It's shameless self-promotion time! It's no secret that lawyers start blogs to drum up business. And this wouldn't be a very good blog if I didn't tell you why you might need to hire me, now would it? Buckle up - I think this post might actually provide some useful information!
What Is A Non-Compete Counsel?
You won't find a definition for "Non-Compete Counsel" in any legal dictionary. It's a term I made up to describe my practice niche. I've figured out that I'm really good at litigating cases involving non-compete agreements. Litigation = lawsuit. Yup, I'm "that" kind of lawyer. There's nothing I love more than being in court. As my boss would say, it's my highest and best use.
But because I've been in court on so many non-compete cases, I also have a knack for preventing problems with non-compete agreements or, at a minimum, making the cases easier on clients if they find themselves in a lawsuit. This is where the "counsel" part comes in: I counsel clients on how to set up programs before a lawsuit is filed that will help protect them in the event an important employee goes to work for a competitor. If, even after one of my programs is implemented, a client finds themselves in litigation, my job is so much easier (and my bill is, therefore, so much cheaper) than it would be otherwise.
Why Do I Need A Non-Compete Counsel?
I have mouths to feed, yes, and so chances are that I will try to get business anywhere I can find it. But what makes me different from a lot of lawyers you might encounter is that I am willing and able to help clients avoid litigation wherever possible. You see, litigation is very lucrative. I charge an hourly rate to litigate a case, and because litigation is based upon an adversarial system, it's reactive. I make a move, the other guy makes a move. Sometimes the "other guy" makes life easy, we can reach an amicable settlement, and everyone walks away. But often, by the time clients come to me ready to litigate (or having been sued), the gloves are off and I'm instructed to bring back my opponent's head on a platter, no matter the cost.
There is a better way. The better way is to get ahead of the problem. Hire a Non-Compete Counsel to come to your business, assess your employment program and agreements, and help you make adjustments to that program to give you a better shot at success in a lawsuit or, better yet, avenues for avoiding litigation altogether. Maybe your problem is you are using cookie-cutter agreements that won't be enforced against most of your workforce. It's better to hire a Non-Compete Counsel and get an enforceable agreement in place before an employee leaves than trying to enforce a shotty agreement after-the-fact. If my first War Stories post taught you anything, it's that cookie cutter agreements don't work!
Maybe your problem is that you have super-secret business information, but you haven't adequately protected it. It would be nice to fix this problem before an employee walks out the door with that information, rather than fighting in front of a judge about whether your proprietary information is truly "secret," wouldn't it? Of course it would.
What Does A Non-Compete Counsel Charge?
The best part about getting ahead of the problem is that it will save you money. I charge a flat rate to implement a non-compete program. If you're starting from scratch (i.e., you need agreements and a program), it's $5,000 start to finish. If we're just re-working what's already there (i.e., a re-write of existing agreements and changing some procedures for safekeeping information), it's $3,000. If all you need is a small tweak (i.e., your agreement is good, but needs to be tailored to a specific position), I charge $1,500.
The bottom line is this: it's no fun spending money to manage a problem that hasn't happened yet. I get that. But think of it like a physical - you wouldn't go years and years without seeing a doctor, would you? People who do that set themselves up for disaster. Think of a visit from me as a "check-up." You might be doing everything right and, if that's the case, great! I won't charge you a thing. But if you need help, the time to act is now before the lawsuit is filed.
This week is going to have some good stuff, so I hope you'll come back. Wednesday, I'll talk about solicitation. The rules are different and social media has made it more complicated, as you'll see. Friday, I'll tell another war story - and this one is a doozy! Until then ....
* Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions shared on this site are my own and are not attributable to my employer. No amount of interaction on this site will create an attorney-client relationship. If you have a legal question and you ask it here, I will also answer it here (if I can), but such answers do not guarantee results and do not create an attorney-client relationship. If you wish to contact me directly, you may do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.