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How to prevent clients from stealing your staff

Intro

Many creative professionals use non-solicitation provisions to protect their relationships with their workforce and their clients. But be careful, they are not universally enforceable.

In short, you can include a non-solicitation provision in your client agreement that prohibits the client from soliciting your employees and contractors to work with the client directly (without going through you). These provisions typically last during the term of the client agreement and for some time thereafter (like one year).

(On the opposite side of your business, you can include a non-solicitation provision in your contractor agreement to prohibit your contractors from working directly with your clients (without going through you). You’d normally include a term on this just like above.)

This is not a non-compete

It is important to recognize that this is not a non-compete. Under a non-compete, the restricted party is literally prohibited from competing with the protected party. Non-solicitation provisions are not quite that broad because they only deal with clients, employees, or contractors.

Enforceability

Most states will enforce non-solicitation agreements. However, a small number of states, like California, restrict when they can be used, if at all. Moreover, virtually no state will enforce a non-solicitation that is unreasonable and not intended to protect a legitimate business interest.

The Creators Guide to Client Agreements

The Creator's Guide to Client Agreements

Download this free 22-page guide to learn everything you need to know about client agreements. We dive into the most common client agreement terms, how to review and negotiate contracts, and more.