Let’s get one thing clear ……… on second thought, never mind, that part will come later. Let’s start with the company name: LegalZoooooooooom. Isn’t the “Zoooooooom” part of it so very cooooooooool, pleasing and pleasant for some almost unknown reason. I say almost because I have a theory as to why zooooooooooooom (draw it out however long you wish) is such a valuable part of the company name. Let me remind you, the company’s business, which most certainly is NOT to practice law, NOT to give you legal advice and NOT to take any responsibility for whatever happens once you rely on the forms and secretarial service it sells, is to sell you, well……it’s hard to describe…….let’s just say that LegalZoom sells FORMS, fill in the blank, forms. I dare not say Legal forms because that would suggest the giving of legal advice, which, as we all know by now, LegalZoom will not and does not (not to say – because of good manners – could never do even its life depended on it) do. Let us stipulate, without making reference to law or legal purpose, that whatever LegalZoom sells is intended to be thought of as – at least prior to purchase – serious, adult and business-like.
Why then include “Zoom” in the company name and marketing materials? Let’s think about it for a moment. Doesn’t zoom have a familiar ring to it? Doesn’t it make you feel – at some level, perhaps quite far from that of which you are conscious – happy? Zooooooooom. Yes. Quite pleasing. Why should that be? I’ve heard it before! Haven’t you?! Don’t exactly remember but yes I am feeling or perhaps remembering the feeling of happiness. How odd! I found my way to LegalZoom somehow – perhaps with an assist from The Wall Street Journal or from the quite beautiful Laura Ingram – to deal with – it’s alright, you can think it even if LegalZoom can, must and surely does run from it – a LEGAL matter, a matter that you wish to get right (without paying an arm and a leg) and on which you wish to rely in the future. Here may I say, because I think it is quite important, LegalZoom demonstrably and emphatically wants nothing to do with the consequences of your use of and reliance upon on forms you purchased from it. In a later post I will prove this to you – or rather I will merely direct you to LegalZoom’s own words, drafted surely by the their expert, although unnamed lawyers, formerly employed by law firms described by the well-known CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY, Mr. Robert Shapiro, as prestigious – what more could one want?
Back to “zooooom.” Why so pleasing? I have a theory. Is not “zoooooooom” the sound a child, a small child, makes when playing with certain toys? And doesn’t “zoooooming around” suggest going from one place to another happily, quickly and instinctively – without much thought?
My theory is this, although I must admit, it is hard to conceive of anyone so cynical, calculating, unscrupulous and manipulative that they would use “zoom” to trigger the reader’s unconscious memories of childhood – playing carefree and happy – so as to make the reader’s purchase of LegalZoom products as pleasant and happy and unencumbered by thought as the experience of a child at play.
Whether my theory is true or not, who knows? I hope not. I would rather – and I do – think the best of strangers, which is what the unnamed experts formerly of prestigious but unnamed firms touted by the one-time celebrity criminal defense attorney Robert Shapiro (oh, by the way, did you notice that LegalZoom and Mr. Shapiro, offer no forms under the heading criminal law, presumably Mr. Shapiro’s area of expertise? Why is Mr. Shapiro, invaluable part of the criminal defense team that got Mr. O.J. Simpson – pardon the expression once again – off urging you to buy legal forms having nothing to do with criminal law?) are for me. Let’s assume my theory is dead wrong. Fine. Is it not fair and accurate to note that “legal” and “zoom” have fundamentally different “personalities?”, legal being serious, stern and adult, while zoom is more playful, carefree and child-like?
Why bother with all this? Well, for one thing it is fun. For another, I think LegalZoom, perhaps in ways that it does not intend, is potentially dangerous. Notice I used the word “potentially.” Let me explain. Like most lawyers who have been practicing for over a quarter of a century, I have a great deal of experience with forms. They can be invaluable time savers, increasers of efficiency, good for everyone. However, and I report this based on sad and still, to this day, embarrassing experience: the great drawback to forms is that they can seduce, trick and mislead the user into NOT THINKING THINGS THROUGH. Legal forms, especially when one is in a rush or for some other reason too eager, give false comfort. One assumes, perhaps unconsciously, that all one needs to do is to fill in the blanks and the job is done. Maybe. Often perhaps. But, and I am positive about this, NOT ALWAYS. Legal forms can be a great resource as part of thinking things through and getting things right but they are no substitute for thinking things through.
“Zoooooooooooooooooooooom,” it seems to me, appeals to that part of human nature that so much enjoys being carefree. Legal forms, on the hand, require one to be careful. So, I offer this suggestion: Before signing up with LegalZoom, think things through starting with the implications of the name “LegalZoom.” Are the owners of LegalZoom treating you with respect, starting with its very name, or trying to make a sale by appealing to your inner child while hiding – yes hiding – from you serious, adult information? I am sure many people will find the suggestion to consider the implications of the name “LegalZoom” unappealing, but, for those people, I will, in later posts, invite them to consider and to take into account the only two LegalZoom forms on which LegalZoom customers are invited, indeed required to rely but need not pay for.