We get this question all the time:

“My contract says I can’t solicit their customers.. but what happens when the customers come to me without my asking? I can help them, can’t I?”

There is nothing black / white in non-compete / employment litigation.

There is no law or code section that defines the word solicit.

If your contract defines the word, then that definition applies. If not, it might takes months for a judge to determine whether or not working for an old client without initiating the contact = soliciting.

So here is my advice, for this very grey area.

Don’t do it.

If it says don’t solicit clients — take it to mean they don’t want you serving, speaking to, soliciting or offering services to clients. AT ALL.

Now, it is possible a judge will say solicit means just that – offer services, and nothing more.

But in order to get the Court’s opinion on the subject, you are looking at months of attorneys fees, and a few court appearances. So bottom line – don’t skirt the line of your contract if you want to avoid litigation. Stay away and assume the contract has a bigger scope then the exact language reflects.

And if you ignore me, feel free to call when you get sued. We are happy to help all over Central, Southside, Western and Northern Virginia.

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 lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.