Fronting Money for Clients

July 14th, 2022|

One thing we learned the hard way, many years ago, is that advancing money on behalf a client is risky. On one of our first cases, we were given the verbal go ahead by an associate level attorney whose boss had told him to do so. We were very excited to work with this attorney, whom we had known for about 2 years. He was an interesting guy, a successful plaintiff’s lawyer, and we’d talked directly with him about the case. I wrote a check to our jury recruiter, advancing the up front cost to the recruiter on behalf of

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

June 16th, 2022|

“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” is a phrase used to suggest one should relax, chill out, and not worry about the little things, things which sometime seem out of one’s control. Well, that’s great. But, our “day job” as trial consultants doesn’t allow it. Neither does my prior advocation, photography. For example, when photographing people at events, the photographer has to watch the person’s expression; if it is a group of people, it is even more challenging. The photographer has to look at the eyes, the smiles, the hands, feet, etc. Ensuring things are in focus and that there

Are They Paying Attention?

June 9th, 2022|

My post about whether the mock jurors take it seriously reminded me of another aspect of this client related surprise. Watching a group of people, mock jurors, listen to the case arguments in a mock trial can sometimes be misleading. Some mock jurors are clearly engaged, others have their eyes closed, others are frantically taking notes, some are squinting (perhaps because they forgot their glasses), and others are making eye contact with the attorneys, even smiling at them. All of these visual cues are subject to being misread. Often, attorneys come into the observation room and comment on their perceptions

Do They Always Take it Seriously?

June 2nd, 2022|

A client, who had never observed a Magnus mock trial, asked the question which is the title of this post during a recent mock trial. The “they” is the mock jurors. The “it” is the case. The answer is YES! The rest of the story is that, despite the mock jurors knowing they are only to be present for a limited period of time, they “get into it.” They are told they are discussing an actual, active, case (for ethical reasons, we tell them the truth). Magnus’ jurors are randomly recruited for our mock juries and focus groups; they

The Problem With This Case is the Client.

May 26th, 2022|

An attorney client of ours recently told Melissa that his client is a problem. He said, “the problem with this case is my client.” He was pretty direct, but we’ve heard this, or some variation thereof, countless times. In this case, the client is wealthy (and accustomed to getting his way as a result). He’s “cocky” arrogant, and dismissive of other people’s opinions. He isn’t well educated, meaning he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and, rather than trying to learn from those who can educate him about the legal issues he is facing, his insecurities lead him to trying

Commercial Litigation: Benefits of a Trial Consultant, Part 3

May 12th, 2022|

In the 3rd post in the commercial litigation series, I want to bring some points together. We’ve discussed that executives are accustomed to being in charge, to being the “boss,” and that as litigants, it is often frustrating for them not to be. Also discussed is the fact their perspective may not align with decision makers’ perspectives, that is, arbitrators, juries or judges. The benefit of the reality check is a part of that perspective adjustment. Finally, in this post, I want to add another way in which commercial cases are unique. While insurance may or may not be involved,

Commercial Litigation: Benefits of a Trial Consultant, Part 2

May 5th, 2022|

This is part 2 of the benefits of a jury or trial consultant in commercial litigation. As noted in the prior post, in commercial litigation, high powered people are often involved. We have been involved in many cases in which these parties were “out for blood.” Even though the cases were “only about money,” the litigation became personal. These parties wanted their “pound of flesh.” Commercial litigation can get ugly. The perspectives of the parties are often skewed by these factors. The longer the litigation takes, the “hotter” some of these people become because they want their day in court

If You Don’t Have a Ph.D In Psychology Don’t Presume to Understand Human Nature

May 3rd, 2022|

I have written about the phenomenon of people who have no education, training, or expertise in psychology who think they know as much about human behavior as I, a psychologist, know. I am frequently asked for my opinion about someone or something, only to be told, “Well, I don’t have a degree in psychology, but I do know about my Uncle Bubba’s situation and it is different than what ‘them there’ books say.” When this happens, I usually shake my head, muster a fake smile, and wish the person well, knowing he/she will never be able to understand what

Commercial Litigation: Benefits of a Trial Consultant, Part 1

April 28th, 2022|

I had a conversation with a friend/client recently. He previously hired us in a personal injury case, but now works in a firm that does mostly commercial litigation. The question arose about what we, at Magnus, do in commercial cases. I explained that a high percentage of our cases are commercial cases. Sometimes, clients or prospective clients have a mistaken perception that we only work on personal injury cases. Nonetheless, we know there are many reasons that we, as jury or trial consultants, bring a perspective to commercial cases that is helpful in unique ways. This post is the first

If You Have to Ask the Price…

April 21st, 2022|

The old adage, “if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it” came to mind when speaking with a client recently. He asked for a menu of services with prices. This is something that we, at Magnus, have never published because our fees/prices vary depending on the specific details of a case. During our discussion, the client came to understand the difficulties of creating such a price list. Yet, I get it. I am frustrated when I look at something for sale and I can’t see the price tag. In some cases, there is no price tag; other