Russell Beck, Steve Riden, and Bob Shea Named Top 100 Lawyers

Super Lawyers Magazine has again selected Russell BeckStephen Riden, and Bob Shea as three of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in Massachusetts.

Russell Beck is a business and intellectual property litigator, nationally recognized for his trade secrets and noncompete experience. Russell has more than thirty years of experience as a complex business and intellectual property litigator, representing corporate and individual clients throughout the country. Russell has also been named one of the 2023 Top 10 Super Lawyers in Massachusetts.

Steve Riden is a commercial litigator who represents corporate and individual clients in a wide array of disputes across the country. Steve has extensive experience litigating business disputes involving breach of contract, fraud, unfair competition, trade secrets, and noncompete agreements.

Robert Shea advises and represents clients in all areas of labor and employment law. He devotes a significant portion of his practice to alternative dispute resolution, both as an advocate and a neutral.

The selection of the top 100 Super Lawyers in Massachusetts is based on a process of peer review following a survey of lawyers from the region. The Super Lawyers selection process is described in detail here.

 is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck to Speak at PLI Trade Secrets Program

On Tuesday, October 17, 2023, Russell Beck will be speaking at Practising Law Institute’s program on trade secrets. The program, which will be held in San Francisco, is titled “Advanced Trade Secrets 2023: New Challenges, New Solutions, and New Opportunities.”

The one-day program starts at 9 a.m. PDT on October 17, 2023 and can also be watched online. More information and registration is available here.

Russell’s presentation is titled “Protecting Trade Secrets in Employee and Business Relationships: Sound Practices and New Imperatives

The day’s program is described as follows:

Trade secrets can be among an organization’s most valuable assets – when you know how to identify, protect, and safely share them. Trade secrets law can protect cutting edge technologies, improvements to mature technologies, new combinations of well-known information and a host of valuable technical and strategic information in between.

But misappropriation and claims of misappropriation can derail an organization’s business strategies—on both sides of the “v.” They can even lead to criminal exposure and liability for acts in the U.S. and abroad. Judgments in the scores of millions of dollars and even more are becoming increasingly common. So are appeals, reversals, and retrials.

The importance of trade secrets law and the potential risks to trade secrets are heightened when employees and consultants who have become immersed in trade secrets move to competitors who may be eager to learn them, or who may not have properly gauged and guarded against the risks. But trade secret disputes are not confined to the realm of mobile employees. Sharing trade secrets when pursuing potential mergers, acquisitions, and business collaborations can bring great opportunity but can also place both information and businesses at great risk.

To maximize value and reduce risk organizations must stay on top of the latest developments. This full day program brings together experts and thought leaders in the field to help you do just that.

Attendees will hear presentations on the following topics, among others:

  • Insight on what courts, legislatures, agencies, and businesses are thinking about and doing about trade secret issues in the U.S. and abroad
  • How some of the “old rules” are being tweaked and why they can be ignored only with peril
  • How to manage trade secret disputes right from the start, often in one or more venues globally
  • How exclusive reliance on noncompete agreements can leave trade secrets at risk and how to use alternative ways to protect trade secrets
  • How new forms of artificial intelligence can pose new risks to trade secrets—and how they may also offer new solutions

Speakers at the conference include a wide array of attorneys.

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning trade secrets and non-compete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over thirty years of experience working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (6th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2021), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administering the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administering the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,660 and 870 members, respectively, around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2020 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is “an expert in the field of trade secret and restrictive covenant law,” and is also noted for his “ability to adjust and come up with successful solutions.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck to Chair Noncompete and Restrictive Covenants Conference

Russell Beck will be serving as the chairperson of Practising Law Institute’s full-day program on noncompete agreements.

The program, which will be held in New York City, is titled “Noncompetes and Restrictive Covenants 2023: What Every Lawyer, Human Resources Professional, and Key Strategic Decisionmaker Should Know.”

The conference starts at 9 a.m. ET on September 28, 2023. Russell will be giving the opening remarks. More information and registration is available here.

This conference is “a unique full-day program,” offering an in-depth look at noncompete laws nationally.

Throughout the day, experts in the field of employee restrictive covenant agreements will be giving informative presentations. The program is described as follows:

Noncompete laws around the country are changing. The federal government is getting involved. How can your clients protect themselves? How will you advise them? Don’t miss your chance to attend this unique full-day program, to learn how through a deep dive discussion with experts who will explain how to manage through these changes!

Imagine that one of your client’s key employees just left to go to a competitor in violation of a noncompete. Or your client is that competitor and has just received a cease and desist letter demanding that it terminate the employee. Or your client is that employee. Or it is not just one key employee, but a group of employees in a mass lift-out. What do you do?

Noncompete agreements and similar restrictive covenants help companies protect their trade secrets, customer relationships, and other recognized legitimate business interests. But, noncompete laws vary state by state, ranging from bans in California, Oklahoma, and North Dakota, to strong, pro-enforcement policies in Florida. And, while public opinion, evolving state legislation, emerging federal regulation, and trends in judicial review and enforcement are moving toward greater limitations on the use of these agreements, the risks posed by employees who are not subject to restrictive covenants is increasing.

Understanding the changing landscape and its complications and implications is nothing short of critical – particularly for companies engaged in business across state lines.

Bringing together experts and thought leaders from around the country, the program delves into nuanced and advanced issues from the perspectives of the employee, the former employer, and the new employer.

In addition, according to the course description, attendees will:

  • Hear about the latest legislative developments regarding noncompete agreements, nondisclosure agreements, and other restrictive covenants, as well as best practices from practitioners
  • Learn what the protectable business interests are and how to protect them, particularly with a remote workforce and during employee departures and on-boarding
  • Find out advanced practices for seeking and defending against temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, and related preliminary orders
  • Gain insight into the practical aspects of enforcing and defending against noncompetes
  • Understand the key issues and what to do when a key employee leaves, and how the strategy changes when there is a group lift-out
  • Learn how to spot and avoid the ethical traps common in restrictive covenant matters

The presentation is for any “in-house counsel, business and trade secrets litigation counsel, employment lawyers, human resources professionals, and other allied key strategic personnel.”

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over thirty years of experience working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (6th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2021), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administering the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administering the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,660 and 870 members, respectively, around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2020 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is “an expert in the field of trade secret and restrictive covenant law,” and is also noted for his “ability to adjust and come up with successful solutions.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Nicole Corvini Daly and Sarah Tishler to Speak at Noncompete and Restrictive Covenants Conference

Nicole Corvini Daly and Sarah Tishler will be speakers at Practising Law Institute’s full-day program on noncompete agreements.

The program, which will be held in New York City, is titled “Noncompetes and Restrictive Covenants 2023: What Every Lawyer, Human Resources Professional, and Key Strategic Decisionmaker Should Know.”

The conference starts at 9 a.m. ET on September 28, 2023. More information and registration is available here.

Nicole and Sarah’s presentation is titled “A Deep Dive into State Law Changes and Their Implications.”

This conference is “a unique full-day program,” offering an in-depth look at noncompete laws nationally. Russell Beck is chairing the conference.


Nicole Corvini Daly is a partner at Beck Reed Riden LLP. Her practice focuses on litigating and advising on the use and enforceability of noncompete, nonsolicitation, and nondisclosure agreements.

Sarah Tishler is a commercial litigator whose practice focuses on complex business disputes in state and federal courts, including intellectual property, breach of contract, and fraud claims.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Stephen Riden in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on Close Corporation Dispute

A recent issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features a quote from Steve Riden in an article titled “Non-derivative nature of claim dooms motion to shift burden in business spat.”

The article covers a decision by a Massachusetts Superior Court judge concerning a close corporation dispute. The decision was entered in the case titled Wettemann v. Nucleus Research, Inc., et al.

The decision addresses a party’s burden of proof in connection with a complex matter involving a dispute between owners of a close corporation. The lawsuit spans “150 or so docket entries,” and featured allegations of self-dealing, including a claim that an owner spent corporate funds on personal expenses. After the court’s determination that the lawsuit should have asserted derivative, as opposed to direct, claims, the parties reportedly settled the matter prior to trial.

In the article, Steve Riden is quoted as follows:

Boston business litigator Stephen D. Riden agreed that it is the type of case that would behoove attorneys to try to settle.

“What [Wettemann] does illustrate is the challenging fact of litigating a close corporation dispute between two co-owners of that corporation,” he said.

The article is by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s reporter, Kris Olson.


Steve is a seasoned litigator with substantial experience successfully litigating complex commercial matters in state and federal court. Steve has substantial experience representing owners involved in intra-corporate disputes, including shareholder litigation and close-corporation control matters.

His exceptional track record in navigating the intricacies of court procedures, coupled with his deep understanding of commercial law, has earned him a reputation for delivering favorable outcomes for his clients. With an acute attention to detail and an unwavering commitment to upholding the rights and interests of his clients, Steve consistently demonstrates his ability to effectively advocate for their positions.


Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck Named Boston’s Lawyer of the Year in Two Categories by Best Lawyers in America®

Russell Beck was named the Best Lawyers® 2024 “Lawyer of the Year” in Employment Law – Management in Boston, and Trade Secrets Law in Boston.

This is Russell’s third year of being recognized as a Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year.”

This accolade is awarded annually to only one lawyer per practice area in each region with extremely high overall feedback from their peers, making it an exceptional distinction. In 2024, only 5,392 lawyers were bestowed the “Lawyer of the Year” distinction, representative of only 0.4% of those in private practice in America.

In addition, three other lawyers at Beck Reed Riden LLP have been named to the 2024 Edition of Best Lawyers.

Best Lawyers has published their list for more than 40 years. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 65 countries.

Best Lawyers Award BadgeLawyers on the Best Lawyers in America ® list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing. For the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, more than 13.7 million votes were analyzed to identify the top legal talent, as identified by their peers.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over thirty years of experience working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (6th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2021), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administering the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administering the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,660 and 870 members, respectively, around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2020 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is “an expert in the field of trade secret and restrictive covenant law,” and is also noted for his “ability to adjust and come up with successful solutions.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck to Speak at The Sedona Conference on Trade Secrets

On September 12, 2023, Russell Beck will serve as a Dialogue Leader for The Sedona Conference’s Working Group on Trade Secrets.

Russell is scheduled to moderate a panel titled “Protecting Trade Secrets Through Use of Confidentiality Agreements.”

The two-day annual meeting for The Sedona Conference Working Group 12 will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and starts on Monday, September 11, 2023. More information is available here.

According to the agenda, Russell’s “panel will explore several important issues. What can be protected under a confidentiality agreement? Should confidential information be treated differently depending on the context? Are there limits on enforcing confidentiality agreements? What are the key issues pertaining to the secrecy of a trade secret? The dialogue leaders will discuss and elicit membership feedback on the status, outstanding issues, and direction of this draft commentary.”

This conference will present several publications from the trade secrets group for member comment toward publication for public comment, including commentaries on the following topics:

  • Sharing Trade Secrets With Other Organizations
  • The Use of Clean Rooms to Minimize Risk and Protect Innovations
  • Model Jury Instructions under the Defend Trade Secrets Act
  • Protecting Trade Secrets Through Use of Confidentiality Agreements
  • Forensic Issues in Trade Secret Disputes
  • Willfulness Damages and Attorney Fees

Speakers at the annual meeting include a wide array of judges, in-house, and outside counsel.

he Sedona Conference Working Group Series was launched in 2002 and represents the evolution of The Sedona Conference from a forum for advanced dialogue to an open think-tank confronting some of the most challenging issues faced by our legal system today.

The mission of Working Group 12 is to develop consensus and nonpartisan principles for managing trade secret litigation and well-vetted guidelines for consideration in protecting trade secrets, recognizing that every organization has and uses trade secrets, that trade secret disputes frequently intersect with other important public policies such as employee mobility and international trade, and that trade secret disputes are litigated in both state and federal courts.

The Sedona Conference Working Group Series was launched in 2002 and represents the evolution of The Sedona Conference from a forum for advanced dialogue to an open think-tank confronting some of the most challenging issues faced by our legal system today.

The mission of Working Group 12 is to develop consensus and nonpartisan principles for managing trade secret litigation and well-vetted guidelines for consideration in protecting trade secrets, recognizing that every organization has and uses trade secrets, that trade secret disputes frequently intersect with other important public policies such as employee mobility and international trade, and that trade secret disputes are litigated in both state and federal courts.

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning trade secrets and noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over thirty years of experience working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (6th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2021), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administering the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administering the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,660 and 870 members, respectively, around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2020 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is “an expert in the field of trade secret and restrictive covenant law,” and is also noted for his “ability to adjust and come up with successful solutions.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Beck Reed Riden LLP Attorneys Named to 2024 Best Lawyers in America List

Beck Reed Riden LLP is pleased to announce that four of its lawyers have been named to the 2024 Edition of Best Lawyers. In addition, Russell Beck was named the 2024 Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year” in Employment Law – Management in Boston, and Trade Secrets Law in Boston.

Russell Beck, Stephen Riden, Nicole Daly, and Bob Shea were named to the 2024 Best Lawyers in America list in the following categories:

  • Russell Beck: Commercial Litigation, Employment Law – Management, Litigation – Labor and Employment, and Trade Secrets Law
  • Steve Riden: Commercial Litigation, and Litigation – Labor and Employment
  • Nicole Daly: Employment Law – Management, and Litigation – Labor and Employment
  • Bob Shea: Employment Law – Management

Best Lawyers accolades recognize the top 5% of legal talent in private practice throughout the United States.

Best Lawyers has published their list for more than 40 years. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 65 countries.

Best Lawyers Award BadgeLawyers on the Best Lawyers in America ® list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing. For the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, more than 13.7 million votes were analyzed to identify the top legal talent, as identified by their peers.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck and Sarah Tishler in the Boston Bar Journal on Noncompete Regulation

Russell Beck and Sarah Tishler’s article about the FTC’s proposed nationwide rule banning non-compete agreements was recently published by the Boston Bar Journal.

The article, titled “The FTC New Proposed Rule on Non-Competes,” explores the arguments for and against adopting the FTC’s proposed nationwide ban on noncompetes. The article is presented in a point / counterpoint format, with Russell and Sarah’s article providing the perspective against the proposed rule, and Spencer Thompson and Patricia Washienko of Washienko Law Group, LLC, writing in support of the proposed rule.

For context, the FTC’s proposed rule provides:

“It is an unfair method of competition for an employer to enter into or attempt to enter into a non-compete clause with a worker; maintain with a worker a non-compete clause; or represent to a worker that the worker is subject to a non-compete clause where the employer has no good faith basis to believe that the worker is subject to an enforceable non-compete clause.”

Moreover, the proposed rule sets forth a proposed “functional test” for defining what qualifies as a non-compete. That test would consider a contractual term to be

“a de facto non-compete clause because it has the effect of prohibiting the worker from seeking or accepting employment with a person or operating a business after the conclusion of the worker’s employment with the employer.”

s Russell and Sarah explore in the article, this statutory language and accompanying test is so broad that virtually any restrictive covenant – including nondisclosure agreements, nonsolicitation agreements, and no-service agreements – could be rendered invalid. The proposed rule carries with it numerous unintended and detrimental consequences, does not further the FTC’s stated goals, and deprives the states of the ability to tailor noncompete legislation to the economic and labor practicalities of their workforce.

Russell and Sarah explain that the

the Proposed Rule would bring to a screeching halt the state-level activity on non-competes, depriving the states of their function as the laboratories of democracy (to paraphrase Justice Brandeis). In the last decade alone, nearly two-thirds of U.S. states have made changes to their laws on non-competes. State legislatures are able to tinker with the specific policies that work best for their unique economic environments; a policy that may work well in Boston may not be the right fit for Bangor.

The Boston Bar Journal is a peer-reviewed, online publication of the Boston Bar Association. It presents timely information, analysis, and opinions to more than 10,000 lawyers in nearly every practice area. The Boston Bar Journal is governed by a volunteer Board of Editors dedicated to publishing outstanding articles that reflect their authors’ independent thought.


For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over thirty years of experience working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (6th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2021), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administering the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administering the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,660 and 870 members, respectively, around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2020 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is “an expert in the field of trade secret and restrictive covenant law,” and is also noted for his “ability to adjust and come up with successful solutions.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Sarah Tishler Featured in Law360 on Noncompete Choice-of-Law and Venue Rules

Sarah Tishler’s article about the challenges presented by choice-of-law and venue provisions in noncompete statutes was published by Law360 under the title, “Minn. Noncompete Ban May Add To Nat’l Venue Choice Tangle.”

The article, reprinted in full below, follows Minnesota’s outright ban on noncompete agreements and focuses on the choice-of-law and venue provision designed to protect Minnesota-based employees.

s of July 1, employee noncompete agreements are no longer valid in the state of Minnesota.

While the law does not apply retroactively to existing employee noncompetes, as of its effective date, Minnesota has joined just three other states — California, North Dakota and Oklahoma — in banning noncompetes entirely.[1]

The outright ban on noncompetes has made headlines for good reason. But also contained in the statute is a significant choice-of-law and venue provision designed to be as protective as possible for Minnesota-based employees.

Subsection 3 of the statute provides that an employer “must not require an employee who primarily resides and works in Minnesota” to agree to a contract — not just noncompetes — that would

  1. require the employee to adjudicate out of Minnesota a claim arising in Minnesota; or
  2. deprive the employee of the substantive protection of Minnesota law with respect to a controversy arising in Minnesota.

Any contractual provision violating the foregoing is “voidable at any time by the employee,” and if such a provision is rendered void, the dispute “shall be adjudicated in Minnesota and Minnesota law shall govern the dispute.”

The subsection also explicitly provides that in addition to injunctive relief and any other remedies, “a court may award an employee who is enforcing rights under this section reasonable attorney fees.”

With this provision, Minnesota joins at least California, Colorado, Louisiana and Washington in providing explicit statutory choice-of-law and venue rules for state resident employees.[2]

With the passage of this law, Minnesota will consider any noncompete agreement signed after July 1 to be voidable by the employee if the agreement requires the employee to adjudicate a dispute outside of Minnesota or deprives the employee of “the substantive protection of Minnesota law,” i.e., the new ban against noncompetes. The Minnesota law goes further than some other states, however, by providing in the statute itself reasonable attorney fees for any employee enforcing rights under that section.

he clear intent of the statute is to prevent employers from avoiding the new ban against noncompetes by inserting another state’s law and venue into contractual choice-of-law and venue provisions. Nonetheless, this type of statutory protection has received entirely mixed treatment in the courts when judges are confronted with the inevitable — and messy — question of whether state or federal law governs the validity, and enforcement, of forum selection clauses in diversity cases.

Of course, that fact pattern is precisely how the question presents itself in the first place.

To offer one example: An employee from Massachusetts, California or Minnesota signs an employment agreement with a company containing a forum selection clause choosing New Jersey. That employee quits and begins working for a competitor in direct violation of the employment agreement. Where will the parties be ordered to litigate?

In Depuy Synthes Sales, Inc. v. Howmedica Osteonics Corp. in March 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said that, in this exact scenario, state law decides the validity of a forum selection clause and choice-of-law and venue clause, and therefore the noncompete clause was void under California Labor Code, Section 925.[3]

In contrast, in Howmedica Osteonics Corp. v. Howard in 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey had come to the polar opposite conclusion under the same forum selection clause in the same employment contract, rejecting arguments that Section 925 invalidated it.[4]

The lack of uniformity persists in other jurisdictions that have considered the same issue.[5] In the related areas of venue transfer and forum non conveniens, similar issues appear.

While some jurisdictions consider the existence of a state forum selection statute to be evidence of the state’s strong public policy, other jurisdictions merely shrug. In support of the former, in AG Resource Holdings LLC v. Terral, the Delaware Chancery Court held in 2021:

The Louisiana [forum selection] laws cited above are clear pronouncements by the Louisiana legislature regarding its public policy on matters of employment and competition. Under the circumstances, Louisiana’s interests must be respected and enforced.[6]

On the other end of the spectrum, in Hilb Group of New England LLC v. LePage, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in May 2022 wrote:

No Massachusetts court has held that the [Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act, which mandates that all cases involving Massachusetts residents must take place in Massachusetts] manifests the state’s strong public policy. Thus, the enforcement of the Agreement’s forum selection clause would not go against a strong public policy of Massachusetts.[7]

A clear path out of this jumble of precedent appears unlikely. In late 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in the Howmedica case from the Ninth Circuit, leaving the circuits to go their own way.

As more states seek to ensure that their residents are indeed protected by the state laws that pass their legislatures, employers operating in multiple states and employers with remote work forces must proceed with caution and stay abreast of the rapid changes to state laws.

Otherwise, the law chosen in a given noncompete or employment agreement may not be the law eventually applied by a court — sometimes with dramatic results.


Sarah Tishler is a commercial litigator whose practice focuses on complex business disputes in state and federal courts, including intellectual property, breach of contract, and fraud claims.


eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.


Footnotes:

  1. Stay tuned for what New York Gov. Kathy Hochul will do with Bill No. S3100A, the bill passed by the New York State Senate and Assembly that would ban all noncompetes.
  2. See, e.g., Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act, M.G.L. 149 § 24L(e)-(f):
    1. No choice of law provision that would have the effect of avoiding the requirements of this section will be enforceable if the employee is, and has been for at least 30 days immediately preceding his or her cessation of employment, a resident of or employed in Massachusetts at the time of his or her termination of employment.
    2. All civil actions relating to employee noncompetition agreements subject to this section shall be brought in the county where the employee resides or, if mutually agreed upon by the employer and employee, in Suffolk county; provided that, in any such action brought in Suffolk county, the superior court or the business litigation session of the superior court shall have exclusive jurisdiction.
  3. Depuy Synthes Sales, Inc. v. Howmedica Osteonics Corp., 28 F.4th 956 (9th Cir. 2022).
  4. Howmedica Osteonics Corp. v. Howard, 2020 WL 1102494, at *3 (D.N.J. Jan. 17, 2020), report and recommendation adopted, 2020 WL 1082601, at *1 (D.N.J. Mar. 5, 2020).
  5. See, e.g., Terral v. AG Res. Holdings LLC, 54,156 (La. App. 2 Cir. 3/9/22), 335 So. 3d 1009, 1016-17 (invalidating Delaware choice-of-law provision in favor of Louisiana statute); Zeppelin Systems USA Inc. v. Pyrolyx USA Indiana LLC, 2020 WL 1082774, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 5, 2020) (upholding validity of forum-selection clause under federal law, despite an Indiana law that would render the clause invalid); NuMSP LLC v. St. Etienne, 462 F. Supp. 3d 330, 345 (S.D.N.Y. May 22, 2020) (“in determining whether a forum selection provision is invalid, the Court focuses on the public policy of the forum state, not some other state”).
  6. AG Resource Holdings LLC v. Terral, No. CV 2020-0850-JRS, 2021 WL 486831, at *5 (Del. Ch. Feb. 10, 2021).
  7. Hilb Group of New England LLC v. LePage, No. 3:21-cv-757, 2022 WL 1538583, at *4 (E.D. Va. May 16, 2022).
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