What is a law?

According to my friends Merriam & Webster, a law is “a binding custom or practice of a community : a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority: the whole body of such customs, practices, or rules.”

In some states, like Florida and soon to be Georgia, there are literally laws on non-competes. Written rules in the Code books that establish what kind of agreement is reasonable and enforceable, and what kind is not. You can open a code book, look up a chapter and see the written law on non-compete agreements in a few sentences.

Virginia is not like Florida or Georgia. Not only do we lack SEC football, and Gator wrestling, our law on non-competes is not codified, written down or clearly spelled out as a litmus test in a Code book.

Our law is based on common law – judicial decisions, and even then, the law states the court must consider each and every contract in light of the facts and circumstances.

So, while there is no one law on non-competes, we have years of judicial decisions that create a body of law.

You could for example, read all of those cases and conclude a 2 year non-compete may likely be held to be reasonable in Virginia, if the terms are narrowly tailored to protect the legitimate business interests of the employer.

Sounds complicated, doesn’t it?
So while I cannot point you to the “law on non-competes,” per se, I can read your Agreement, apply the body of common law and advise accordingly.

Lauren Ellerman

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at