Preparing to Meet With Your Lawyer
Susan H. Hargrove
Your valued employee leaves without notice and you have concerns that he has taken confidential information or intends to work for a competitor. A swift response may be essential to a positive outcome. Here are some tips for making your initial meeting with your lawyer productive and efficient.
- Have all relevant documents available. It may help to send them in advance of the meeting. These will include all agreements entered into with the employee, all policies relevant to post-employment conduct, the employee’s employment file, and all communications or other documents relevant to the employee’s separation from the company.
- Lockdown all the employee’s electronic devices. These should be maintained in the condition in which they were left by the employee until you have conferred with counsel. Audit of the email accounts and cell phone records should be done pursuant to instruction of counsel to preserve evidence.
- Refrain from destruction or deletion of any documents that could have any relevance to the employee, even if such destruction or deletion would be done in the ordinary course of business. Your counsel will provide you with a litigation hold memorandum to circulate within your company, as appropriate.
- Refrain from internal emailing about the employee or her separation except with counsel.
- Identify the proprietary information to which the employee had access and be prepared to describe why the information is confidential and important to the company and what steps the company has taken to protect that information. Bring copies of relevant examples of key confidential documents.
- Be familiar with the employee's history with the company, including job duties of each position held.
- Consider whether the employee will take the position that the employer has breached any obligation owed to him or her and be able to describe the employee’s basis for that position.
- Know how to obtain ready access to persons with information key to the employee’s history with the company or his post-employment activities. Your lawyer may need to conduct interviews and obtain affidavits on short notice.