Many Virginians want to know how they can work around their non-compete.

I have had some very creative clients who have thought of unique ways to get around their non-compete agreements. Yes, I mean, compete without it appearing that they are competing.

Here are some failed ways to “get around you non-compete.”

1. Start your own company and hire yourself out as an independent contractor or have the new company contract with your company.
Goal – Not breach the agreement because you personally are not performing the work, your company is.
Result – they get sued and both the ex-employee and their new company are named in the lawsuit.

2. Move.
Goal – If your address changes you are no longer in the geographic area.
Result – You get sued because the restriction involves where you work and clients you serve, not where you live or the mailing address of the business.

3. Lie and say they are leaving the industry.
Goal – buy extra time to get things started before ex-employer finds out.
Result – When (not if but when) employer finds out, they assume you lied about many things and so they come after you with an aggressive lawsuit.

Although I appreciate creative clients, not one single creative solution has ever worked out well for clients trying to avoid their non-competition agreements.

The only way to be safe from litigation is (1) don’t breach the agreement; (2) get a release from the agreement.

It is also advisable to ask an attorney for help. A potential client told me last week she had done research on her business and believed based on her research, that the non-compete was essentially invalid. Wrong assumption and now she is responding to a cease and desist letter and possible litigation during the Holidays.

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