If I have quit and started my own firm, can I legally contact my clients and tell them that I have moved and started my own practice?

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If I have quit and started my own firm, can I legally contact my clients and tell them that I have moved and started my own practice?

I have worked for an accounting firm for 20 years and was hired as a independent contractor to prepare taxes for 600 clients. I have quit and started my own firm. Can I legally contact my clients and tell them that I have moved and started my own practice? I did not sign a non-compete clause.

Asked on March 25, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Before you do this, consult with an employment law attorney about the specifics of your case. Even without a non-competition agreement, it is often illegal to use proprietary information of an employer (such as their client or customer list) for your own benefit. You can generally tell clients that you've been working with that you are leaving and probably can tell them that you are starting your own firm, but you cannot solicit them to come with you, or market or target your services to them. Since what you can--and cannot do--is not always clear, but there is potentially a lot at stake, it would be wise to discuss the matter in detail with an employment law attorney to come up with a "message" or announcement which you an be confident is legal. Good luck.


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