How to predict a lawyer’s career trajectory in a small Ontario town

April 22, 2009

oldstmarysbarrieImagine yourself as a senior partner in a regional, ultra-conservative law firm.

You employ an associate attorney who does the following over her BlackBerry:

Gives an opinion (in writing no less) about a contract that (1) she hadn’t seen, (2) by unsecured email to (3) to someone she has never met while (4) relying solely on known-biased sources while (5) proclaiming on her website and weblog an expertise in the complexities of franchise law to over 200 clients ; and does this all  while not (6) charging anyone?

Organizational affiliations aside, you decide if you think she’s partner material.

I don’t know what I’d do if I were the Managing Partner. Probably get her to bill someone…

What I do know is that Cheryl and I had a bright future ahead of us as we squinted into my Mom’s Brownie at our First Communion. That’s right: just front of the second St. Mary’s Church, Barrie on Mulcaster Street…you know the spot: right across from the Sisters of St. Joseph’s Mother House.

Add On: The building in the background, I bet, still rings with the shouts of my 1972  Grade 9 classmates when an non-descript grinder named Paul Henderson saved a nation’s pride on a frozen pond in the greatest hockey game ever played. To meet a man of that humility, strength and grace that would have been great. But to re-emerge from a 10 year ordeal, with your dignity intact with Terry (25 years this June 7th) that I could have gotten behind.

Mr. and Mrs. Henderson invite you and your partners to join them tomorrow to celebrate marriage, faith,  hope and friendship in support of the David Busby Street Centre.

Tickets to eat while seeing Paul speak tomorrow, too late for caterer, I’d imagine. But I think they’d sell some standing-room-only space to you to listen to a very important message.

But why not call the United Way of Greater Simcoe County or just drop by or pledge a few bucks for a great cause at Tanglewood Golf Course on Friday after 6 pm.? I know I did.

Damn straight it’s tough times all around but hey in comparison…

With your help, I know we’re going to Move the Busby to new Digs by the end of the year.

Call now and Call often. 705-726-2301 and ask for Bethany.

She’s exceptional.

Think of it as an investment in your marriage that I bet will be repaid many times over. ;}

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Franchisees are revolting, but in a new way this time

April 11, 2009

wolfgrandmaPredatory franchisors and those that continue to profit from their action give the distinct impression that franchisees are a lower form of life. They are:

  1. Slow.
  2. Greedy.
  3. Lazy.

This part-economic, -social and -cultural discrimination performs several very important functions for the elite but most immediately it provides the intellectual grounding for:

…”liberating” franchisees’ life savings by any means possible.

This liberation helps the economy because franchisees’ life savings (by this perspective) are inefficiently husbanded by stupid people. They prove franchisees’ passivity and idiocy every day when they hawk the latest loser business model.

Franchisees deserve what they get because they are a lower form of life.

They have, in modern secular and economic terms, a life unworthy of life (lebensunwertes leben). Everyone in the mob sleeps well because they are simply slaughtering subhumans’ capital heritage for the “common economic good”. The predators are society benefactors: genetic soldiers in the inevitable sacrifice of the weak being trussed-up to feed the strong.

  • This is how the wolf sees himself: improving free enterprise by killing the weak, lame, stupid, slow,  infirm or elderly.

Some, however, are starting to see this Walter Mittyesque view differently. They see modern franchising as a:

bastardization of valid biological natural selection theory mixed in with an infantile parroting of a 4th rate intellectual “stew” of eugenics, laissez-faire dogmatism, propaganda, piracy and mind-numbing self-interest.

Don Sniegowski at Blue MauMau reports today that Over a Thousand Franchisees Demand to See Televised UPS Store Trial.

LOS ANGELES – Against opposition by United Parcel Service, Inc., some 1,400 franchise owners have requested that the Los Angeles Superior Court allow them to see on closed circuit television a class action lawsuit of The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. franchisees going up against their franchisor.

Further down in the comments, the “How-to-Contribute” is helpfully presented.

Before any valid re-ordering, chaos must reign. This seems to be the way it always happens. It starts in the city of angels but that’s not where it will end.

The cowards have always relied on the fixer but from now on, it’s beyond his reach. Memory, witness and narrative seem to have awoken from a form of spell.

upsstore, mailboxesetc, Peter Thomas

It’s over.


Can a group be betrayed directly and an individual, indirectly?

February 25, 2009

greekflagYes.

My background, references and peer group are pretty upfront. No franchise lawyer remains as a friend to my family.

There is a time to grieve a brother‘s death as an individual,  family and community.

And then a man has a duty to find out why.

The answer is often hiding in plain sight.


The Fixer: Getting professional thieves out of Trouble

January 6, 2009

fixtweedProfessional criminals have always relied on  The Fixer.

He is someone of high political, economic and career influence who solves a professional thief’s problem for a fee.

Secrecy and deceit are required because of the extra-legal nature of some of the work.

A historical example of The Fixer would be  William M. (Boss Tweed) Tweed of Tammany Hall. [see above]. Tammany Hall, likened often to a machine, ruled the City of New York from 1790 to to the 1960s.

People wonder why franchisors, franchise bankers, sales agents, the franchise bar, etc. can get away with [almost] bloody murder. A study of history of professional thievery can provide some hints:

The professional thief generally has a record in the Bureau of Identification as long as your arm, but after most of the cases “dismissed” or “no disposition” is entered. This is due to the thief’s ability to fix cases.

In order to send a thief to the penitentiary, it is necessary to have the co-operation of the victim, witnesses, police, bailiffs, clerks, grand jury, jury, prosecutor, judge, and perhaps others. A weak link in this chain can practically always be found, and any of the links can be broken if you have pressure enough. there is no one who cannot be influenced if you go at it right and have sufficient backing, financially and politically.  p. 82

Professionals within franchising make more money by fixing problems (sabotaging valid claims) than they do by solving them (reducing opportunism). It’s that simple: Less money is deducted from the theft when you fix a case, even after paying The Fixer’s fee. It is very easy for a franchise legal expert to lie to complaining investor [Credence good cheaters]. The lawyer knows that he is not under any legal duty to tell the truth until a solicitor-client relationship is created. And the proof is in the pudding: In 10 years, I know of no franchisee-lead case that would be considered a success by the investors themselves.

The fixer acquires his position with professional thieves by service. He tries to maintain a batting average of one thousand. Not all of them can do this, but their record is so good that the thief feels secure if a regular fixer is on the case. [Blonger, the Denver fixer for confidence men, had the reputation of not having one man sent to prison in twenty years under his protection.] p. 88

Modern franchising runs on political and economic influence. Our Australian friends are simply the latest who have been wised to that reality. Again, from the past:

Fixing is a mixture of finance and politics. It is primarily a financial transaction, bought and paid for by everyone concerned. But it is made possible by politics and often involves political favors as well…For the thief, fixing is almost always a financial transaction…from the point of view of coppers, clerks, and bailiffs, fixing is primarily a financial transaction…The prosecutor and judge are probably handled with more finesse.  p. 98-9

I have already used a tree as an analogy for Big Franchising (vast weight of organism is below ground: iceberg). Modern franchising has a visible and invisible nature (Overworld :: Underworld):

From the point of view of the fixer, also, this is a financial transaction. One fixer said to a thief: “Everything I get is bought and paid for, just as you pay me. No one gets any political or other favors.” The fixer can operate only if he has the consent and good will of those who are politically powerful. he may get a start on the basis of old friendships, but he can keep his position as fixer only if he kicks in. He must turn over to the political barons the larger part of what he gets from the thief, and his standing is determined by his reliability in dealing with them. p. 100

Thieves of nominally independent corporations (ie. franchisors, lenders, sales agents, legal, supply, etc.) would NEVER act with such arrogance if it were not for The Fixer’s protection racket. The weakest link is always the franchisee who 99% of the time goes away thinking they had a one-off bad luck with a cartoon-character type of franchisor thief. They are satisfied to receive 10% of their own money back and remain in silence via shame and contract. Professional franchising practitioners are, however, experienced and shrewd students of human nature.

No thief ever expects to have the bad luck to run into a case that cannot be fixed in some manner. This conclusion is not formed because of he thief’s conceit but because of his knowledge of the weaknesses and limitations of the average citizen and public official. p. 106

National franchisor associations act as a forum for coordinating Overground and Underground activities. The Fixer usually enjoys a very influential role such as Chief Counsel or Chairman of the franchisor controlled association. The Fixer is a lawyer because solicitor-client privilege harbours his clients’ extralegal activities. Politicians who are very often lawyers, know their political career is short and are not foolish enough to destroy their future legal earnings by crossing a mandarin partner of the some of the most influential and aggressive internationally-based, multi-line law firms.

It is sometimes believed that he fixer is the general boss of the thieves. This is an error. The function of the fixer is to get thieves out of trouble, not to control them. He often gives some advice to out-of-town professionals, after agreeing to take care of them. p. 107

The Fixer runs a monopoly on the most lucrative and industry-challenging cases [national, well-funded franchisees group or class-actions) while allowing the tactical fixing to happen to Tier 2 law firms who are seen as franchise experts within the franchise bar. The Fixer operates a protection racket that has the appearance of a law practice.

There is in every large city a regular fixer for professional thieves. He has no agents and does not solicit and seldom takes any case except that of a professional thief, just as they seldom go to anyone except him. The centralized and monopolistic system of fixing for professional thieves is found in practically all the large cities and many of the small ones. p. 87

Source: — The Professional Thief, Chapter 4: The Fix, The University of Chicago, 1937 [my emphasis]

I am at a serious disadvantage when discussing the subterranean nature of franchising. I am not a member of that brotherhood and have only caught glimpses of behavior that has piqued my interests over the years.

  • Professional thieves and modern franchise executives function in a similar way, in so much as they are primarily profit-making activities that need to manage risks and returns, under stealth.

They are highly energetic, charming, some exceptionally well-educated people who hold 2 conflicting ideas in their heads: They know they prey upon society but also want not to be an enemy of the state (which as profiting from crime, they surely are).

  • This internal, unresolved conflict (cognitive dissonance) accounts for their bullying, arrogant, irritable, defensive and plain mean behavior. They can’t ever quite buy their acceptance into respectable society.

They:

  1. possess highly migratory and portable special skills (especially persuasion, and communication),
  2. rely primarily on on-the-job training (often passed down from father to son, mentorship, tutelage),
  3. are highly congenial and supportive of other professional thieves (including competing trademarks, are compelled to warn and bail out even those they personally dislike),
  4. steal in a full time, planned and methodical manner,
  5. converse privately in a highly-specialized language (argot: legalese, mumbo-jumbo)
  6. achieve recognition for competence from other peers (who you know is important),
  7. operate in a very rigidly adhered to code of behavior, and [above all else]

8. particularly loathe anyone that (a) would inform “squeal,” or “squawk” and/or (b) has yet to lose their integrity.

They inhabit a modern version of The Waste Land or purgatory. Their only defense is confusion and attempting to degrade those impertinent enough to hold up a mirror to their face.


il Duce Franchise Lawyer

September 15, 2008

Il Duce means leader in Italian.

It is a term that is often applied by those that choose to influence others in a dictatorial manner.

A national franchise association assists the setting up and marketing of business format franchises in that country.

They lobby and represent the franchisors’ view and oppose franchisees when their interests are in conflict with their masters’.

Most national associations are members of the World Franchise Council, WFC. The WFC is headquartered in the franchise powerhouse nation of New Zealandand controlled by the U.S. International Franchise Association.

Each Nation: Every country has one lawyer who is recognized as Il Duce, the general, the top dog or alpha male (ie. the individual in the community to whom the others follow and defer.).

He wields influence primarily through the national franchise association where he is often the general counsel, Chairman of the Board or other such title.

Their job is to co-ordinate the defence and promotion of franchising within their country.  They are profit maximizing businesspeople who rely on the public’s erroneous belief in their professionalism and impartiality. They give advice freely when they there is no client:solicitor duty to do so (before a contract is formed) and remain in the shadows otherwise.

Because of the credence good nature of legal services and their closely guarded monopoly on providing legal services, many franchise lawyers act as fraudulent experts. They are fully aware of this which explains why there are so many unhappy lawyers.

The Il Duce is seen as an expert who is never personally tested on his abilities by a discerning superior: He never goes to Court. These cowards:

  1. control their clients (franchisors) by preying on their fears of what franchisees could accomplish if franchisees were smart and organized (the weakest franchisee group is stronger than the strongest franchisor),
  2. promotes the self-serving and hazardous thought that you should talk to only to a franchise lawyer (akin to having a murderer’s brother performng the autopsy),
  3. make sure the most lucrative legal service referrals (international expansion from North American franchisors) go only to lawyers who “play by the rules” (franchise lawyers who “support” the franchisors’ position),
  4. speak to governments under the guise of an “impartial” expert (although they NEVER take on franchisee cases),
  5. punishes franchisee advocates by suing them into bankruptcy (just for fun and as an example),
  6. award revenue-generating opportunities (speaking at association-sponsored trade shows) to themselves and “their team”,
  7. write carefully crafted legal columns in the national franchisor-sponsored trade rag (sales: see Franchise Canada magazine or pseudo-journalism, see Franchise Times),
  8. a senior partner of an internationally influential multi-line law firm (allies of friends into political back rooms),
  9. degrades the political process credibility by showing that money buys laws,
  10. keep active in the state, national and international bar associations, and, especially
  11. the American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising (the latest and greatest ways to serve those that buy 95% of their services: ie. franchisors),

Propaganda

April 11, 2008

But propaganda can be as blatant as a swastika or as subtle as a joke. Its persuasive techniques are regularly applied by politicians, advertisers, journalists, radio personalities, and others who are interested in influencing human behavior.

I found this site to be especially interesting.

…every day we are bombarded with one persuasive communication after another. These appeals persuade not through the give-and-take of argument and debate, but through the manipulation of symbols and of our most basic human emotions. For better or worse, ours is an age of propaganda.

The author splits Propaganda Analysis into 3 sections:

  1. Words Games: Name-calling, Glittering generalities and Euphemisms
  2. False Connections: Transfer and Testimonial
  3. Special Appeals: Plain Folks, Bandwagon and Fear

Lawyers have become more and more powerful within the franchise industry. Their monopoly on expertise is almost total.

This, to me, is the greatest danger: the transfer of credibility from the government and the law sanctions a thinly veiled scheme of re-distributing (not creating) investor wealth.

BTW:This poster promoted the principle of killing the mentally retarded.


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