I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.
A contract requires three things: an offer, acceptance, and consideration. If they had you sign a piece of paper and then immediately escorted you from the premises, unless there was some kind of payment included, you received nothing for your promise. As a result, the contract is invalid. Your promise not to reveal confidential information is gratuitous and unenforceable. In addition, sending an email cannot be a breach of a contract you had not signed yet. So, even if the confidentiality agreement were enforceable, which it's not, they can't prove that you breached it.
If they proceed with filing a lawsuit against you, yes, you'll probably want a lawyer because they'll have one and you want to make sure you're treated fairly. But first:
- Read the confidentiality agreement to see if there's anything in there about attorney's fees. You might be able to have them pay for your lawyer if they sue you and you win.
- It may help to let them know that the agreement you signed was invalid, if they gave you nothing for signing it. If they see you're fighting back, they may drop it (especially if they talk to their own attorney who can confirm that they needed to give you consideration). If the agreement requires them to pay for your lawyer, you can remind them of that fact.
- It may help to start making a list of potential lawyers that you'd be interested in talking to. If they DO sue, you'll only have a couple of weeks to reply to the lawsuit, and having an idea of which lawyer you want in advance can help reduce some of the stress. A good place to read reviews from former clients is www.martindale.com.
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