important to prepare for background checks early. I have become aware of several firms offering this service as an ancillary to the work of trial consultants. I also know that some law firms prefer to use their staff to do this, to save money or to create additional billable hours. However it is done,

Crazy Courthouse Story #2 calendars idea

January 22nd, 2019|

Second in the series on crazy courthouse stories is the Courthouses of Florida idea I had while working in courthouses all over my home state of Florida. Over the years when I have worked for attorneys during the jury selection process, I have observed their fondness for courthouses. They often regale me with stories about a case they once had, or a judge they once knew, or a jury they once had on a big case, but, in addition, many of my clients express a nostalgic feeling about a certain courthouse due to its architecture or another feature. These expressions