Noncompete and Trade Secrets

BakerHostetler's National Noncompete and Trade Secrets team of nearly 40 attorneys has deep experience handling all aspects of the legal issues that arise when employees move between competitive firms. Our extensive experience also extends to handling non-compete and trade secret issues arising from the acquisition and sale of businesses, as well as from other business transactions, including the preparation of executive employment/consulting agreements.

We represent all parties involved in employee movement matters: employers hiring individual executives and management teams or retaining non-employee advisors; organizations in competitive environments when confronted by individual and group defections; and individuals or groups moving between organizations. We also represent all parties involved in various business transactions in which non-compete and trade secret issues are involved.

We recognize the time-sensitive nature of employee movement issues and related business transactions, and our national footprint, with offices throughout the country, enables us to respond to any issue at any time.

We work with organizations on a proactive basis, whether it is devising strategies to on-board key personnel or counseling management and executives on the development of workforce stability programs and other methods designed to protect the organization's non-patentable trade secrets, customer information and other competitive elements. Our team works closely with attorneys from our Intellectual Property, Business and Tax groups and we frequently collaborate with our interdisciplinary Executive Compensation practice team.

With that breadth of knowledge and insight, our attorneys negotiate, draft and defend and enforce all types of restrictive covenants, including non-compete, non-solicitation and non-disclosure agreements; executive and key employee employment agreements; deferred compensation plans; change-in-control and separation agreements; and equity-award and stock-option plans and agreements.
Handling all aspects of these arrangements—from conceptualization to defense and enforcement—enables the team to appreciate the nuances involved, identify practical approaches and better understand each company's priorities and concerns.

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How do our clients benefit?

We have developed a full suite of services and strategies to help organizations either limit the risks when seeking to avoid the effects of restrictive covenants during the on-boarding of a competitor’s employees or, on the other hand, to create restrictive covenants and other agreements that protect an organization’s overall competitive interests against unfair competition and the loss of proprietary information and trade secrets when confronted with employee departures.


Name Title Office Email
Joyce Ackerbaum Cox Partner Orlando
Eric L. Barnum Partner Atlanta
Neil Carrey Of Counsel Los Angeles
Frederick W. Chockley III Of Counsel Washington, D.C.
Dennis P. Duffy Partner Houston
R. Scott Feldmann Partner Costa Mesa
Danyll W. Foix Partner Washington, D.C.
Edward L. Friedman Partner Houston
Ashlee C. Grant Associate Houston
Daniel J. Guttman Partner Columbus
Erin Bolan Hines Counsel Chicago
David G. Holcombe Partner Cincinnati
Bradley K. Jones Associate Houston
Caroline M. Landt Counsel Orlando
Kelline R. Linton Associate Houston
Meagan Martin Associate Orlando
Michael R. Matthias Partner Los Angeles
John J. McGowan Jr. Partner Cleveland
John C. McIlwee Associate Chicago
M. Scott McIntyre Partner Cincinnati
Gregory V. Mersol Partner Cleveland
Patrick M. Muldowney Partner Orlando
David A. Posner Partner Cleveland
Matthew L. Roberts Partner Columbus
Margaret Rosenthal Partner Los Angeles
Elizabeth A. Scully Partner Washington, D.C.
James W. Seegers Counsel Orlando
Sabrina L. Shadi Partner Los Angeles
Saima Z. Sheikh Associate New York
John Siegal Partner New York
James A. Slater Partner Cleveland
Robert W. Thielhelm Jr. Partner Orlando
Drew B. Tipton Partner Houston
John M. Touhy Partner Chicago
Cody T. Vasut Associate Houston
David A. Whitcomb Partner Columbus


Our experience includes working with financial services companies, hospitality industry clients, technology and media entities, entertainment companies, service providers, manufacturers and industrial interests, healthcare organizations, staffing services, executive search firms and recruiters, pharmaceutical companies and sales and marketing professionals and beyond.


  • Chambers USA: Labor & Employment
    • Florida (2007 to 2015)
    • Ohio: Band 1 (2007 to 2015)
    • Texas (2014, 2015)
  • BTI Client Service 30: BakerHostetler advanced 19 positions to #9 (2016)
  • “Best Law Firms” 2014: National Tier 1 Ranking in the area of Employment Law - Management from U.S. News – Best Lawyers®.
  • The Best Lawyers in America© 2014: Twenty-two partners were selected by their peers for inclusion in various employment-related fields.
  • Corporate Counsel® and The American Lawyer magazines "Go-to Law Firm” for Labor & Employment by general counsel (2013) 
  • Workforce Management Magazine: Top Employment Law Firms
  • The Lawdragon/Human Resource Executive list of the Nation's Top Employment Attorneys includes three members of the team in their Top 100 list, with one additional attorney named among the nation's top 20 labor lawyers.
  • Florida Trend “Legal Elite"
  • Numerous partners have been certified as employment law specialists by their respective state bar associations.

Key Contacts