Get Expert Advice on Your Non Compete Agreement
You Have a Right to Have a Lawyer Review Your Non Compete Agreement Before You Sign- We Can Help
Watch this short video for a simple explanation of the new Massachusetts non compete law and what we can do for you:
In years past, when you were offered a job you would accept, then on your first day of work find yourself signing a stack of papers, including a non compete agreement. You have no chance to review it beforehand, and no chance to negotiate it. Of course you sign it, because it is a requirement of the job that you have worked so hard to get,
But the rules in Massachusetts have changed- the new Massachusetts Non Compete Law became effective October 1, 2018. From that date forward your prospective employer must give you ten days to review and consider a non compete agreement, and must encourage you to get legal advice before signing it.
Well, that's great, but who do you call? Will it cost you thousands of dollars, and do you know any lawyers who specialize in non competes? That's where we come in.
At slnlaw, we have helped hundreds of people with non competes over the years, and have thoroughly analyzed the new non compete law and how it changes or doesn't change the rules as they have always existed. We can help people like you make an informed decision about whether to agree to a non compete clause and how you can protect your rights under state law once you take the job.
Here is how it works, in three easy steps:
Step One: Request a Review
You can call us at (781) 784-2322, or click here to submit your request online. We know sometimes time is tight, and you may be getting pressure to make a decision about the non compete. For that reason we offer a same day turnaround on our review of your agreement if we receive your request by 2:00 pm, and next business day turnaround if we receive your request later than that.
If you are unable to reach out to us before 2:00 pm and have an urgent need for a same day review (for example, if you are reaching the end of your ten day review period), just let us know when you reach out and we will make every effort to accommodate you.
Step Two: Your Appointment
We will set you up for an appointment with one of our attorneys- you are more than welcome to come see us in our offices in Sharon, but we are also happy to speak by phone or video conference if that is more convenient for you. We will ask you for a copy of your non compete agreement ahead of time, and our attorneys will review it prior to your appointment.
Our goal is not only to help you understand the non compete provision, but also to give you clarity about the entire agreement, including provisions that are not affected by the new laws.
The appointment itself should take an hour or less, but we will give it as much time as you need to have a clear understanding of your agreement, and to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.
Step Three: Your Decision
Once you have an understanding about whether and to what extent you may be restricted by the agreement, you can make an informed decision about whether the job you have been offered is worth the risks. If you decide to sign the agreement, and later have any issues or problems with your employer relating to the non compete, you will have a credit for the first hour of any time you need with our lawyers to address those issues.
Issues and Questions to Consider Before Your Appointment
We can walk you through your agreement from start to finish, but to help make the most of your legal review, here are some issues that commonly arise under the new non compete law that you may want to think about before we meet:
What are your job duties going to be? This is relevant because under the new law, you cannot be held to a non compete if you are not considered exempt from overtime. This means more than whether you are paid on a salary basis, and has to do instead with the kind of work you will be doing. If you have an offer letter that lays out your anticipated responsibilities, it would be helpful to bring to your consultation or email it to us ahead of time.
Do you rely on a "book of business" in your work? If you are in an industry where people move from job to job and bring their contacts and clients or customers with them, we will want to pay careful attention not only to the non compete provisions in your agreement but also any proposed restrictions on your ability to solicit customers or clients after you leave.
Do you have any kind of noncompetition agreement with your former employer? You may already have been asked this question by the new employer, but if you have an existing agreement it was most likely signed before October 1, 2018, and you do not enjoy the same protections as you now do. That doesn't mean you can't take the new job, but we should review the extent of your restrictions under the old agreement as well.
How specialized is your field? The new non compete law does not affect or limit other provisions, like non-solicitation provisions, in employment agreements. If you work in a field with a narrow field of potential customers, the non-solicitation provision in your agreement needs to be carefully reviewed to understand how limited your options will be when you leave.
Can you afford a 6-12 month gap in employment in your field? There are some jobs where things like technology change so rapidly that being out of the game for 6-12 months, even if you get paid for part of that time by your employer, can be a serious enough problem in terms of your own currency that you might consider turning down the new offer if the employer will not negotiate the terms of the non compete with you.
Do you know if the new company has high turnover in positions like the one you are considering? The "price of a job" that you pay by signing a non compete is much higher if it is normal and expected for people in your position to remain there for only a short period of time. This, too, should factor into your decision about whether it is worth signing the agreement you have been presented with.
What Does it Cost?
We offer our fast turnaround non compete review for a flat fee, which covers our review of the agreement, as well as whatever time is needed to answer your questions and make sure you know what you need to know to make a decision. If you are in need of additional services, such as help negotiating changes to the agreement, we will offer you a choice between being billed at our regular hourly rates or paying a flat fee based on an estimate of time needed. You will not be billed for anything beyond the flat review fee unless you have agreed to extend the scope of our engagement.
Ready to Get Started?
"Emily, a chief partner, and the two other lawyers at SLN Law who worked on my case were extremely competent and approachable. They were responsive to inquiries and they thoughtfully explained, as needed, complex legal terms. I was very well represented at each stage of a protracted legal case against a major national firm." Brian R.
"Emily is an incredible resource of knowledge on employment law. She helped guide us on how to structure our employee classifications and made adjustments to our consulting agreements so our business is better protected and positioned. She's both law-savvy and business minded - great asset to have when launching/growing a business." Diana B.
"SLN represented me in a complicated employment-related dispute. What could have been a prolonged nightmare for me was handled swiftly and skillfully, and with fairness and dignity." Smita N.
Read more on our reviews page
Emily Smith-Lee interview with Super Lawyers Magazine about non compete litigation in Massachusetts
Non Compete Laws in Massachusetts: standards for enforcement under the law before non compete reform and key points of the new non compete law.
Non Compete Litigation: what to do if you have been sued by your former employer.
What to do if you receive a cease and desist letter from your former employer.
Emily Smith-Lee interview with Super Lawyers Magazine about non compete litigation in Massachusetts.
New York Times oped on non competes by Emily Smith-Lee