Russell Beck and Erika Hahn Featured in Law360 on Proposed Noncompete Ban

Russell Beck and Erika Hahn‘s article on President Biden’s proposal to ban most noncompete agreements was published by Law360 under the title, “3 Ways to Plan for a Possible Federal Ban on Noncompetes.”

Their analysis begins with an overview of current federal initiatives to restrict or eliminate the use of noncompete agreements. Russell and Erika explain that, although these initiatives “are presumably well-intended, they typically rely on nascent, nuanced, inconclusive, and sometimes inconsistent research and reflexively draw misplaced causal inferences.”

According to their article, “now is the time to review and update your overall legitimate business interest protection strategy.”

Given the uncertainty around the future of noncompete agreements, Russell and Erika provide practical steps companies should consider to protect their business interests whether or not noncompete covenants are barred. These steps include consideration of the following employee agreements:

  • Narrowly-tailored noncompete agreements
  • Nondisclosure agreements
  • Nonsolicitation, noninterference and no-service agreements
  • No-recruit, no-raid and no-hire agreements
  • Invention assignment agreements
  • Springing (or “time out”) noncompetes

In their article, Russell and Erika observe that “even if noncompetes are banned, similar restrictions may survive (to the extent permitted by state law),” including the following:

  • Traditional garden leave/notice covenants: Through these agreements, employee are required to provide notice of resignation for a specified (typically, lengthy) period, during which they remain employed by their soon-to-be-former employer (but do no work) and, as a consequence, remain bound by their fiduciary duties (including to not compete).
  • Forfeiture-for-competition agreements and compensation-for-competition agreements: These are agreements by which an employee either forfeits certain benefits or pays some amount of money (often a percentage of revenues) if they engage in activities that are competitive with their former employer.
  • Compensation-for-noncompetition-choice agreements: These agreements provide for a payment (money, stock options, profit sharing or other consideration) to an employee who voluntarily chooses to refrain from competing. Unlike a forfeiture-for-competition provision (which is often considered a noncompete), nothing is forfeited. Instead, if they choose to refrain from competing, they receive compensation to which they otherwise would not have been entitled.

In April 2020, Russell Beck and Erika Hahn’s article about the FTC’s investigation about whether it should regulate noncompetes was published by Law360. In July 2019, Law360 published Russell Beck’s analysis of misconceptions in the noncompete debate. In December 2019, Law360 also published an article by Russell Beck and Erika Hahn about federal noncompete reform efforts.

____

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 twenty five years 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 (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), 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 administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 and 850 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 and Erika Hahn in Lawyers Weekly on Biden’s Proposal to Ban Noncompetes

White HouseRussell Beck and Erika Hahn‘s article about President-elect Biden’s announcement of a policy to ban most noncompete agreements was recently published by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Their article, titled “Biden’s proposed ban of (most) noncompetes: steps to take (now) to protect trade secrets and goodwill,” provides thorough analysis of Joe Biden’s proposed non-compete ban, discussion of the rationale used to support the President-elect’s position, and practical steps companies should consider to protect their business interests whether or not noncompete covenants are barred.

According to the article, Biden’s proposal to ban noncompetes appears to ignore the policy recommendations of a 2016 Treasury Department report. Russell and Erika explain that the Biden administration’s proposal appears to “ignore the Treasury report’s ultimate conclusions and recommendations — as well as those of the Obama administration’s follow-up report and resulting Call to Action — all of which called for a rational response, as opposed to a throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater response, focused on addressing the abuses, rather than proper use, of noncompetes.”

Russell and Erika further explain,

While a near complete ban may not be imminent, protecting trade secrets, confidential business information, goodwill, and other recognized legitimate business interests does not happen by accident. It takes planning.

And, when one of the key tools is in the crosshairs, companies need to focus more closely on the remaining options, which can work together to form a cohesive back-up plan when noncompetes are not available — or even when they are simply not necessary or enforceable in the particular circumstances. 

The article suggests practical tools that companies can use to protect their interests, including nonsolicitation and nondisclosure agreements.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

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 twenty five years 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 (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), 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 administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 and 850 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 and Hannah Joseph in the Boston Bar Journal on Protecting Trade Secrets

Russell Beck and Hannah Joseph’s article about strategies to protect trade secrets while office employees are largely working from home was recently published by the Boston Bar Journal.

Their article, titled “Protecting Trade Secrets During (and After) a Global Pandemic: Practical Tips for Employers” provides practical steps for employers to ensure the protection of their trade secrets and other legitimate business interests.

According to the article, COVID’s disruption to the workplace “created a precarious environment for trade secrets, as well as customer relationships and other legitimate business interests. Employees working from home have more opportunity to convert company information and customers, and some, particularly those facing involuntary unemployment, may feel driven to do so.”

Russell and Hannah further explain that, “Whether during or after the pandemic, it is vital for companies to have strong measures in place for protecting their trade secrets and other legitimate business interests, rather than to solely rely on after-the-fact litigation.”

In the article, Russell and Hannah outline specific steps that companies should take now to protect their trade secrets:

  • Know your trade secrets
  • Firm up policies and procedures
  • Educate your employees
  • Monitor your workforce

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.

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 Erika Hahn in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on Protecting Trade Secrets

Russell Beck and Erika Hahn‘s article about strategies to protect trade secrets while office employees are largely working from home was recently published by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Their article, titled “Protecting trade secrets during and after stay-at-home orders,” provides practical steps for establishing a proper trade secret protection program (TSPP).

According to the article, “[t]he ability to protect trade secrets (and other legitimate business interests, including customer goodwill) has been hit by a perfect storm caused by the current coronavirus pandemic.” Beck and Hahn explain that,

At its core, a trade secret protection program is a set of protocols to protect a company’s confidential information — protocols that are not only expected by courts, but, more important, protocols that are designed to prevent the misappropriation of a company’s information in the first place.

While “reasonable” efforts are the legal touchstone for protecting trade secrets, that mandate should not be the motivation. Rather, effective and efficient prevention of misappropriation should be the lodestar.

Few trade secrets are like Coca-Cola, requiring heroic measures for their protection. In most instances, companies can achieve a reasonable balance, preventing misappropriation while enabling employees to use the company’s information for legitimate business purposes.

The goal should be to ensure that protecting the information is the easy path. If the balance tips too far toward preventing misappropriation, making it difficult for employees to get their work done efficiently, they will find a workaround. In contrast, the less resistance, the more likely compliance will happen naturally.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

In the article, Russell and Erika outline specific steps for the establishment of a trade secret protection program, including the following:

Step 1: Understand the landscape

Step 2: Evaluate and update protections

Step 3: Evaluate third-party implications

Step 4: Special considerations in connection with work-from-home (WFH) and other remote work environments

Step 5: Communicate and reinforce expectations

Step 6: Monitor compliance

Step 7: Exit practices and procedures

Step 8: When all else fails, have a plan and implement it

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 twenty five years of 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 (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), 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 administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members 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 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” 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 and Erika Hahn Featured in Law360 on FTC Regulation of Noncompete Agreements

Russell Beck and Erika Hahn‘s response to the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation whether it should regulate noncompete agreements was published by Law360 under the title, “FTC Should Leave Regulation of Noncompetes to States.”

Russell’s response to the FTC’s inquiry can also be found at Fair Competition Law as “FTC Noncompete Workshop – Update on Our Submission.”

The analysis reflects the testimony submitted by 22 lawyers from around the country (including Russell Beck) to the FTC.  In sum, the testimony asserts that

noncompetes have been regulated by the states for over 200 years, and all 50 states have made policy decisions that make sense for their citizens and their economies. In more than 30 of those states, legislatures have recently been reevaluating their law, with different outcomes that balance competing interests in a way that reflects the economic realities of the particular state.

Nevertheless, in no state does the law permit unfettered use of noncompetes, nor has any state banned noncompetes wholesale since 1890. Rather, each of the 47 states permitting noncompetes allows them to be used, to a greater or lesser extent, only as necessary to protect companies from certain types of unfair competition.

Russell and Erika’s article further contends that the FTC should refrain from regulating noncompete agreements, as follows:

The FTC should not use its rulemaking authority to address noncompete clauses. Rather, the states should be left to evaluate and regulate their own economies as they see fit — as they have done for over 200 years. There is no gap to fill. All 50 states have made policy choices — and more than 30 of them have recently or are currently reevaluating those choices, choosing outcomes that make sense for their unique circumstances.

To the extent that the FTC has authority to promulgate a rule and chooses to exercise it, the FTC should be judicious. Before considering any regulatory action, it is important to understand the potential unintended consequences of significant changes in the law, including, for example, significantly increasing the likelihood that trade secrets will be unlawfully taken to a competitor and increasing the volume of more costly trade secret litigation.

The article concludes that,

While the laws are certainly in a state of flux and should remain the purview of the states, any changes should be made only with a proper factual basis — not on misplaced assumptions.

In July 2019, Law360 published Russell Beck’s analysis of misconceptions in the noncompete debate. In December 2019, Law360 also published an article by Russell Beck and Erika Hahn about federal noncompete reform efforts.

____

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 twenty four years of 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 (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • 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 administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members 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 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” 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 and Erika Hahn Featured in Law360 on Federal Noncompete Reform

Russell Beck and Erika Hahn‘s analysis of the misconceptions underlying various efforts to reform, and even ban, noncompete agreements was published by Law360 under the title, “Noncompete Misconceptions May Be Inhibiting Reform.”

The full analysis is also available (without subscription) at Fair Competition Law as “Federal Noncompete Initiatives: When you can’t convince the states, ask the feds.

The analysis discusses recent efforts at the federal level to restrict or ban noncompetes, which follows on the heels of several years of legislative efforts across myriad states to modify noncompete laws. Although very few states have enacted laws that ban noncompete agreements outright, recently-filed federal legislation seeks to just that.

According to Russell and Erika’s analysis, much of the push for restrictions or a ban is premised on:

  • The mistaken assumption that Silicon Valley is the epicenter of tech because California bans noncompetes;
  • Recent preliminary, inconclusive and somewhat inconsistent studies, the nuances of which are ignored;
  • The mistaken belief that trade secret laws and nondisclosure agreements provide adequate protections for trade secrets;
  • The mistaken belief that noncompetes prevent employees from using their general skill and knowledge; and
  • The prevalence of abuses in the use and drafting of noncompetes.

As discussed in the article, Russell Beck submitted testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship hearing on “Noncompete Agreements and American Workers.”

In his testimony and in the article, Russell made the five following recommendations:

  1. Ban noncompetes for low-wage workers.

As a group, low-wage workers rarely have the level of exposure to trade secrets or depth and breadth of customer relationships that might warrant the enforcement of a noncompete, given the countervailing issues.

  1. Ban noncompetes for medical professionals.

The use of noncompetes for doctors, nurses and other health care providers has received substantial scrutiny in the past few years, with many states changing their noncompete laws to ban such agreements. Given the overwhelming public interest in patients having the ability to select who provides their medical care, exempting medical professionals is certainly a rational policy.

  1. Require employers to provide advance notice if they wish employees to sign a noncompete.

One of the other major criticisms of noncompetes is that they are often sprung on employees the day they show up to work. A simple way to eliminate that problem, while retaining the potential benefits of negotiated noncompetes . . ., is to require advance notice.

  1. Adopt the so-called purple pencil approach for overly broad noncompetes.

That approach is a hybrid of the reformation approach (where courts rewrite overly broad agreements) and the red pencil approach (where courts void an overly broad noncompete in its entirety). Specifically, it requires courts to void an overly broad noncompete unless the language reflects a good faith intent to draft a narrow restriction, in which case the court may reform it

  1. Expressly authorize springing noncompetes.

To the extent that one of the goals is to encourage companies to limit their use of noncompetes generally, employers must have a viable remedy for when employees violate other, less-restrictive, obligations such as nondisclosure agreements and nonsolicitation agreements, misappropriate trade secrets, or breach their fiduciary duties to the company. In Massachusetts, the new noncompete law expressly authorizes courts to do this, essentially by imposing a noncompete.

These recommendations were among those suggested by the Obama administration in its 2016 call to action on noncompetes and adopted by many of the states making changes to their laws in the past few years.

In July 2019, Law360 published Russell Beck’s analysis of misconceptions in the noncompete debate.

____

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 twenty four years of 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 (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • 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 administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members 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 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” 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 at large law firms, 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 Erika Hahn Analyze Noncompete Law in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

Russell Beck and Erika Hahn‘s article analyzing how the “new” Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act deals with the issue of consideration was published by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly under the title, “The New Noncompete Law: Compromise Happens.”

The analysis focuses on how the Commonwealth’s noncompete reform law, which went into effect on October 1, 2018, handles the issue of compensating employees for a noncompete that arises after the employee has already started their employment.  The law specifies that such agreements “must be supported by fair and reasonable consideration independent from the continuation of employment,” G.L.c. 149, §24L(b)(ii). This is a requirement that does not exist for a noncompete signed at the start of employment.

For a noncompete entered into at the start of employment, “mutually-agreed upon consideration” is required (or, in the alternative, a garden leave clause).  According to the article,

erika350Reading the two consideration provisions together, the question becomes, if “fair and reasonable consideration” is the standard for consideration for mid-employment noncompetes (when there is a heightened concern for an employee’s leverage), doesn’t that mean that something less than “fair and reasonable consideration” suffices for a noncompete entered at the commencement of employment (when the concern is less pronounced)?

The relative concern giving rise to the requirement of “fair and reasonable consideration” seems to support such a conclusion.

Although the conclusion that something less than “fair and reasonable consideration” is all that is required for a noncompete signed at the start of a new job might seem unfair, that is precisely what the law has always been. Courts do not review the adequacy of consideration, just the fact of it.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

***

But, if that is what the Legislature intended, why include the option of garden leave? The unsatisfactory answer is that inclusion of the garden leave option was a necessary compromise to avoid losing all of the progress that had already been made, including notice requirements, a ban on noncompetes for nonexempt employees, a 12-month durational limit, and, of course, the “fair and reasonable consideration” requirement for employees asked to sign a noncompete mid-employment.

The analysis concludes that the new noncompete law may not change the consideration analysis for noncompetes arising out of the start of a new job:

Thus, a new job and associated compensation and rights may be — as it always has been — sufficient consideration under the new noncompete law.

Time will tell if courts will read greater implications into the inclusion of the garden leave option. Until then, as with many other new laws, we will continue to grapple with some uncertainty, while our clients benefit from the many positive aspects of the new law.

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; it includes:

  • Over twenty two years of 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 (5th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2015), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete cases
  • 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 administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,600 members 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 2019 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is a “terrific” attorney, who “is an excellent choice of counsel regarding noncompete agreements and the resolution of restrictive covenant disputes.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Russell is the focus of the cover story in this year’s New England Super Lawyers, and he was recently named as one of the Lawyers of the Year for 2018 by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, 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.