Lauren and I have advised hundreds of non-compete and non-solicitation clients over the last few years. We evaluate their current job situation, provide insight into the enforceability of their non-compete or non-solicitation contracts, and discuss specific exit strategies.
We have an attorney-client relationship with those individuals and what is discussed is confidential and protected from later discovery…should litigation follow. I should say, almost always confidential and protected.
Clients need to understand, whether you are speaking with us or other lawyers, that attorney-client discussions and evaluations are only confidential if the discussion is only between the client and his/her attorney.
For example, a client retains our firm to evaluate the enforceability of their non-compete. We discuss the situation with the client and make recommendations and provide legal advice on an exit strategy. Two days later we get a phone call from a spouse or parent of the client who wants to take issue with our recommendation or to further discuss additional factors they believe are important in our evaluation. We politely tell those concerned family members to share those concerns with the client and allow the client to discuss the issues directly with us. You might be surprised how often this offends many concerned family members. It should not. We are only trying to protect the client from possibly having to divulge in a subsequent deposition or trial the issues discussed with counsel.
My Take: Don’t be offended if your friends’ or family members’ legal counsel refuses to speak directly with you…they are only trying to protect the confidentiality of the process.