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

False Positives

April 7th, 2022|

False positives are research or test results that are inaccurate and make one think the result is positive, when in fact, it is negative. With a medical test, for example, it could mean a blood test result indicates a problem when there isn’t one. There are, of course, false negatives, but I think in the context of trial consulting, our concern is more often about false positive. That is, we are concerned about getting mock jury results that make our client’s case look better than it is. We strive to ensure that our results are objective and we fear

By the Numbers

March 24th, 2022|

Periodically, I evaluate Magnus’ “numbers” on case types, history, venues, and clients. By this, I mean I classify the cases on which we’ve worked since the last time I “ran the numbers.” I, long ago, created spreadsheets for this purpose and I simply tally the new cases by client, category, venue, etc. It is relatively easy to do and it is instructive to Melissa and me in knowing where our action is. One thing about numbers, in this case, percentages, is how slowly they change. For example, when I first did this, perhaps 25 years ago, we did over

I Can’t Drive to the Interview; Can You Skype?

March 10th, 2022|

Many years ago, I came up with the title to this post, “I Can’t Drive to the Interview; Can You Skype?” Skype was new and I was not familiar with it when a job applicant asked this question. Back then, the idea of not meeting an applicant in person was foreign. I realize how things have changed, but I still can’t imagine hiring someone who has only been “seen” in the 2 dimensional world of a video screen. But, that’s not really my point. Hiring someone is a big decision. We’ve been through the process many times and that process

Refocusing “on the Fly”

March 3rd, 2022|

As the saying goes, the best laid plans… Change is part of our everyday existence as litigation consultants, especially in our world of keeping up with lawyers. We’re down in the chain of command, thus, when things change for our clients, they change for us. Just today, a lawyer calles about a change in his trial date (the 3rd or 4th change actually) so we have to adjust to the changes he faces. Today is also a day for which we had plans – a list of things to accomplish. Guess what, the phone rang. Emails arrived. The original plans

I Can’t Wait to Write a Survey

March 1st, 2022|

As a follow up to my previous post pertaining to things I love about my job, among my favorite work tasks is writing a survey. (Another of my favorite tasks is analyzing survey results, but I have written about that in a prior post.) Not only is writing a survey intellectually stimulating, the mere fact I have a survey to write means we have important work to do for a client. Hooray for client work! The activities involved in my survey preparation are: (1) read copious amounts of legal documents, provided by the client, about the case on which we