Black Hats and White Hats: One Size Does Not Fit All

(Part Four is a Series)

Clothing stores have for years perpetrated the lie that, for at least some types of garments, one size fits all.  Look around at the people you know, and you will agree the “one-size-fits-all” proposition is laughable.

People come in many different sizes and proportions:  tall and short, lean and plump, and everything in between.  My son and I are about the same height, but if I try to squeeze into a pair of his pants, I will burst the seams.  My daughter is drowning in cloth if she puts on one of my shirts.  One size does not fit all.

If you want to look your best, you will wear clothes that are specifically tailored for your shape and size.  You will choose colors that coordinate well with your skin tones, hair, and eyes.  You will choose styles that are appropriate for the activity you are undertaking.  A tee shirt, jeans, and boots are appropriate for a recreational hike in the woods, but not for an interview for an executive level job.

Most people know better than to wear shorts and flip flops to a black tie event.  Nonetheless, those same people often make the mistake of trying to shoehorn all of their employees into a restrictive covenant that they got from a neighbor or, even worse, one that they downloaded off the internet.  These short-sighted efforts are the equivalent of trying to fit a 350 pound defensive tackle into a size 2 sun dress.  It’s not a pretty sight, and the dress gets destroyed in the process.

White Hats know that restrictive covenants must be specifically drafted for the particular employee or position.  A skilled tailor uses no more and no less material than is needed to properly do the job.  White Hats ensure that their legal counsel carefully tailors their restrictive covenants to fit the position at issue.  They may have to prepare several different forms of the restrictive agreement, but all of their employees have restrictive covenants that fit them like a well-tailored suit.

Black Hats, on the other hand, assume that one size fits all.  Not wanting to leave anything uncovered, they add overly broad provisions and needless verbiage.  They reason that if a non-compete agreement is good enough for the CEO, it’s good enough for a rookie sales representative.  Figuratively speaking, they give a 5XL shirt to a diminutive five-year-old child, and then are baffled when the court throws out their restrictive covenant.

Wear a White Hat.  Draft restrictive covenants that are specifically tailored for the person or position you are trying to cover.

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