If you have a non-compete situation in need of a lawyer’s services, your choice of an attorney may have a profound effect on your business or livelihood. You need a lawyer who is familiar with the Texas courts’ opinions on these agreements, as well as the Covenants Not to Compete Act enacted by the Texas legislature.
If a non-compete signing or the aftermath of such a signing is on your horizon, seeking the services of an attorney who is competent in Texas law, experienced in sundry business disputes, and knowledgeable about the knotty particulars of Lone Star State employment law is a given. But how can you be sure that you’ve chosen the right lawyer for a non-compete?
Generally speaking, a non-compete clause or a covenant not to compete is a provision in a contract under which one party (typically an employee or seller of a business) agrees not to pursue a similar profession or trade in competition against another party (usually the employer or buyer of a business). Without a clause like this in place, a former employee or business owner might begin working for a competitor or perhaps worse, initiating a similar business.
Prior to 2006, Texas courts had historically been very reluctant to enforce many non-compete agreements. In that year, however, the Texas Supreme Court overturned years of established law when it decided the case of Sheshunoff v. Johnson. Suddenly, Texas courts were much more likely to enforce non-compete agreements. That trend has continued with cases such as Mann Frankfort Stein v. Fielding. Typically, disputes on enforceability of non-compete agreements center on whether appropriate consideration has been provided and whether the restrictions are reasonable.
If you are considering entering into a non-compete agreement or are involved in a dispute over a non-compete, you would be well advised to hire an attorney who is up-to-date on the latest developments in this fast changing area of the law. The right non-compete lawyer should be able to explain the law, clearly advise you with respect to your options and aggressively handle any litigation if the disagreement cannot be favorably resolved.