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

10 Things I Love About My Job

February 22nd, 2022|

I love my job! I truly do! My dear friend, Bob, has called me a workaholic since we met in 1980. I am a person who really likes to work! Being bored is not for me. I decided to think about the top 10 things I like about my job as a jury/trial consultant, which I have been performing since 1989. Here they are, in no particular order: 1. I like to help people. When Magnus’ clients contact us, they always have a problem they cannot solve without our help. It is rewarding to me to be trusted to

Rust Never Sleeps

February 10th, 2022|

The trigger for this post was my need to prepare some paperwork for a client recently. It had been a few months since I had done this particular paperwork and, I’ll admit, I felt rusty. Rusty in the sense that it wasn’t as smooth a process as I would have preferred. When I realized it felt rusty, Neil Young’s phrase, turned album title (1979), Rust Never Sleeps came to mind – that’s just how my mind works sometimes. With acknowledgment of Mr. Young’s contribution, I wanted to talk about this phenomenon. It is difficult for a person to always

Calculated Risk

February 3rd, 2022|

For a number of years, Melissa spoke to law students at Stetson University at the invitation of the late Professor Mickey Smiley. Professor Smiley did his students a favor, which I hope they later appreciated, of inviting successful trial lawyers, and at least 1 trial consultant, (Melissa) to speak to his trial skills class to bring some real life to academia. He was present to introduce the speaker and to facilitate questions afterwards. In an introduction of Melissa he once said, “Litigation involves risks. A Trial consultant helps calculate those risks.” I liked that. I wrote it down and

Illuminating Litigation

January 27th, 2022|

Many years ago an attorney shared with me why he liked conducting mock trials on his cases. He said that litigation without jury research is like driving in the dark without headlights. I’m not willing to say that trial lawyers are always driving in the dark, but I agree with his premise: mock jury research (or mock mediation/arbitration research) illuminates the problems in a case. Seeing, or being aware of, the problem provides an opportunity to diffuse that problem or remediate the impact of a problem in the case. Few cases are without “warts.” Sometimes it is an imperfect

Pay to Play

January 20th, 2022|

I’m writing this post after having recently received a solicitation from an attorney group asking for speakers for a big annual event. The “invitation” included a price list of what they expected speakers to pay. Despite the fact the audience would be perfect for us, marketing wise, Melissa immediately rejected the idea as something prohibited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Who knows when the pay to play issue heated up in the academic world, but it was in the last 25 years or so that it seemed to grow when university professors were paying to publish academic papers

COVID-19 Jury Composition Conjecture

January 13th, 2022|

As trial consultants we try to stay current by reading lots of newspapers, journals, and magazines. Recently, I’ve noticed people writing about the composition of juries post COVID-19 (not that COVID-19 is over, “post” in this context merely indicates a world where COVID-19 came into being). Because of the politicization of COVID-19, vaccines, masks, etc., and because of the CDC guidelines, courthouse closures, the world of jury trials has been shaken. The practice of law has changed in many ways, some permanently. The willingness of ordinary citizens who are called for jury duty has been impacted as well. People