Ohio joins other states in holding that noncompete clauses violate lawyer ethics rules

If you’re an Ohio lawyer working in-house, there’s good news: You can’t agree to noncompete clauses in your employment contract. The state’s high court held that noncompetes for lawyers restrict their autonomy and the ability of their clients to choose their representation, according to a report on Bloomberg Law.

The ruling doesn’t apply to all noncompete employment agreement. But it said that  professional conduct rules prohibit them from being enforced against lawyers. In so ruling, Ohio joined other states like Nevada, Connecticut, and New Jersey that have found that their versions of the American Bar Association’s Model Rule 5.6(a), which prohibits restrictions on the right to practice, apply to in-house lawyers, said the Bloomberg report.

There’s a way around some of it. In-house counsel who perform a combination of legal and business work can ethically execute an employment contract with a non-compete clause that only applies to the non-legal work, the court ruled.


Leave a Reply