Non-competition Clauses: Iron Shackles or Paper Tigers?

We are routinely consulted by newly graduated dentists concerning their first associate agreement. Their number-one concern is invariably the non-competition clause contained in the agreement. A non-competition covenant attempts to restrict the associate from working within a defined zone surrounding the Principal’s business, for a defined period of time, after the termination of the relationship with the principal. Understandably, new dentists are often apprehensive about signing an agreement with a Principal that restricts them from practicing in any way in the event the relationship fails.

We are also frequently contacted by Principal dentists with concerns that a former associate is in breach of the non-competition clause contained in their associate agreement. The Principal, wanting to protect their business at all costs, is often disappointed in the advice we give them concerning the enforceability of the non-competition clause. Continue reading