What Kind of Lawyer Do You Need? 

What kind of lawyer should you hire for a Texas case involving a non-compete, trade secrets, or other “departing employee” issues?

Well, if you already have a good lawyer, and that lawyer feels comfortable handling your departing employee matter, I say stick with that lawyer. I cover this topic at my video Do I Need a Specialist to Handle my Texas Non-Compete Lawsuit?

If you don’t already have a lawyer who is right for your departing employee dispute, you probably want the best Texas non-compete and trade secret lawyer available. Who is that? 

That, of course, is a matter of opinion. But here are some objective facts:

  • I have over 24 years of experience as a Texas trial lawyer. I have handled dozens of departing employee lawsuits in the past seven years alone. 
  • I have tried non-compete and trade secret cases to juries. In one case the jury went my way on every issue and awarded my client more attorney’s fees than we asked for. But that probably won’t happen again.
  • I have handled numerous hearings on temporary restraining orders (TROs) and temporary injunctions in departing employee cases.  
  • I have also advised clients in dozens of “pre-litigation” matters involving non-compete and trade secret issues. 
  • Thomson Reuters named me a Texas Super Lawyer for Business Litigation in 2020 and 2021, an honor reserved for fewer than 5% of Texas lawyers. 
  • I am rated AV (Preeminent) by Martindale-Hubbell. 
  • I have experience representing all three sides in departing employee disputes: the first employer, the employee, and the second employer.  
  • I have handled departing employee lawsuits in both state and federal courts, in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and other venues throughout the great State of Texas. 
  • I have published dozens of articles on departing employee litigation at my award-winning blog, Five Minute Law.
  • I have taught numerous continuing legal education courses to other Texas lawyers on non-compete and trade secret issues. In 2020 the State Bar of Texas gave me a “Standing Ovation” award for this. 
  • I have the most popular YouTube channel on non-compete law, That Non-Compete Lawyer, which includes a 30-minute course on the basics of Texas non-compete litigation. 

What About The Cost?

Ok, but with all that experience in non-compete and trade secret litigation, I must be expensive, right?

Well, yes. And no. 

My standard hourly rate is probably a little on the high side for a solo practice. But it’s probably about half what lawyers with comparable expertise charge at a big law firm or litigation boutique. I’m willing to bet a 12 oz cappuccino at Love Beans that you are not going to find a Texas lawyer with more experience handling departing employee litigation charging a lower hourly rate. 

I would also bet you will not find a Texas non-compete lawyer who can do more strict unbroken pull-ups or handstand pushups than I can. That’s not very relevant to the cost of hiring me, but I just felt like throwing it in.

Do I take cases on a contingent fee basis? Generally, no. For one thing, departing employee lawsuits are usually not built right for a contingent fee. Plus, I’m not a big gambler. And believe it or not, an hourly arrangement is usually best for the client, for reasons I explain in my video What is the Best Fee Arrangement for a Non-Compete Lawsuit?

But I do work hard to try to find a fee arrangement that works for the client. So I am open to discussion of flat fees and other alternative fee arrangements. 

How Should I Contact You?

The best way to reach me about a potential matter is to email me at zach@zachwolfelaw.com. Include a brief description of what your case is about (without revealing anything super-confidential) and identify who the opposing party is (so I can make sure I don’t have a conflict of interest). I will usually get back to you the same day. 

You are also welcome to call me on my cell phone at 832-707-5883. I got rid of any separate office phone because it’s just easier to have one phone number. Plus I travel a lot. 

If you want to do some homework on the legal issues in your case, you are welcome to browse my blog fiveminutelaw.com. True, it was rated “unspeakably bad” by a random person on Twitter, but it has won several awards. You may want to start with Wolfe’s First Law of Texas Non-Compete Litigation

Other FAQ 

Other questions people ask me:

Did you really go to Harvard? Yes, but don’t hold it against me.

Do you represent plaintiffs or defendants, employees or employers? The short answer is I represent whoever hires me first. My field doesn’t really break down into plaintiff versus defense like some other practice areas, such as personal injury or employment discrimination. 

Do you represent big corporations? To put it bluntly, the biggest companies are usually kind of snobby about hiring a solo lawyer. When in-house lawyers at Fortune 500 companies hear “solo practice,” they picture someone like that Chris Farley motivational speaker character who lived in a van down by the river. They tend to prefer firms with big fancy downtown offices. But I will represent them, if they want. 

Why aren’t you with a big firm? Nothing against big firms. Often the best lawyers are at the big firms, because that’s where the big money is. But I’m more of a “one riot, one ranger” kind of guy, and I don’t like the thought of forking over 2/3 of my income to cover overhead and partner profits.

Are you an “employment law” lawyer? I don’t really think of non-compete and trade secret issues as “employment” law, but they often get lumped into that practice area, so yes, I guess. But I don’t typically handle matters like employment discrimination and retaliation. Usually I will refer those to a more qualified lawyer I know. 

Did Dez make that catch? Obviously.

Do you handle intellectual property matters? Sometimes people lump trade secrets law into “intellectual property,” but it really has very little in common with copyright, trademark, or patent law. (I do happen to have experience in those areas and will handle them on a case by case basis if asked.) 

How can an employer enforce a non-compete if Texas is a “right to work” state? People ask this all the time, but “right to work” has to do with unions and collective bargaining. It has nothing to do with non-competes. Texas law is generally pro non-compete (with some important exceptions). 

Do you put clients first? No. I explain at Why Clients Come Second at My New Law Firm. But I do work hard to protect the interests of my clients.

Do you let people bully your clients? Also no. See the same blog post. 

And keep the nerve. 

The Usual Lawyer Disclaimers

Content I share on this site and social media is for educational and informational purposes only. Do not rely on any content I share as legal advice. I am not your lawyer (unless you have a signed engagement agreement with my firm). Every case is different, so consult a lawyer about your specific situation. I am licensed to practice law in Texas but not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. There is no Board certification for non-compete or trade secret law. All opinions are mine, not those of my firm or clients. Hypotheticals are based on my general experience and reading, not particular actual cases.