Top Rated Business Litigation Attorney in Houston, TX
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.
- 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 dozens of 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 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?
What is the best way to contact me?
You are 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.
But the best way to reach me about a potential matter is to send me an email at [email protected]. Email me 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.
And if you want to do some homework on the legal issues in your case, you are welcome to browse my blog fiveminuelaw.com. You may want to start with Wolfe’s First Law of Texas Non-Compete Litigation.
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 BigLaw. 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 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.
Do you handle intellectual property matters? People also lump trade secrets law into “intellectual property,” but trade secrets law 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.
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 page 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.
*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.
- When Is a Forfeiture Clause a Non-Compete? (2019) - Sometimes a Texas non-compete will take the form of forfeiture clause rather than an express prohibition on competing. For example, a company might award equity ownership interests to valued employee, with a clause stating that the employee will forfeit those interests if he competes. Is that a non-compete? And does it matter whether a court classifies it as a noncompete or something else?
- Wolfe on Texas Non-Compete Litigation -or- My Big Fat Non-Compete Paper (2021) - Originally presented at UT Law CLE's "Non-Compete Essentials" CLE program on February 3, 2021.
About Zach Wolfe
First Admitted: 1997, Texas
Professional Webpage: https://zachwolfelaw.com/about/
Other Outstanding Achievements
- Over the years, my blog posts at fiveminutelaw.com have been repeatedly recognized as top 10 posts of the week by Texas Bar Today.
- Assisted numerous clients in drafting and/or negotiation of employment agreements, including non-competes.
- BA in Government, magna cum laude, from Harvard, 1994
- Briefed and argued appeal of trade secrets case, resulting in dismissal of client for lack of jurisdiction. , 2015
- Successfully resolved numerous cases involving officers or employees who left companies to join competing ventures. , 2021
- Obtained defense verdict against claims for breach of non-compete and misappropriation of trade secrets. , 2015
- This paper covers claims and defenses under the Texas Securities Act, with comparisons to federal securities law. , Author, Claims and Defenses Under the Texas Securities Act, 2015
- In this paper I cover the essentials of Texas trade secrets litigation (including federal law) in five thousand words or less. , Author, Texas Trade Secrets Law 101, 2021
- This is a close-to-comprehensive paper covering the key issues that come up in Texas non-compete litigation. First presented at UT Law CLE's "Non-Compete Essentials" course. , Author, Wolfe on Texas Non-Compete Litigation -or- My Big Fat Texas Non-Compete Paper, 2021
- In this video from my YouTube channel, That Non-Compete Lawyer, I cover the basic requirements for enforceability of a Texas non-compete. , Is My Texas Non-Compete Enforceable?, Energy, Oil & Gas, Oilfield Services, Insurance, Healthcare, Technology, 2017
- This video covers five common ethical issues that come up for lawyers in departing employee litigation. , Ethical Issues in Departing Employee Litigation, 2020
- Is it possible for one Texas trial lawyer to cover the essentials of Texas non-compete litigation in one 30-minute, 15-part video series? There's only one way to find out. , Essentials of Texas Non-Compete Litigation, 2018
- In this video from my YouTube channel, That Non-Compete Lawyer, I cover five key legal issues that often come up in a departing employee lawsuit. , What Are the Key Legal Issues in a Departing Employee Lawsuit, Energy, Oil & Gas, Oilfield Services, Insurance, Healthcare, Technology, 2017
- In this video from my YouTube channel, That Non-Compete Lawyer, I cover the likely cost of different phases of a typical non-compete lawsuit. , How Much Does a Texas Non-Compete Lawsuit Cost? , Energy, Oil & Gas, Oilfield Services, Insurance, Healthcare, Technology, 2017
Pro bono/Community Service
- Pro bono representation of client in family law matter. , 2019
- EPIC Insurance Brokers & Consultants, 2020
- Eagle Forest Products, 2015
- TexasBarCLE created the Standing Ovation award to honor volunteers who stand out for their extraordinary energy, commitment of time, and leadership. For 2021 the staff selected seven winners out of a pool of hundreds of speakers. , Standing Ovation award for outstanding CLE speakers, TexasBarCLE, 2021
- I received the President’s Award for Outstanding Service to the Houston Bar Association as a co-chair of the HBA John J. Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run., President's Award for Outstanding Service, Houston Bar Association, 2017
- Garland Walker Inn of Court. I have been a member since 2012. , 2021
- Houston Bar Association Fun Run Committee (including service as co-chair for two years). , 2021
- Oil & Gas
- Oilfield Services
Last Updated: 5/15/2022