Does the FTC Ban Apply to My Non-Compete?
Five Minute Law
by Zach Wolfe
5d ago
On April 23, 2024, the FTC voted 3-2 to approve its final rule banning non-competes for U.S. workers. Unless the federal courts block the rule (more about that later), it will go into effect on September 4, 2024. My law practice focuses on defending non-compete and trade secret claims, so as you might imagine, that was a busy week for me. You can imagine the text messages from clients. “Hey, did you see this news about the FTC?” I tried not to be too sarcastic. “Uh, yeah. I heard about it.” I had two main things to tell my clients who have non-compete agreements: First, don’t get too excited ..read more
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Common Deposition Mistakes in Trade Secrets Litigation
Five Minute Law
by Zach Wolfe
2M ago
The McLaughlin Group There was a sketch on Saturday Night Live where Dana Carvey played news talk show host John McLaughlin. The recurring gag was that McLaughlin would ask the guests a serious political question, each would give a thoughtful answer, and McLaughlin would shout “WRONG!” I think about that a lot when I’m doing deposition preparation with clients in trade secrets lawsuits. Let’s go over some common ways defendants in trade secrets lawsuits go wrong in their depositions. We’ll use our old hypothetical friend Dawn Davis as an example 1. Are the things defined as “confidential infor ..read more
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Houston Court Reigns in Forensic Computer Exams in Trade Secrets Lawsuits
Five Minute Law
by Zach Wolfe
3M ago
Court Holds the Weekley Homes Standard Applies The Houston Court of Appeals (14th) has held that the plaintiff in a trade secrets lawsuit is not automatically entitled to a forensic examination of a defendant’s device that was allegedly used to take the defendant’s alleged trade secrets. In re 4X Industrial, LLC, __ S.W.3d __, No. 14-23-00183-CV, 2024 WL 333798 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Jan. 30, 2024) (orig. proceeding). Rather, to obtain an order for “direct access” to the defendant’s computer or electronic storage device, the plaintiff must satisfy the requirements established by the T ..read more
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Should I Stop Giving Clients 100 Percent?
Five Minute Law
by Zach Wolfe
9M ago
I was watching a Ford truck commercial—you know, the kind that airs during Monday Night Football—and the theme was how good solid blue-collar Americans who own small welding businesses and wear plaid flannel shirts always give 100%. Cue Bob Seger, “Like a Rock.” Oh wait, that was Chevy. But you get the idea. Anyway, Ford has obviously gone soft. Anyone who follows sports or business figures on social media knows that giving 100% is for losers. Winners give 110% every day. I know this from watching Shark Tank and that Michael Jordan documentary. This idea is not limited to athletes and sel ..read more
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NLRB Abolishes Employee Non-Competes?
Five Minute Law
by Zach Wolfe
10M ago
I recently saw the summer blockbuster Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, so new characters are on my mind. Nothing against Paula Payne and Dawn Davis, but I thought it was time to introduce some new characters to the FMLU (the Five Minute Law Universe). So, meet Bobby Bluecollar. Bobby works for Vinny’s Valves, which started as a mom-and-pop operation but now has offices throughout Texas and the Gulf Coast, providing equipment to hundreds of customers in the oilfield exploration and production industry. Vinny himself doesn’t work much anymore ..read more
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What Clients Need to Know About Mediation
Five Minute Law
by Zach Wolfe
1y ago
What do clients need to know about mediation? I’ve narrowed it down to five key practical points. Five Minute Law. Five key points. Get it? But before my five key things clients need to know, some basics. Mediation is not arbitration. A lot of non-lawyers get confused about mediation versus arbitration. I will now dispel that confusion and allow you to wow your friends by explaining the difference. Just remember this: Arbitration = binding, more formal Mediation = non-binding, less formal Think of going to arbitration as going to court, but with an arbitrator (or sometimes three arbitrators) i ..read more
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Should You Pay a Lawyer for Non-Compete Advice?
Five Minute Law
by Zach Wolfe
1y ago
Ok, I know what you’re thinking. “Don’t you have a vested interest in the answer, Wolfe?” Yes, clients often pay me for advice about non-competes. It would only be a slight exaggeration to say I’ve paid for my daughter’s college by charging people for advice about non-competes. So it would be somewhat self-serving for me to say “yes, of course, you should always get advice about a non-compete from an experienced attorney.” But look, I’m going to give it to you straight. And you might be surprised by my answer. As you’ll see, I’m going to explain why sometimes you may be wasting your money on n ..read more
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Trial Lawyer Lessons From Serving on a Jury
Five Minute Law
by Zach Wolfe
1y ago
“Wait, you were on a jury? I thought lawyers always get struck from the jury.” That’s a common misconception. Truth is, lawyers can and do serve on juries. Sometimes. In Texas, where I have a civil litigation practice focused on non-compete and trade secret cases, there is no rule prohibiting lawyers from serving on a jury. Even judges can serve on juries. But won’t the lawyers who are trying the case use their peremptory strikes to keep other lawyers off the jury? Often they do. That probably explains why it’s rare for lawyers to get on juries. But why do lawyers tend to get struck from jury ..read more
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What Everybody’s Missing About the FTC’s Proposed Non-Compete Ban
Five Minute Law
by Zach Wolfe
1y ago
In the words of Joe Biden, the FTC’s proposed ban on employee non-competes is a big f***ing deal. Bear in mind, it is only a proposed rule, and it is sure to face constitutional challenges. I’m no con law scholar, but I have a hunch the conservative 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court is not going to be psyched about a Democratic administration sweeping aside state non-compete law with the stroke of an administrative pen. But just for grins, let’s put aside the original public meaning of the Sherman Act and assume the FTC’s proposed rule is enacted and survives legal challenges. On its face ..read more
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I Want to Quit my Job, But I Have a Non-Compete
Five Minute Law
by Zach Wolfe
1y ago
As I write this, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. For a non-compete lawyer, that is. Part of my law practice is counseling people who have signed non-competes with their employers. I’ve done this dozens of times in the past five years alone. And I’ve learned a lot about what’s important in such cases. I know what you’re thinking. “The most important thing is to hire a lawyer to review the non-compete!” I mean, yes, that’s a good idea, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Or you’re thinking “is the non-compete is enforceable?” Again, an important question. I covered it in my very fir ..read more
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