Managing Restrictive Covenants for a Multi-National Workforce: A Primer for U.S. In-House Counsel

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Back in July 2011, we wrote in our Noncompete News blog about the challenges posed for in-house attorneys who are tasked with drafting and enforcing restrictive covenants when a company does business in many different states throughout the country. See Non-Competes in a Multi-State Environment. In recent years, however, we are hearing from more and more companies facing an analogous challenge that is even more daunting: managing non-compete and trade secret issues on a multi-national basis. This isn’t just a problem for Fortune 500 companies. A recent study by Deloitte Consulting found that 52% of U.S.-based middle market companies surveyed derive some of their revenues from abroad and that 48% already have employees outside the U.S. Looking into the future, Deloitte’s survey also found that within three years 65% of middle market companies anticipate they will be operating abroad; 10% expect overseas revenues to outstrip domestic revenues within three years; and nearly 30% report they will have at least a quarter of their employees based abroad. See Deloitte’s Mid-Market Perspectives: 2011 Report on America’s Economic Engine. More and more middle market companies are grappling with the need to manage a global workforce, and those that aren’t grappling with it yet likely will need to do so in the near future.

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