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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I am an attorney in New York State. My current firm is in

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I am an attorney in New York State. My current firm is in the process of dissolving (I do not know how far along they are in the process). My employment agreement contains a non-compete clause with a 1-year duration that would require me to pay them approximately one year's salary if I practice the same type of law (for either Plaintiffs or Defendants) anywhere in New York State. There are no other relevant terms to the clause. Is this clause enforceable, and would the fact that the firm is dissolving matter in the determination?
If they are dissolving, then you are not competing with them. Also, under the NY Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyer cannot offer or make a “partnership, shareholder, operating, employment, or other similar type of agreement” that restricts lawyers from practicing law after terminating the relationship, except for an agreement about retirement benefits See: 22 N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. Part 1200.0, Rule 5.6(a).

Thus, on both grounds it is not likely the non-compete would be enforceable.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Because thew firm hasn't completed its dissolution, could it still attempt to enforce the clause against me? I am not sure how far along they are in the process. I believe clients are obtaining new counsel, but I'm not sure. Also, if for some reason the RPC wasn't sufficient to overturn the clause, would a ban on practicing that type of law in the entire state be considered overbroad? I'm only admitted in NY, so obtaining work in another state isn't an option.

According to the Rules of Professional Conduct any agreement that restricts the practice of law, which is what I provided you above, is void. But if for some odd reason, which I doubt, the RPC would not cover this, you can argue the geographic area over broad if your firm does not practice in that particular city or county in NY.
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