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 to Speak About Protecting Trade Secrets During COVID

Russell Beck will appear on a panel of experts assembled by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly titled “Protecting Trade Secrets in the COVID Era.”

The free event will be held on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, at 10:00 a.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.

The panel also features:

Panelists will cover a wide range of topics involving the protection of trade secrets, particularly while so many businesses are dealing with a remote workforce. Topics include:

  • Understanding the landscape
  • Evaluating and updating protections
  • Communication and compliance strategies
  • Addressing third party issues

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

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

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

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

  • Over 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 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 Quoted in Massachusetts Lawyer Weekly on Trade Secrets Decision

A recent issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features Russell Beck in an article titled “Trade Secret Misappropriation Judgment Reversed.”

The article covers a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit overturning a lower court’s decision concerning allegations that the plaintiff’s former employee misappropriated a proprietary “tax arbitrage” strategy. The case is titled TLS Management and Marketing Services, LLC v. Rodríguez-Toledo, et al.

As described in the article, the First Circut found

that while client information may not have been available to the public, the plaintiff did not prove it had trade secrets.

“[A]ny trade secrets in the CPR were not identifiable because TLS did not ‘separate the [purported] trade secrets from the other information … known to the trade,’” Judge Timothy B. Dyk wrote for the panel, adding that the U.S. Possession Strategy consisted of public knowledge as well.

Massachusetts Lawyers WeeklyIn the article, Russell Beck is quoted as follows:

Boston attorney Russell Beck said the decision is a big deal for lawyers like himself who handle trade secret and nondisclosure cases.

“Appellate decisions involving trade secrets or nondisclosure agreements are not a frequent occurrence,” Beck said. “And when the 1st Circuit speaks, we all take note.”

More specifically, Beck said the case shows that courts will not reflexively find misappropriation of trade secrets when employees walk out the door with company materials; that plaintiffs must identify trade secrets with specificity before moving forward with discovery; and that the 1st Circuit will take a skeptical view of broad nondisclosure agreements.

The article was written by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reporter Eric T. Berkman.

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 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’s Stay-At-Home Survival Guide Featured in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

A recent issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features Russell Beck in an article titled “Boston attorney’s blog hosts stay-at-home survival guide.”

The article covers a recent series of blog posts penned by Russell, titled “Stuck at Home Doesn’t Have to Mean Bored at Home.” The article was written by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reporter Kris Olson.

In the article, Russell Beck discusses the topical diversions he has been writing about in his blog, Fair Competition Law. Since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, Russell has written a series of posts containing helpful suggestions for staying engaged and entertained while staying at home.

The article discusses Russell’s work as follows:

Typically, one would visit the Fair Competition Law blog to read Boston attorney Russell Beck’s insights on recent developments in noncompete or trade secret litigation.

But, of course, these are not typical times.

So, on March 21, Beck repurposed his blog to host a post titled, “Stuck at Home Doesn’t Have to Mean Bored at Home.” The post contains a compendium of dozens of links, some suggested by friends and family, pointing to online resources to pass the time while social distancing.

“After about one week of lockdown, it seemed so surreal at the time,” Beck says. “I was having non-stop conversations, where it seemed like it was the end of the world as we know it.”

As he thought about what might be helpful, he decided the blog could be a force for “maintaining some semblance of normalcy.”

The positive reaction to the initial post led to a second one on April 13 and then, a few days later, a third. The posts have been passed around on LinkedIn and Facebook, reaching new audiences.

“It seems people are at least finding it valuable enough to look at it, share it, and ‘like’ it,” Beck says

Russell’s blog typically provides up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States.

As described by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Russell’s “Stuck at Home” series of articles cover a wide array of topics:

Beck’s links are separated by category, and he happily shares some of his personal favorites.

***

Under “Cooking, Cookies, and Other Food Options,” Beck says the banana bread recipe he has shared is “pretty amazing,” and in terms of procuring the requisite bananas, Beck has a link to what he says is a helpful Boston Magazine post on “innovative ways to buy fresh produce and groceries.”

***

Within the “Exercise” category, Beck makes room to promote one of his firm’s own, litigation paralegal Paula Astl, who also owns and operates a business offering a personal training program she created, called “The Fix.”

Beck says Astl is “in the best shape of anybody I’ve ever known,” and suggests that if anyone can whip one’s suddenly sedentary body into shape, it would be her.

The article concludes with a reflection by Russell about how the coronavirus shut down has affected Beck Reed Riden LLP:

As for his professional life, Beck says that his office had been a “very collaborative environment,” where open doors and impromptu brainstorming had been the norm, prior to the coronavirus. With a bit of planning, he and his colleagues have salvaged at least some of that spirit.

“But I miss the ability to walk down the hall,” he says.

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 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.

 

Stephen Riden Analyzes Appeals Court Decision in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

A recent issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features discussion with Steve Riden in an article titled “Investor’s suit against foreign bank revived.”

The article covers a decision by the Massachusetts Appeals Court concerning whether a foreign bank had sufficient ties with Massachusetts to be subject to suit within the Commonwealth. The decision was entered in the case titled Von Schönau-Riedweg, et al. v. Rothschild Bank AG.

The decision addresses the exercise of long-arm jurisdiction by a Massachusetts court over a Swiss bank based on the conduct of an advisor that acted as the bank’s agent.

In the article, Steve Riden is quoted as follows:

Attorneys said the decision, while not breaking new ground, is helpful.

“It provides a good road map for any practitioner interested in the status of agency law in Massachusetts,” said Stephen D. Riden, co-chairman of the Boston Bar Association’s Business and Commercial Litigation Section.

***

Riden also noted the Appeals Court’s “back to basics” approach in looking at “elemental hallmarks” of the existence of an agency-principal relationship, such as the advisor’s use of the bank’s business cards, stationery and email system.

“If you are a putting together an affidavit, you should be looking for things like that,” Riden said.

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

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 Quoted in Massachusetts Lawyer Weekly on Noncompetes for Lawyers

A recent issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features Russell Beck in an article titled “Ethical rule fails to free attorney from noncompete.”

The article covers a decision by the Business Litigation Session of the Massachusetts Superior Court that the rules of professional conduct governing the practice of law do not excuse an attorney from complying with the restrictive covenants he had agreed to when he sold his business, as the business was not engaged in the practice of law. The decision was entered in the case titled The Advocator Group, LLC, et al. v. Arruda.  The article was written by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reporter Kris Olson.

Massachusetts Lawyers WeeklyIn the article, Russell Beck is quoted as follows:

Boston lawyer Russell Beck said Arruda further defines the contours of Rule 5.6, which, despite a common misperception, does not prohibit all lawyer non-competition agreements.

Though the rule restricts lawyer noncompetes to a significant degree, the SJC has made clear the rule does not mean that the mere fact someone is a lawyer exempts that person from abiding by such clauses, Beck said.

By Beck’s count, there are at least five exceptions to the general proposition that lawyers cannot by bound by noncompetes. Those include an express agreement for a retirement benefit, the sale of a law practice, and a straight forfeiture agreement like the one at issue in the 1997 SJC case Pettingell v. Morrison, Mahoney & Miller, which Kaplan cited.

The exceptions also include an agreement requiring some payment to a lawyer’s soon-to-be-former firm because the lawyer’s departure jeopardizes the survival of the firm, Beck said.

Arruda fits into the fifth category, which permits non-competition agreements to the extent they apply to work other than in the capacity of a lawyer.

“Narrow restrictions that do not implicate the practice of law will be enforceable, even as applied to a lawyer,” Beck said. “That goes for in-house counsel as well.”

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
  • 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.

Stephen Riden Featured in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on Arbitration

A recent issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features extensive discussion with Steve Riden in an article titled “Benefits of business-to-business arbitration on trial.”

The article covers a decision by U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young concerning the use of arbitration clauses in commercial transactions. The decision was entered in the case titled Cellinfo, LLC v. American Tower Corporation, 18-cv-11250, United States District Court, District of Massachsuetts.

Procedurally, the decision addresses a motion to dismiss based on the defendants’ argument that a dispute resolution clause in the parties’ contract required the matter to be submitted to private arbitration. After addressing the merits of the motion, Judge Young concludes his opinion with a lengthy analysis of private arbitration in general, titled “Whatever Were They Thinking? Myths and Realities Concerning Courts and Arbitration.”

The court introduces its analysis of arbitration as follows: “How could an otherwise sophisticated agreement have made such a hash out of the parties’ intentions concerning the interplay of arbitration and court processes? It appears that in this ‘big law’ era, the drafters operated under the myth that arbitration is cheaper, faster, and more confidential than litigation (only one of these is true) without talking to trial lawyers who understand the reality that while people may not want trials, what they do want is a firm and reasonably prompt trial date before an impartial fact-finder as the best chance for a fairly negotiated settlement.” Judge Young’s analysis proceeds with in-depth discussion of the pros and cons of arbitration, and comparisons to court proceedings.

In the article, Steve Riden is quoted as follows:

Boston commercial litigator Stephen D. Riden says Young made some very good points in CellInfo, points that he himself has raised with his corporate clients.

“In dealing with companies, there’s a perception that arbitration is always going to be faster, cheaper and more confidential than a federal court proceeding,” Riden says. “That’s not always right.”

***

The judge acknowledged that federal litigation is “expensive as well — too expensive.” However, he concluded it was plainly a myth that arbitration is always a bargain by comparison. . . . Noting a typical arbitrator might charge $400 an hour, Riden says Young made one of his better points on the issue of up-front costs.

“For arbitration, it’s going to cost thousands of dollars up front, and it can cost tens of thousands of dollars just to pay for the arbitration over the course of the case,” Riden says. “Compare that to federal court where you put a few hundred dollars on your credit card and you’re off to the races.”

***

Riden acknowledges the popular perception that the costs of discovery in litigation far outweigh the costs of discovery in arbitration. However, he says his experience has shown that the costs tend to be comparable.

“I don’t see much of a difference in terms of cost between conducting discovery in federal court as opposed to conducting discovery in arbitration,” he says. “You’re still going to have to pay for the same forensic experts in both cases.”

***

According to Riden, a main benefit of litigation is that a party can start “pulling levers” to get rulings from a judge on dispositive motions much faster than parties can get decisions on the merits from an arbitrator.

“Typically, an arbitrator is not going to issue a decision on the merits in a case until the very end of the dispute,” Riden says. “Whereas in a federal or state court case, you ask for dispositive rulings up front or move for a preliminary injunction. Then you will have input from a decision-maker at the outset of a case.”

***

Riden says he typically advises clients to insert arbitration clauses in their contracts when he knows the client cares more about the confidentiality as opposed to the cost of a proceeding.

“Absolute confidentiality can be provided in an arbitration, but it certainly comes at a cost,” Riden says.

The article is by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s reporter, Pat Murphy.

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 labor 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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