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Non-Compete Law

Non-Compete Law

“narrowly tailored to protect a legitimate business interest”

Question we are often asked: Is your non-compete reasonable and enforceable under Virginia law? Answer we most often give: Yes, if it is narrowly tailored to protect the legitimate business interest of the company… What does that really mean? This week, a Fairfax Virginia Judge held that it was not likely reasonable for a business…[Read More]

Do restrictive covenants stifle employee productivity?

If you get paid by the hour, and not the task, is there an incentive to work any harder? Some would say, No. If you can’t take clients with you when you leave a job, or even contact them, is there any incentive to really fostering those great connections and relationships with those folks? Some…[Read More]

Why your “smartphone” keeps me in business

Dear Virginia Employee: I wanted to thank you for being glued to your smart phone. I wanted to thank you for treating that small device, owned by your employer, like it is your own. Checking your personal email, texting clients at all hours, and making disparaging remarks about your co-workers and boss in these text…[Read More]

Should I Have My Employment Contract Reviewed?

So, you have an employment contract. It’s a brand new job and you are new to the industry. If you want to protect your rights in the workplace, it is important to have an attorney briefly review your agreement.

Before you start working, is this a good time to have an employment lawyer in your state review your contract? Before you sign it? Yes. 

You are considering leaving, before you make the switch, can you take your clients? Can you stay in the industry? Could this be a good time to speak to an attorney about your legal rights and restrictions? Absolutely.

You are about to join a competitor, and you have a  new job offer. They want you. They tell you they have looked at your old contract and that you can take your clients. Even though you trust the new company and their legal counsel, you wonder out-loud whether you should have your contract reviewed again, just in case the law has changed or you are missing something. Is now a good time, before you quit your job? Of course!

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Knock Knock. Who’s There? The Truth.

Lawyer jokes are sometimes funny, and sometimes true. But any joke where the punchline confuses “lawyer and liar” is not funny to me. Not funny at all. I believe telling the truth is actually my job, and I expect my clients will take the same approach to truth telling.   

In fact, the few times I have had civil clients lie about something – to me, or the other side, even about something small – and when I found out, I have withdrawn from the case.

There are many reasons to have a zero-tolerance policy for clients that shade the truth. But one amazing fact I have learned during my litigation career is that liars never do well in the civil justice system.

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The Best Response to a Cease and Desist Letter Ever!

I just read on Buzzfeed about a cease and desist letter sent by a local government official to a citizen about the use of a domain name – and the citizen’s pointed reply via New Jersey lawyer Stephen B. Kaplitt.

Check out Mr. Kaplitt’s hilarious response to the cease and desist letter. You can download it here. It’s brilliant, satirical, playful, and creative – the list goes on. It’s great. 

He clearly found a clever way to respond to the allegations – and a quick visit to his law firm website suggests that he does well for himself. While I rejoice in the letter – its content and style – I will likely never have the opportunity to engage in such banter on behalf of my clients. Here’s why. [Read More]

Cease and Desist Letters and Other Myths

Virginia employers often send tough, strongly worded “cease and desist” letters to former employees who work for a competitor or start a company.

The goal is to scare you.

If you do not comply, they allege you will potentially face dire consequences under penalty of law. Many times, the letter arrives on the stationary of a local law firm. It can be intimidating, unless you already know such letters are probably no scarier than the bogeyman – all depending on the contract.

It reminds me of the cease and desist letters that I could have drafted while watching the State of the Union. For example:

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Wow. Things are not slowing down here in our office. Apparently, you nice folks of Virginia, employees and  new business owners who have hired employees from other companies, are getting sued left and right. And at Christmas too…. While I am not in a position to make sweeping statements about Virginia corporations and their litigation habits,…[Read More]


This is not the last time I will write this. Dear Virginia employee:    If you want to know if your non-compete is valid, please call us   (a) before you sign in   (b) before you decide to quit   (c) when you get a cease and desist letter   (d) they day you are served with a lawsuit…[Read More]