“Row well, and live”

Ben-Hur_

© 1959 Warner Bros.

I love this line from the movie, Ben-Hur, and in fact, I often quote it to my employees, but I am not really the terrible employer this line might make me out to be! However, sometimes, I consult with employers who often think their workers are their servants, and the employers seek to craft employment agreements which go beyond the mark. Employers often include provisions in their employment agreements that seek to prohibit employees from working in similar businesses or locations once they leave. Commonly known as “non-competes” or “non-competition agreements” these provisions often create issues between employers and their former workers.  Continue reading

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“Cause You Know Words Sometimes Have Two Meanings”

Navajo petroglyph panel in Largo Canyon, New Mexico

Last week my wife and I celebrated 36 years of marriage, and we toured New Mexico. If there was a sight to see we saw it, or did our best to do. Of particular note we visited a number of Native American sites such as Salmon Ruins, Chimney Rock and Chaco Canyon. At each of these locations are the remains of massive stone buildings built by a people who inhabited the area over a thousand years ago. While we know that some of their descendants inhabit the region today, we do not know much about the people who lived so long ago. Certainly among some of their descendants their memory lives on in oral traditions, but the details about the lives of these ancient peoples are lost to us although researchers are doing their best to make educated inferences as to how they lived. But because of the scanty record there is a healthy debate about who exactly these people were.   Continue reading

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

 

Businessman

So, the last of the wedding festivities are over. We had a reception for our daughter and her husband at the local Dinosaur Museum; all I can say is that while it was quirky it was a lot of fun. As my daughter said when we were discussing venues, “Why wouldn’t you want a reception in a dinosaur museum?” Which kinda, not really, leads me to the subject of this week’s blog. While in the Army I had a friend who would always say, “We don’t know what we don’t know.”

When you think about it this makes sense because if we are not trained in a particular area it should not be surprising that our ignorance is compounded by what we don’t know. Take for example a recent client I met with. She and her business partner bought documents from a well-known online document provider. Now her relationship with her business partner is ending and there is a fight brewing over who owns what.

Like many, this person thought lawyers just created documents and forms. This is partly true, but what lawyers provide is knowledge. The documents this client and her partner signed all have meaning, and each document will have an impact on the outcome of her situation; however, neither she nor her partner know what they mean.  I was able to tell her this much when we met: it will cost a great deal more to figure what these documents mean now than it would have if she had come to see me prior to signing everything. But she got exactly what she paid for. She bought forms from a company that advertises it is not a law firm, and she got exactly that. What she didn’t get was the legal counsel she needed.

There is no doubt legal advice can be costly, but would you order a do-it-yourself brain surgery kit? Sometimes, what we don’t know can hurt us, and when it does it will invariably cost more.  When you buy exactly what you need you are never disappointed, but when you buy a cheap substitute you pay twice. No difference here. If we can help let us know; if we can’t or you don’t need our help we will tell you.

If It Isn’t Working, Fix It!

BrowniesSo we are two weeks into the New Year and my resolution to change my eating habits has already been defeated in part by a pan of home-made brownies. These are genuine, from scratch, brownies made with nuts and chocolate chips. My wife made them for a gathering at our home, and their mere presence weakened me. When they sent me a subliminal message, like Adam, I did partake. I would like to say I immediately repented, but I haven’t. I have a trick I use to fool myself; I will cut off a one inch square so as to control how much I am eating, but I then go back and cut another 5-7 squares.  Anyone out there relate? Continue reading