That depends on the expertise of the lawyer you consulted. An attorney who specializes in personal-injury cases may know the basics of contract law, but he doesn't have the detailed knowledge required to analyze, and pick apart, a non-compete agreement. On the other hand, an expert in employment law will look at the various clauses of your non-compete, and can identify vagueness or inconsistencies in:
- The types of employers you are barred from working at. Does the document specify exactly what kinds of companies directly compete with your last employer, or what is considered a “similar” industry?
- The time frame in which you are barred from seeking employment. A standard non-compete agreement specifies this in years (or months). Most courts will consider a lifetime ban to be unreasonable on its face.
- The geographical areas in which you can be employed. Often, your employer will attempt to dictate where, as well as by what type of company, you can be hired. Is a geographical area specified in your contract, or is the wording vague?
Of course, it may well be the case that even an experienced employment lawyer will be unable to poke any holes in your non-compete agreement. In this case, the document truly is “airtight,” and you will be wasting your time and money in attempting to circumvent or invalidate it. A better strategy is to have an attorney examine your non-compete agreement before you sign it, so you don't unnecessarily restrict your job prospects five, ten, or even twenty years down the road!
Are you a departing employee who is disputing the terms of your non-compete agreement? Contact Dallas–Ft. Worth employment lawyer Jim Zadeh today at 888-713-5418 to learn what he can do for you.