Top Reasons to Do Litigation Research

March 16th, 2023|

It seems that “top 5 or top 10″ lists are popular in many areas. They are often entertaining; the show “Family Feud” is built on them. Late night talk shows thrive on them, going back at least to Johnny Carson. Thus, I thought I’d list a few of the top reasons for conducting mock jury, focus group, and other related litigation research. Although they are many reasons, here are some of the most common reasons expressed by clients: 1) Evaluate the liability and damages issues in a case. This one is obvious, except that many times it has a back

Managing Expectations

March 2nd, 2023|

This is the third post in a series on professionalism. This one is about making “keepable promises” with regard to deadlines and deliverables. We, at Magnus, work in a world with many deadlines; very often, these are deadlines beyond the control of our clients. That is, judges set trial dates and discovery deadlines with which the lawyers must comply. Of course, waiting until a deadline is imposed is not optimal, but that is another story. In our world, when we are asked to provide services like a focus group or mock trial, there is a “ramp up” period. Things

Be Professional

February 16th, 2023|

This is a topic I’ve had on my “to be written” list for a long time. I’m prompted to write it now based on having been on the client side of working with a lawyer. Having been the client of lawyers on several occasions, I can say I much prefer the relationship in which the lawyer is my client. In this case, my brothers and I engaged a lawyer to continue the estate planning work we started long before our parents passed away. The lawyer did a reasonably good job in the early planning phase, but as we learned after

Biggest Marketing Changes in 30 Years

February 9th, 2023|

Recently, Melissa and I have been talking with a long time client about an issue we have, and he has, identified as being a challenge for us, and him, as a trial lawyer/mentor. That is, the “new generation” of litigators/trial lawyers lack experience with trial consultants. In a recent, eye-opening, conversation that included his young associate, the associate asked“what is a trial consultant?”. In some ways, this question takes me back to my early days in the trial/jury consulting business, and my attempts to craft an “elevator” speech to explain what we do. At that time, trial consulting was new

Litigation Management Success Tips

February 2nd, 2023|

I am a bit behind in my reading and I just finished a September 2020 CLM Magazine article by James McKeown entitled Rules of the Road: Five Tips for Successful Claims and Litigation Management. Mr. McKeown wrote this article aimed at claims professionals and the attorneys involved in the defense of claims. His 5 tips are: 1) Write your claims notes like you may get abducted by aliens on the way to your deposition. (His point is to be sure someone could pick up where you left off if necessary.) 2) No surprises please. 3) Manage Expectations. 4) Don’t

Why I’m a social psychologist

January 31st, 2023|

In my almost 4 decades of being a social psychologist, few people have asked me why I decided on a career in social psychology. Maybe it’s not too interesting to find out why people choose a career, maybe there’s something else to discuss, or maybe the topic never occurred to the people with whom I interact, but whatever the reason, I have only had a few occasions to explain my career choice to anyone. For this reason, I will take this opportunity to tell the world why I decided to become a social psychologist. Like many undergraduate students who

Show, Don’t Tell

January 26th, 2023|

Melissa and I wrote employee policy manuals and other training materials before we had employees. I am thinking about those today because I added a small update to the policy manual yesterday, thinking that it had been a long time since I had added anything. But, while the policy manual is pretty well set, the training materials require much more effort to keep up to date. Why? Well, we have modified our protocols over time, added components, and removed others. For example, our procedure of using cassette recorders as a back up to our video recordings was discontinued long

Psychologists Don’t Get Cheap Deals in Vegas – Lawyers Can

January 24th, 2023|

As a follow up to my previous post about psychologists and lawyers seeing the world differently, one particular distinction between people in these 2 professions is their understanding of statistics, including probability, and the impact of this distinction on the conferences they attend. I’m sure the reader is wondering what statistics and conferences could possibly have to do with one another, so let me explain. Because psychology is a scientifically based profession, graduate school includes courses in statistics. Even clinical psychologists and similar practitioners are required to study statistics because they need to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatments

Psychologists and Lawyers See the World Differently

January 17th, 2023|

As I have stated in previous posts, I have had an interesting career, primarily because I have spent almost all of my professional life working with attorneys instead of with colleagues. Furthermore, my definition of “colleague” is narrow, in that I consider only other social psychologists as colleagues. The field of psychology is large, with most psychologists working in clinical practice and relatively few defining themselves as social psychologists or social/personality psychologists. Even larger than the profession of psychology is the legal profession. As a point of comparison, there are over 133,000 members of the American Psychological Association, while the

Jury is Greater than the Sum of Individual Juror Parts

January 10th, 2023|

Social psychology is the scientific study of how people behave in groups. There are many areas of research within social psychology, however, they share a common focus on how individual and group interactions are shaped by one’s external environment, specifically, other people. Numerous research findings have demonstrated the impact of the group on individual performance, with some studies revealing a positive effect and others, a negative effect. Positive effects of a group on individuals include satisfying our need for belonging, obtaining information, and defining social identity. Negative effects of groups on their members include groupthink, social loafing, and mob behavior.