Virginia law on starting your own business

Virginia law on starting your own business 150 150 Lauren Ellerman

I’m sorry but the title of this article is sort of a trap. 

I am not going to advise you on how to get your Federal EIN number, or business license through your locality, or even advise you whether an LLC or Corporation is best for your new business model. 

My goal is simple. My goal is that Virginia employees who want to leave their current employer, and start a business in the same field, do so without getting sued. 

Yes, I will restate it. My goal is to help you – fine Virginia employee- not get sued. 

You may wonder why or how you could get sued just by starting a new business. And if you do wonder this question either out-load or to yourself, allow me to explain. Your old employer could sue you for violating either a contractual agreement, or, for violating Virginia common law. 

I love a good chart, and so I have created one for the occasion. 

Actions that could get you sued

Actions that won’t get you sued

Starting your own business

Eating lunch at your desk

Telling clients you are leaving

Eating the extra office doughnut

Taking personal documents off your work computer or device


Using old business relationships to help start your new business


Asking a colleague to come with you


Quitting too soon


Going to work for a competitor


Starting a similar business in the industry


Texting a customer about your plans


Taking customer lists 


Okay, so you may get my point by now. Very harmless, seemingly acceptable every day actions can lead to litigation. 

Want to know what to do, and what not to do when starting your own company? Call a Virginia attorney that specializes in business torts, non-compete litigation, and she can explain in painful details all the do’s and don’ts. 

And, I also recommend not eating the extra doughnut.

About the author

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

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