Russell Beck Featured in Law360 on California’s Expanded Noncompete Ban

Russell Beck‘s article about California’s new, expanded, anti-restrictive covenant laws was published by Law360 under the title, “Get Ready for Calif.’s Expanded Restrictive Covenant Ban.

The article, reprinted in full below, analyzes California’s new law expanding the scope of their restrictive covenant ban.

n October 13, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the second of two bills that, together, expand California’s restrictive covenant law and prioritize it over the laws of every other state.

The two new laws go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024, and will operate retroactively.

What do you need to know?

First, the background.

While most states permit reasonable employee noncompete agreements,[1] California has banned employee noncompetes since 1872.[2]

Some courts, however, had interpreted Californina Business and Professions Code Section 16600 — California’s noncompete statute — as making illegal only “those restraints which preclude one from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business,” but permitting restrictive covenants “where one is barred from pursuing only a small or limited part of the business, trade or profession.”[3] This interpretation was generally referred to as the narrow restraint doctrine.

In 2009, in Edwards v. Arthur Andersen LLP, the California Supreme Court rejected the narrow restraint doctrine and made it clear that the ban applied not only to noncompetes, but to nonsolicitation of clients as well.[4]

Following that decision, other courts in California have found no-recruit agreements[5] and broad confidentiality agreements to be banned by the statute as well.[6]

hat brings us to this year.

During September and October, the California Legislature extended the ban even further through two new laws.

The first law — S.B. 699 — adds Section 16600.5 to the California Business and Professions Code. With that new law, which will become effective on Jan. 1, California essentially thumbed its nose at all other state laws, virtually saying, “California’s public policy against restraint of trade law trumps other state laws.”

The impact of the law is extreme. By way of example, an employee living in Massachusetts with a noncompete executed in Massachusetts, valid in Massachusetts, enforceable in Massachusetts, and for which the employee received substantial consideration, can — according to California’s soon-to-be-effective law — flee to California, void the contract and ignore those otherwise-lawful obligations with impunity.[7]

Whether this law is constitutional or will be enforced by non-California courts remains to be seen.

However, apparently unsatisfied with merely imposing its existing state policy on the rest of the country, California has doubled down on its policy, both expanding the scope of its restrictive covenant ban and imposing additional obligations on companies using restrictive covenants.

Specifically, the law signed by Newsom on Oct. 13 — A.B. 1076 — changes California’s noncompete statute in several ways.

First, it mandates that Section 16600 “shall be read broadly, in accordance with Edwards v. Arthur Andersen … to void the application of any noncompete agreement in an employment context, or any noncompete clause in an employment contract, no matter how narrowly tailored.”[8]

Second, it prohibits companies from including “a noncompete clause in an employment contract, or … requir[ing] an employee to enter a noncompete agreement, that does not satisfy an exception in this chapter.”[9] To be clear: This does not just void an agreement or render it unenforceable — it prohibits its use.

Third, it requires companies — by Feb. 14, 2024 — to notify employees subject to a covenant that violates Section 16600 that their restrictions are void.[10] This notice requirement applies to current employees, as well as to former employees who were employed after Jan. 1, 2022.[11] The notice must be “in the form of a written individualized communication to the employee or former employee, and shall be delivered to the last known address and the email address of the employee or former employee.”[12]

Fourth, not surprisingly, the new law also adds penalties for failing to comply by making it “an act of unfair competition” to violate the statute.[13]

ow will this affect you?

First, the new law immediately presents a threshold question: What agreements, in addition to noncompetes and nonsolicitation covenants, are covered?

Although purporting not to constitute a change, but rather to be “declaratory [of] existing law,”[14] the law does in fact expand on existing case law.

For example, it seems to change the law on no-recruit agreements. Currently, the law is unsettled. But the following language suggests that no-recruit agreements will likely be prohibited going forward: “This section shall not be limited to contracts where the person being restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business is a party to the contract.”[15]

This language presumably covers many other agreements as well. For example, it seems to prohibit joint venture agreements and confidentiality agreements in connection with a possible merger or acquisition, where the company parties agree not to hire the other party’s employees during the joint venture or exploratory period — putting aside for some time after.[16]

Similarly, broad confidentiality agreements are likely also covered, at least to the extent that the confidentiality obligations could be interpreted to be so broad as to effectively prevent someone from working in their field, i.e., effectively constituting a noncompete agreement.[17]

Second, the new law will affect different companies and employees differently.

From the perspective of a company that is incorporated or headquartered in California, there is an argument that the company simply cannot use noncompetes, nonsolicits, no-recruits, broad nondisclosure agreements or other agreements that might violate the new law with anyone. Full stop. No employees. Nowhere.

To the extent that the company is using any of these restrictive covenants, it will need to take steps to promptly undo those agreements and notify affected employees — and others with whom they may have such agreements.

From the perspective of a company outside of California with employees in California, the new law can still be an issue. Companies with California employees who have noncompetes or nonsolicits — and likely no-recruits and broad nondisclosure agreements — will need to promptly come up with a plan for complying with the new law.

For example, such companies will need to consider whether to send notices at all and, if so, which employees they will send notices to. And they will need to consider whether and how to address no-recruit agreements and confidentiality agreements. They will also need to make sure that they are taking reasonable measures to protect their trade secrets, other confidential information, customer and employee goodwill, and any other legitimate business interests.

From the perspective of an employee, this is obviously a boon. I expect we will see an increased number of employees fleeing — at least temporarily — to California to void their restrictive covenants. California will become even more of a clearing house for employees who live, work and enjoy benefits received in other states, in exchange for agreeing to a restrictive covenant. Specifically, many of those employees are likely to relocate to California to relieve themselves of their otherwise-enforceable contractual obligations.

We will have to see how this all plays out, but I fully expect that there will be plenty of legal challenges to the law. And I expect they will come soon, given the Jan. 1, 2024, effective date, the laws’ retroactive operation and the Valentine’s Day deadline to send notice to affected employees.

hat steps should you take now?

As noted above, the time to come up with a plan for compliance with the new California laws is short. Planning should start now.

Separately, now is also the time to revisit how your company — or your clients’ companies — protects confidential information, including trade secrets, and other legitimate business interests. While there are many contractual options,[18] including for example, deferred compensation plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act that have forfeiture-for-competition provisions,[19] their effectiveness may be questionable in light of California’s new laws.[20]

For that reason, it is all the more important to have a comprehensive trade secret — and other legitimate business interest — protection plan in place now.

A good starting point is to review all documents related to protecting the company’s legitimate business interests. Those documents include any restrictive covenant agreements, whether contained in employment agreements, restricted stock unit agreements, stock option agreements, long-term incentive agreements or other agreements, and policies and codes of conduct. All such documents should be brought into compliance and strengthened as much as permissible and appropriate.

From an operational standpoint, make sure that there is a culture of confidentiality. That is not to say that all information needs to be locked down; there is always a balance. If information is locked down too tightly, work becomes less efficient and people will find workarounds, likely resulting in even less security for the information.

Training is critical.[21] And it should be provided at all stages of the employment life cycle where there is a risk of infiltration of — and contamination by — someone else’s information, or a risk of exfiltration and loss of trade secrets. Training of some sort should be conducted during the recruiting and onboarding process, through and during the employment relationship, and at off-boarding.

Given that the goal is to protect trade secrets, as well as customer relationships and other legitimate business interests — as opposed to being able to win a costly, time-consuming lawsuit after the fact — preemptive measures are critical. Take them now before there is a problem. It truly is the case that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


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.


[1] See Beck, Employee Noncompetes, A State-by-State Survey (“50 State Noncompete Survey”), available at https://www.beckreedriden.com/50-state-noncompete-chart-2/.

[2] See Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 16600.

[3] See Campbell v. Trustees of Leland Stanford Jr. Univ ., 817 F.2d 499, 502-03 (9th Cir. 1987) (citations omitted).

[4] Edwards v. Arthur Andersen , 44 Cal.4th 937, 81 Cal. Rptr. 3d 282, 189 P.3d 285 (Cal. 2008). The “narrow restraint” exception was, as its name implies, an interpretation of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 16600 that permitted certainly narrowly tailored restrictive covenants.

[5] No-recruit agreements are often called “employee nonsolicitation clauses” (or simply “nonsolicitation agreements”) or “no-raid” agreements.

[6] See, e.g., AMN Healthcare, Inc. v. AYA Healthcare Servs., Inc ., 28 Cal.App.5th 923, 936-939, 239 Cal. Rptr. 3d 577 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) (no-recruit agreements); Parsable, Inc. v. Landreth , 2022 WL 19692034, at *3-4 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 5, 2022) (no-recruit agreements); Brown v. TGS Mgmt ., 57 Cal.App.5th 303, 271 Cal. Rptr. 3d 303 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020) (broad confidentiality agreement). Instructively, none of these cases was decided by the California Supreme Court, and therefore they do not overrule preexisting case law, including case law suggesting that no-recruit agreements are permissible under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 16600, such as Loral v. Moyes , 174 Cal. App. 3d 268, 278-280 (1985).

[7] This new law is discussed in some detail in Russell Beck, California is set to (officially) tortiously interfere with noncompetes from other states (Sept. 6, 2023), available at https://faircompetitionlaw.com/2023/09/06/california-is-set-to-officially-tortiously-interfere-with-noncompetes-from-other-states/; and Sarah Tishler, Calif. Law Tests Noncompete Prohibitions’ Potential Reach (Oct. 3, 2023), available at https://www.law360.com/articles/1726065/calif-law-tests-noncompete-prohibitions-potential-reach.

[8] New Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 16600(b)(1).

[9] New Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 16600.1(a).

[10] New Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 16600.1(b)(1).

[11] Id.

[12] New Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 16600.1(b)(2).

[13] New Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 16600.1(c).

[14] New Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 16600.1(b)(2).

[15] New Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 16600(c).

[16] Though perhaps offering little solace, while these types of B2B agreements might be void under section 16600, they likely do not constitute an act of unfair competition under 16600.1(c) insofar as they neither are in an employment contract nor “require an employee to enter a noncompete agreement . . . .”

[17] See Brown v. TGS Mgmt. , 57 Cal.App.5th 303, 271 Cal. Rptr. 3d 303 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020); FTC proposed “Non-Compete Clause Rule,” available at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/01/19/2023-00414/non-compete-clause-rule.

[18] For some suggestions, see Russell Beck and Erika Hahn, 3 Ways To Plan For A Possible Federal Ban On Noncompetes (March 17, 2021), available at https://www.law360.com/articles/1363450/3-ways-to-plan-for-a-possible-federal-ban-on-noncompetes; Russell Beck, Change of Course on Noncompetes: President Biden to Issue Executive Order (July 8, 2021), available at https://faircompetitionlaw.com/2021/07/08/change-of-course-on-noncompetes-president-biden-to-issue-executive-order/.

[19] See Gretchen Harders and Cassandra Labbees, ERISA Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans, Restrictive Covenants, and ERISA Preemption (June 27, 2019), available at https://www.natlawreview.com/article/erisa-nonqualified-deferred-compensation-plans-restrictive-covenants-and-erisa#:~:text=A%20restrictive%20covenant%20in%20a,a%20result%20of%20the%20behavior.

[20] Some of these agreements may also be of questionable utility if the Federal Trade Commission moves forward with a rule that would ban noncompete agreements as well as any other agreements that the FTC interprets to be “de facto” noncompetes, such as broad confidentiality agreements. See Russell Beck, FTC Should Take Nuanced Approach On Noncompete Regs (July 19, 2021), available at https://www.law360.com/articles/1403765/ftc-should-take-nuanced-approach-on-noncompete-regs.

[21] Even short video trainings can be helpful. See Beck Reed Riden, LLP’s Ten Minute Trade Secret TrainingTM videos, available at https://beckreedriden.com/50-state-noncompete-chart-2/.

Russell Beck Featured in Bloomberg Law on Noncompete Agreements

Russell Beck was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article about state and federal efforts to ban noncompete agreements.

The story is titled “States Add to ‘Fire Hose’ of Noncompete Issues Vexing Employers.” The June 13, 2023, article was written by Chris Marr, who writes about labor & employment news for Bloomberg Law.

The article discusses growing support in state legislatures and in the federal government to restrict or ban the use of noncompete agreements. The article discusses Minnesota’s recent noncompete ban and the proposed rule issued by the Federal Trade Commission that would essentially forbid noncompete agreements.

The article quotes Russell as follows:

Employers nationwide, but especially in states enacting strong restrictions, need to think carefully about when and why they’ve used noncompetes historically and consider alternative strategies going forward, said Russell Beck, an attorney at Beck Reed Riden LLP in Boston.

“Typically what they’re trying to protect is their information including trade secrets and confidential information, as well as their relationships with the customers,” he said.

Other ways to protect those assets include strengthening physical and electronic security for confidential data, training employees on their obligations, and improving processes for reinforcing customer relationships immediately after a key employee leaves, according to Beck.

Some companies also have begun to use notice requirements in place of noncompetes, he said. For example, a company might require an employee to give a 30- or 60-day notice before leaving, and the business could opt to keep them on the job or else pay them to stay home for that time period while the company takes steps to secure customer relationships that might be affected—a version of the garden leave concept that’s common in UK employment contracts.

Since the article was published, the state of New York has inched closer to a complete noncompete ban.


Russell frequently writes about current efforts to regulate noncompete agreements. He was featured on NPR and quoted in the New York Times discussing federal regulatory efforts targeting noncompete agreements. In January 2023, Russell wrote an article for Law360 called “Companies Must Brace For FTC’s Overbroad Noncompete Rule.” 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.

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.

Stephen Riden Featured in The National Law Journal on Noncompetes

A recent issue of The National Law Journal features discussion with Steve Riden in an article titled “Legal Industry Is Split on FTC’s Proposed Ban on Non-Competes.”

The article covers the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed Noncompete Clause Rule, which would essentially ban all employee noncompete agreements. The report was written by Christine Schiffner, Bureau Chief for the National Law Journal in Washington, D.C.

In the article, attorneys discuss a variety of viewpoints about the value of noncompete agreements, and assess the FTC’s proposal to restrict such provisions. Steve Riden is quoted as follows:

“We would suggest that the FTC reconsider an outright ban of non-compete agreements,” said Boston-based Beck Reed & Riden partner Stephen Riden. He and the firm’s other name partner Russell Beck spearheaded the publication of an open letter signed by 59 attorneys underscoring the effectiveness of non-compete agreements to protect trade secrets and “stealing confidential company information” when employees leave their jobs. His firm is also planning to actively weigh in during the FTC’s public comment period.

***

While 47 U.S. states currently permit non-competes and three states have enacted bans, Riden points out that “there are measures that can be taken to soften the impacts of non-competes,” including clear disclosures and more transparency during the hiring process. “Companies could provide notice of the non-compete agreements before the employee accepts the job,” Riden said—“so employees start a new role with their eyes wide open.”

***

While the FTC argues that the new rule would promote “greater dynamism, healthy competition, and innovation,” defense attorneys disagree. Particularly in circumstances of employees handling confidential or even trade secret information, non-compete clauses “give the old employer the opportunity to protect and further capitalize on the confidential information,” Riden said.

Steve has substantial experience representing companies and individuals in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters.

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 to Speak on Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Panel About Proposed Noncompete Ban

Russell Beck will appear on a panel assembled by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly titled “FTC Proposes Nationwide Ban on Non-Competes.”

The seminar will focus on the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed Noncompete Clause Rule, which would essentially ban all employee noncompete agreements. The free event will be held on Monday, January 30, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. ET on Zoom. More information and registration is available here.

Anyone who is unable to attend the live session should still register, as Lawyers Weekly will send a recording and the slides after the presentation.

Panelists will discuss the current landscape, what the rule says, what the impact will be on employers, what the timeline might be for implementation, the implications for non-disclosure agreements and other restrictive covenants, what alternatives the FTC might consider, and what businesses can do.

or 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.

Russell frequently writes and speaks about current efforts to regulate noncompete agreements. He was featured on NPR and quoted in the New York Times discussing federal regulatory efforts targeting noncompete agreements. In January 2023, Russell was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article about the FTC’s proposed rule, and he wrote an article for Law360 called “Companies Must Brace For FTC’s Overbroad Noncompete Rule.” 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.

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 MCLE About Proposed Noncompete Ban

Russell Beck will be speaking at the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education’s seminar on the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed Noncompete Clause Rule, which would essentially ban all employee noncompete agreements.

The presentation, titled “FTC’s Proposed Rule Banning Noncompetes,” will take place online on January 25, 2023, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. ET.

Registration and additional information for the MCLE program can be found here.

According to the description of the program, “[o]n January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission announced a groundbreaking proposed rule, which would ban employee noncompetes. The proposed rule, if enacted, will completely change the landscape on restrictive covenants and trade secret protection. Not only would employers be unable to use or enforce noncompetes, they would be required to take steps to rescind existing noncompetes and notify employees that they are no longer enforceable. The proposed rule, which President Biden urged the FTC to adopt, purports to preempt all state law on noncompetes, including centuries of case law and significant recent state legislative efforts.”

MCLE describes the target audience for this program as follows:

Employers and employees need to be aware of and begin to plan for the possible adoption of the proposed rule (or a revised version thereof). Interested parties should also take advantage of the 60-day period to comment to the FTC on the proposed rule. This fast-track program is designed to assist lawyers in advising their clients in planning for compliance.

Russell frequently writes and speaks about current efforts to regulate noncompete agreements. He was featured on NPR and quoted in the New York Times discussing federal regulatory efforts targeting noncompete agreements. In January 2023, Russell was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article about the FTC’s proposed rule, and he wrote an article for Law360 called “Companies Must Brace For FTC’s Overbroad Noncompete Rule.” 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.

_____

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.

Russell Beck Featured in Bloomberg Law on Noncompete Agreements

Russell Beck was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article about the FTC’s proposal to ban noncompete agreements.

The story is titled “FTC’s Noncompete Ban Mirrors State Proposals Before Scaling Back.” The January 9, 2023, article was written by Chris Marr, who writes about labor & employment news for Bloomberg Law.

The article discusses the proposed rule recently issued by the Federal Trade Commission that would essentially ban noncompete agreements.

The article quotes Russell as follows:

“I expect that the FTC will pare back the proposed rule to make it address the abuses,” which include “using them for low-wage workers, using overly-broad noncompetes, and disclosing the requirement of a noncompete the day the employee shows up for work,” said Russell Beck, an employment lawyer with Beck Reed Riden LLP in Boston.

The FTC rule is widely expected to face legal challenges, as many lawyers and business interests such as the US Chamber of Commerce question whether Congress delegated such broad rulemaking authority to the commission.

“Even though the FTC likely doesn’t have authority to issue any rule on employee noncompetes outside of mergers, I think if they create a narrow rule, it will be far less likely to be challenged,” Beck said.

____

Russell frequently writes about current efforts to regulate noncompete agreements. He was featured on NPR and quoted in the New York Times discussing federal regulatory efforts targeting noncompete agreements. In January 2023, Russell wrote an article for Law360 called “Companies Must Brace For FTC’s Overbroad Noncompete Rule.” 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.

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.

Russell Beck Publishes Article on Proposed Noncompete Ban

Russell Beck‘s article about the Federal Trade Commission’s proposal to essentially ban noncompete agreements was published by Law360 under the title, “Companies Must Brace For FTC’s Overbroad Noncompete Rule.”

The FTC’s proposed rule follows President Biden’s Executive Order on noncompete agreements

In the article, Russell reports that:

On Jan. 5, the FTC proposed a rule called the Noncompete Clause Rule, which would essentially ban all employee noncompetes, as well as any other restrictive covenant — including nondisclosure agreements — that can be interpreted by the FTC as a de facto noncompete.

The proposed rule would bar new noncompete agreements, and retroactively invalidate all existing noncompetes

ussell observes that the FTC’s

throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater approach is a mistake. While a bright-line rule provides clarity and certainty, the unintended consequences are likely to be extreme and can potentially dwarf the benefits of a complete ban.

For example, the rule would almost certainly result in more trade secrets being unlawfully taken to a competitor. The theft of trade secrets is already estimated to cost the economy hundreds of billions of dollars a year and was a principle driver of the 2016 enactment of the Defend Trade Secrets Act.

Given the FTC’s move to ban noncompete agreements, Russell says the time to act is now:

Immediate action is required.

First, become part of the discussion. The FTC has requested public comment on virtually everything in its 218-page notice. Whether you use noncompetes or oppose their use, if you have something useful to add to the discussion, add it. This is the time to voice your opinion before it’s too late. But I encourage an honest debate with supportable facts and argument, not rhetoric and hyperbole.

This has been a four-plus year process that is crescendoing now. This will be the last chance for companies and individuals to provide input. If you have any, provide it. And do it now. You have 60 days from the date the notice is published in the Federal Register. While the FTC is almost certainly going to promulgate a rule, it has signaled a willingness to consider shifting to a more balanced approach.

In addition to the suggestion to give comments to the FTC, Russell also suggests that companies should stop using noncompete agreements for low-wage workers.

Russell concludes that

The FTC’s proposed rule needs to be a wake-up call. Companies need to immediately take steps to provide their input to the FTC and, simultaneously, brace for its impact — which may be far from certain for many months to come.

_____

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.

Russell Beck Featured in Bloomberg Law on Noncompete Agreements

Russell Beck was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article about recent state initiatives to regulate the use of noncompete agreements for low-wage workers.

The story is titled “Red State Lawmakers Look at Noncompete Bans for Low-Wage Workers.” The February 9, 2022, article was written by Chris Marr, who writes about labor & employment news for Bloomberg Law.

The article discusses recent legislative efforts in several states to regulate or prohibit the use of non-competition agreements for lower-wage and hourly workers.

The article quotes Russell as follows:

Research suggests 18% of the U.S. workforce is bound by a noncompete, and 38% of workers have signed one previously.

How often employers attempt to enforce noncompetes against low-wage workers is difficult to measure, said Russell Beck, attorney at Beck Reed Riden LLP in Boston, whose practice focuses largely on employment covenants. Enforcement sometimes happens through civil litigation, but can also take the form of a verbal reminder or a cease-and-desist letter to the employee, he said.

“There are a lot of low-wage workers bound by noncompetes and complying with them, even when they might not in fact be enforceable,” Beck said.

Russell explains that the recent legislative activity at the state level mirrors federal efforts to regulate noncompete agreements:

The state legislative activity also comes as the Federal Trade Commission considers nationwide regulation to limit noncompetes—a process still in the research stage, Beck said. President Joe Biden called on the FTC last July to ban or limit employee noncompetes as part of a sweeping executive order aimed at improving competition in the economy.

In the article, Russell also addresses the national influence of model legislation to reform noncompete agreements that was published last year by the non-partisan Uniform Law Commission:

Release of the commission’s model should help motivate more states to establish clear standards for enforceability of noncompetes, as well as similar covenants such as nonsolicitation agreements, said Beck, who helped write that sample bill.

Business groups have an incentive to want clear, uniform standards, he said, since now many states’ courts determine whether noncompetes are enforceable on a case-by-case basis relying on common law. But don’t expect a rush of states suddenly all adopting the model language, he added.

“It won’t be overnight. It will take years” to potentially get to a majority of states adopting some version of the model, Beck said. “States are really taking a careful look at their current laws.”

Russell notes that the jury is still out as to whether regulations to limit enforcement of noncompete agreements has any measurable, positive impact on wages and other economic activity:

The success of existing state laws at preventing overuse or abuse of employee noncompetes is tough to measure, Beck and Farley each said.

Research into Oregon’s ban on noncompetes for low-wage workers—published by University of Maryland Professor Evan Starr and FTC Economist Michael Lipsitz—found the law might have helped produce a small boost to wage growth and job mobility. But Beck noted it’s hard to be sure whether the noncompete law was the main cause of those economic impacts.

____

Russell frequently writes about current legislative efforts to regulate noncompete agreements. He was featured on NPR and quoted in the New York Times discussing federal regulatory efforts targeting noncompete agreements. 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.

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.

Russell Beck Featured in Law360 on FTC Noncompete Regulation Efforts

Russell Beck‘s article about a recent Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice workshop focused on noncompete agreements was published by Law360 under the title, “What New FTC Workshop Revealed About Noncompete Regs.

The FTC workshop follows President Biden’s Executive Order on noncompete agreements

In the article, Russell observes that:

Although the scope of the workshop was wide-ranging, there was a clear focus on noncompete agreements.

Indeed, the topic of noncompetes came up repeatedly throughout the course of the full, two-day workshop.

The discussion began with FTC Chair Lina Khan referencing noncompetes as “take-it-or-leave-it agreements.” And in the closing remarks Karina Lubell, assistant chief of the DOJ’s Competition Policy and Advocacy Section, noted that, like other vertical restrictions, noncompetes are harmful, “especially for low income and other workers ill positioned to negotiate” the restrictions “or later challenge them in court.”

During the workshop, panelists shared divergent perspectives and referenced various studies on the effects of restrictive covenants. In this regard, Russell writes that, “[w]ith so much conflicting information — studies contradicting other studies, evidence disproving studies, misplaced assumptions about the rise in use of noncompetes, etc. — and such high stakes (nothing short of the impact on the U.S. economy), regulators need to be extremely careful how they proceed. These issues are plainly more complicated than they appear, and there seems to be a general understanding that additional research is required.”

Russell’s article discusses a new study issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia that was not discussed during the workshop. In that study, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s study found “little support for the widely held view that enforcement of non-compete agreements negatively affects the entry rate of new firms or the rate of jobs created by new firms.”

Russell writes:

To the contrary, the study — which focused on Michigan’s 1985 elimination of a ban on noncompetes — found that increased enforcement [of noncompetes] had no effect on the entry rate of startups, but a positive effect on jobs created by these startups in Michigan relative to a counterfactual of states that did not enforce such covenants pre- and post-treatment. Specifically, we find that a doubling of enforcement led to an increase of about 8 percent in the startup job creation rate in Michigan. We also find evidence that enforcing non-competes positively affected the number of high-tech establishments and the level of high-tech employment in Michigan.

According to Russell, “[t]his study thus raises the serious prospect that bans on noncompetes intended to help startups will do precisely the opposite.”

____

Russell frequently writes about current federal efforts to regulate noncompete agreements. He was featured on NPR discussing President Biden’s Executive Order. 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 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.

Russell Beck Featured in Law360 on Federal Noncompete Order

Russell Beck‘s article about President Biden’s recent Executive Order on noncompete agreements was published by Law360 under the title, “FTC Should Take Nuanced Approach On Noncompete Regs.

Among other things, Biden’s order encourages the FTC to exercise its rulemaking authority “to curtail the unfair use of non-compete clauses and other clauses or agreements that may unfairly limit worker mobility.”

Russell’s analysis begins with an overview of recent state and federal initiatives to restrict or eliminate the use of noncompete agreements. With respect to Biden’s recent directive to the FTC, Russell explains that “even assuming that the FTC has authority to regulate in this area, proper regulation of noncompetes is a very nuanced issue with which states have wrestled for over 200 years.”

n the article, Russell notes that there are competing viewpoints about what the FTC should do.

On one side, there are opponents of noncompete agreements who seek to ban them altogether, variously contending that “non-compete clauses inflict real harms on workers and competition and offer no credible offsetting benefits to society,” and that “employers use non-compete clauses to discourage workers from seeking, or even exploring, alternative work and business opportunities.”

On the other side, Russell notes that there are many who urge restraint and suggest “that any regulation should focus on leveling the playing field and adding additional transparency and fairness to the use of noncompetes.” This was the approach suggested by Russell Beck and scores of other experts in the field who recently submitted a letter to the FTC.

Given that it may be more than a year before the FTC issues any noncompete regulations, Russell advises that companies take the following three steps now:

  1. Reach out to the FTC to share your view.
  2. Review any restrictive covenant agreements, including those contained not just in employment agreements, but in restricted stock unit agreements, stock option agreements, long-term incentive agreements and other agreements. Also, review all policies and codes of conduct and strengthen them as appropriate.
  3. Make sure that there is a culture of confidentiality at your company. Training is critical. If you are not providing training at all stages of the employment life cycle — at the time of onboarding, during the employment relationship, and at off-boarding — you are potentially exposing your work to contamination by someone else’s information, and exfiltration and loss of your own trade secrets.

Russell was recently featured on NPR discussing President Biden’s Executive Order. 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 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.

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