How to order pizza like a lawyer | Steve Reed | TEDxNorthwesternU

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there's a family-owned restaurant in Morton Grove Illinois called Bert's place it's a pizza joint but actually more than that it's the place where you can get the best pan pizza certainly in the Chicagoland area and I bet anywhere in the country the pizzas made by Burt Katz and it served to you by Bert's wife Sharon now let me tell you about a recent trip I made with my family to Bert's we walked in seated right away were served antipasto salads that were phenomenal just as we were finishing our salads the pizza arrives it's got this caramelized crust around not too much cheese the delicious sauce we ate the pizza chatting with each other at one point Sharon came over served us some more pizza chatted with us for a while compliments to the chef pay the check and leave happy that was our experience the last time we went to Bert's and that's always our experience at Birds well now let me tell you about some experience I've seen his experience as I've seen other people have at Bert's I've seen a couple arrive to a restaurant that was basically empty except for us and one other family and be told they've gonna have to wait two hours I saw someone scoffed at for trying to order an appetizer I saw someone scolded for serving them sell scalded school did scold it they didn't scald themself maybe they did scolded for serving themselves another slice of pizza and I saw someone barked at sharply in a foreign language for trying to pay their bill so what like how is it that we have these amazing experiences at Bert's and other people have these awkward two terrible experiences at Bert's like what's the difference I've thought about it a lot and I figured it out the difference is that I'm a lawyer and I think like a lawyer and these other people are non lawyers who think the way normal people are supposed to think so what do I mean when I say thinking like a lawyer well before I went to law school I thought I had a pretty good idea about what it was to be a lawyer I mean I'd seen Matlock and LA Law so I figured lawyers were super good looking fierce advocates for their clients a little cool maybe on the personality scale and wore a ton of seersucker and if you watch kind of lawyer shows today and pop-culture The Good Wife or anything like that suits you probably think lawyers are even better looking than I thought they were plus again this sort of cool professionalism maybe not so loyal in their personal relationships and fierce advocates for their clients well we all know that drawing lessons from pop culture about what a profession is like is dangerous I mean I watch The Big Bang Theory but I don't think that makes me an expert on physics or physicists I know what bazinga means but that's about it but but there are some truths we see in pop culture about lawyers they're fierce advocates for their clients they are cool and professional and on a per capita basis definitely more Searsucker than the average person in the population but there's more than that that makes a lawyer a lawyer what really makes a lawyer lawyer is that they approach problems and think like a lawyer so what do I mean but like by that well there's two kind of connected ideas one is lawyers study rules obsessively now those rules might come from let's say the criminal code that says it's a crime to steal or they may come from a contract like online terms and conditions and even lawyers just usually click I agree or might come from the United States Constitution but in any event lawyers study obsessively rules we try to understand them in all their nuance and that allows us to avoid the kinds of intuitive thinking that are so helpful in normal life but in legal life you need to understand and obsess over those rules that's the first thing lawyers do but the second interconnected thing is that we then help our clients to navigate those rules to accomplish their goals so there are three primary ways that lawyers help their clients sort of work with rules I mean explain those to you today and then I'm going to show you how you can use those in your everyday life the first thing that lawyers do once they have a comprehension of the rules is they help their clients navigate through they guide their clients through the rules and I don't mean guide like a tour guide who says oh you know this is the arch this is the rock I mean I mean like a mountaineering guide someone who takes you through a treacherous pass where there are lots of ways to make a false step and you come out in the end in one piece that's the kind of guiding lawyers do let me give you an example from practice so I work at the Northwestern and entrepreneurship Law Center with a lot of tech entrepreneurs which is pretty cool recently for tech entrepreneurs came into the center and they had this idea that they wanted to set up a new company great very normal for us and they wanted to all have an equal vote net great no problem but the thing that was unusual about them is that they owned different percentages of the business even though they wanted their vote to be the same so the person who owned 10% of the business would get the same vote as the person who owned 60% of the business now that's unusual the other thing they wanted was to not have to deal with a board of directors or have that kind of formal thing okay so now we're thinking about this problem we're trying to think how can we get them through the rules to where they want to go if we set up a corporation for them which would be a normal thing well then you gotta have a board and it's complicated to do the voting that way and that's not a perfect fit so we navigate them over to the limited liability company statute which is another way you can form a business entity and we set them up that way there it's very normal to separate voting from economics and it all worked out so that's the first way that thing that lawyers do navigate through we're not helping them break the rules we're not helping them sidestep rules we're navigating them through rules the second thing that lawyers do is we layer rules on top of existing rules you've definitely seen this in your life you experienced it almost every day if you check into a hotel you have to initial the registration card if you go to a public tool you see some sign posted with all various rules these are rules layered on top of the rules that we all have to adhere to so going back to my tech entrepreneurs they had this notion that they wanted all their decisions to be made on a majority basis so since there were four of them three of the four agree on something then that's going to be what happens and again that's pretty normal the limited liability company statute says ok if you if you majority rules on almost everything notice what I said almost everything some things like selling the business require usually a unanimous vote you can't force someone to sell their ownership stake in the business so what do we do we write them a contract which is the way lawyers layer rules on top of rules and that contract then says ok if a majority of us agree to sell the business we're all going to go along with it we're all going to vote how we need to vote sign whatever we need to sign and make sure the business gets sold it's called the drag along agreement that's what we wrote for our clients and that was layering a rule on top of rule ok the third thing that lawyers do they're clients and helping them to get through rules is we have this concept called changing jurisdiction this is this if you don't like the rules where you are you go somewhere else it's the same idea as a college student doing spring break in Montreal where the drinking age is 18 even though it's like the wrong time of year to go to Montreal but you go there because you can drink right so what you do is you take you if you don't like the rules where you are you shift somewhere else so my tech clients they want to form an LLC they're all based in Illinois so it makes sense we should start up an Illinois under the laws of the state of Illinois I start up an LLC under the laws of the state of Illinois but there are a few things about the Illinois LLC statute that aren't ideal especially if you're trying to attract investors and depending on how you're gonna run the business the way they wanted to run it so we studied other states are there other places where they could form this business and we looked all around and found hey look we they can form this business under the laws of the state of Delaware a state none of them had ever been visited a state most people don't ever bother to go to unless those people are the legal persons we call corporations or LLC's which love Delaware Delaware has a really friendly kind of law so we set them up in Delaware they're still here but we moot lis shifted jurisdictions move them to the place they want it to go so there we've got three strategies we've got guiding through like a mountaineering died we've got layering rules on top of rules and we've got switching jurisdictions and we can see all of those at play in our daily lives you know there are rules around you whether you know it or not everywhere you look we've got them in the office we've got them at school we've got them on the streets and we've got them in our homes and we can use legal thinking to navigate through those rules so let's run a real-world example and let's get back to Bert's place at Bert's we'll get to see an example of all three of these legal strategies so the first thing we should know is that Bert's has to comply with whatever laws they have for pizza restaurants so there's like the health code in the labor code the village of Morton Grove has a bunch of rules about running restaurants Bert and Sharon cats have layered on top of those rules a whole new set of rules they're codified and there are in a written document that you can get right now outside of Bert's place it's called the menu just walk over pull one out so let's take a look at the Bert's menu as lawyers the way I would look at it see if we get any clues about what the rules are okay so look at the top pizza for grown-ups okay well we might bring my kids there but that's okay maybe there's a loophole and then underneath that on time every time that's telling me these people are concerned about timing if I wanted to have more evidence of that I flip the menu over to the back for service at its best please call ahead you see the word pleases in all caps in underlined they're not saying please this isn't a request this is a command if you want to know whether it's a command it's also inside the menu for service at its best please call ahead the first time we went to Bert's called ahead the day before they like at least today's notice what do you want to order I told them everything we wanted to order one appetizer sure how about salads Oh what dressing do you want on the salad okay I'm here I think and go over the dressing and what do you want to drink I didn't know that that's okay they can be flexible on drinks but everything else you need to do so if these are the rules if these are the rules at Bert's place then what do you think they think of someone showing up unannounced is that please call ahead for service at its best no right so you're gonna have to wait two hours then it's like you called ahead okay even though the restaurants completely empty what about ordering an appetizer you know you get to the restaurant you're like you know I didn't know you had onion rings this seems like a great idea does that sound like on time every time I get thrown off the whole schedule right follow the rules remember I told you that there was a customer who was barked at for trying to pay his bill he was trying to pie pay by credit card and the foreign word that was yelled at him was yet you can't pay by credit card at Bert's it's cash alone the operation baby and they'll take checks if they have to but it's really a cash-only operation do they have an ATM at Bert's it's not a frigging bank it's a pizza restaurant you go down the street you go to the ATM Sharron will wait she trusts you come back with the cash okay that's how you have a successful experience at Bert's now there are some other rules that I admit are not written down that you have to kind of get to know at Bert's don't serve yourself a pizza pizza you are not a barbarian share and we'll do that for you should you issue a compliment to the chef because it's mandatory must be done before you leave and don't ask for the check too early or there's a half-hour penalty per request for the check Josie I've got a time mat just right but if you follow all these rules you're gonna have a great experience at Burt's okay ordering pizza is one thing and if you want after this sessions over I can talk to you about where to stand in line at Costco I got a whole legal analysis of that ordering at the drive-thru at KFC I've been even mowing your lawn I've got some really good stuff on that but but these are all kind of transactional maybe mundane normal things we do in our lives what about something a little bit more profound what about if we talk about personal relationships the relationships that we have with each other romantic and otherwise so one thing is we should recognize in terms of the first this guiding through the rules everyone starts with a set of baseline rules these are common across our society in our culture things like you say hello to somebody or hi or hey when you greet them things like you should like your friends and your friends should like you things like you should love your lovers and they should love you depend on the duration of the relationship but there should be some kind of at least affection affection or attraction there these are baseline rules can't get around them they're just there but on top of that in our society we layer on additional rules we do that in two ways first as individuals we each layer on our own set of rules if you think about yourself maybe you're the kind of person who likes to receive compliments maybe you're the kind of person who likes to give compliments do you like to laugh along with people do you like to get a laugh and so that kind of normal thing about human interaction does this work for love and attraction you betcha maybe you've got a rule that I like someone to WoW me with their physique maybe you want them to wow you with their intellect maybe you want them to wow you with their sense of humor but you've got your own rules that you've built and stacked on top of our basic rules that guide sort of what you're looking for once you understand that framework and think about your own rules just swipe your way through tender to happiness you'll find the right person but in addition to these rules we've got about oh that we have for ourselves and you have to recognize of course everyone else has their stacker rules that they've layered up on top of themselves when you're actually in a friendship or other relationship with people you build relationships that's where you build the contracts that lawyers build so to take it an example from my life my wife Jessica does she views doing dishes as a chore I view doing dishes as a privilege to me it's like my meditative moment and by the way if you wanted to talk about some sort of a legal analysis of how you should load the dishwasher I got that ready but I I loved it I loved it so we've set up a contract in our relationship I do the dishes everybody wins but it doesn't just have to be on that kind of procedural thing like how you squeeze the toothpaste all those kind of dumb things also on more profound things things that are more important to a relationship things like monogamy or faith and morality or questions like are we going to have kids how many kids are we going to have all those kinds of things are additional contracts that you make in a relationship now so that's guiding through rules now we're seeing layering on rules what about this third one of changing jurisdictions I remember 20 years ago sitting on a rooftop with some friends of mine in college high on life and marijuana and thinking to myself with the relationship I was in at the time thinking to myself you know I'm not following the rules here we got some fundamental rules and understanding in this relationship and I'm in what lawyers would call breach of contract I was in material breach of contract so what should I do here the answer is pretty clear change jurisdictions change jurisdictions we broke up and a couple years later I met this wonderful woman Jessica who became my wife mother of my two children worked out now I have no trouble following the contract we got it worked out and you just it sounds maybe overly analytical it's that easy if the contract isn't working you find yourself breaching the contract get out find yourself a new jurisdiction so that's about it I do want to say that like any analytical approach legal thinking has its limits you have to use it judiciously I guess it's not good but that's a legal pun you got to use it judiciously so you know you can come off as cold and analytical every time Jess says to me don't lawyer me on this then I know I've gone too far also there's this risk of like when I was in law school and a couple years afterwards I totally lost my sense of humor so I understood the rule that there are jokes in the world I understood you should laugh at them and I even could recognize when they were being told but in my might look even though about why did the chicken cross the road that joke in my mind I'd be like chickens live in pens or hen houses and they are terrified Birds they are not going near a car right but you know you know how you learn how to laugh along but in any event you can't take legal thinking too far but if you just remember these things guide yourself through the rules notice how we layer on the rules and build contracts change jurisdictions when necessary legal thinking can help improve your life Thanks
Channel: TEDx Talks
Views: 2,332,533
Rating: 3.7748914 out of 5
Keywords: TEDxTalks, English, United States, Life, Decision making, Law, Life Hack
Id: 46dDvcTXxxo
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Length: 16min 15sec (975 seconds)
Published: Tue May 26 2015
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