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Little Caesars: Lawyers Avoid the Fine Print

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I love the new Little Caesar’scommercial.
There’re so many good things going on here. (Yes, apparently, Little Caesar’s is still in operation — news to me.) The lawyers are preposterously stuffy. They’re ordering pizza by committee — a group of 5. They’re all male. There’s a token black attorney. The law firm name is silly — it hints at rampant nepotism. The receptionist/paralegal knows more than the lawyers. They bluster about ‘wins’ great and small — small, here. They’re self-congratulatory.
Another win for Smingleberry, Smingleberry & Smingleberry!’ (Cue awkward high fives!)
For a pizza chain, Little Caesar’s is pretty spot on with all of these lawyer tropes, many of which are true.
I laugh pretty much every damn time I see this commercial. Of course, I’m not going to order a pizza from Little Caesar’s. Even if I was so inclined (to order delivery pizza), I probably still wouldn’t use Little Caesar’s, in particular, because the primary message behind the commercial is that Little Caesar’s isn’t exactly encouraging of online ordering. You mean I have to talk to another person? I don’t think so. . . . Well, that might work now.
That notion creates, what is probably an unintentional, but another compelling, subplot. The lawyers aren’t ordering pizza online because they have to read and agree to terms respecting that service, composed of a bunch of ‘legalese’. Well, then. Now, the layperson might think: who better equipped to read something like that: that’s what lawyers do all day long! But, this is exactly why I think this idea might have been floated by Little Caesar’s’ in-house counsel: it gets after an essential truth about lawyers that the general public does not well understand:
That lawyers are just as uncomfortable with legalese as most people are — and maybe more so, actually, because they understand that the grey areas are greyer than most people even imagine them to be. Have a conversation about ethics with any new lawyer — they’re petrified, absolutely paralyzed by fever dreams of worst case scenarios. Lawyers are trained to establish contingency plans for every conceivable outcome; only, they know better than anyone that situations routinely arise that no one has planned for, and that fact patterns never burrow according to their engineers’ best laid plans. It is true that no terms of service, service level agreement, conditions of use, is a script: these can’t predict and lay out each eventuality that may arise — no contract can; so, it’s really no wonder that lawyers are wary of all of them, especially because they don’t have control of the contract design, in many cases. (Google drafts and presents the contract — try negotiating.) Hyper-intelligent control freaks, imagining every bad angle, unable to pull the trigger on an unsure outcome — well, sure.
The natural consequence of this is that many attorneys will just give up. Rather than try to understand the agreement between vendor and client at a high level, and accept that a reasonable recipe of data security is all that is required, lawyers will instead decide to just forgo what amounts to an additional efficiency, and will occasionally disavow an entire species of products.
I have to order pizza online, and agree to terms of service — I’ll just call it in and pick it up!
I have to encrypt data on a cloud server — I’ll just fax!
Maybe I’ll just grab a burrito.
. . .
Liner Notes
When in Rome’ by Billy Joel
It is truly unfortunate that Billy Joel has not released an album since 1993, and that he now bides his time backbiting his own catalogue, for which no apologies are necessary.
It ain’t cool to like Billy Joel (unless you’re a rapper). But, I think history will be kind to his music.
And, while it would be awesome if he made a Yusuf Islam-style comeback, I can appreciate that he went out on top — and stayed out. That’s not easy to do.

CATEGORIES: Law Firm Management | Planning | Risk Management | Technology

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