Rules of Professional Conduct

5. Law Firms and Associations

ER 5.6.     Restrictions on Right to Practice

A lawyer shall not participate in offering or making:
 
(a) a partnership, shareholders, operating, employment, or other similar type of agreement that restricts the right of a lawyer to practice after termination of the relationship, except an agreement concerning benefits upon retirement; or 
 
(b) an agreement in which a restriction on the lawyer's right to practice is part of the settlement of a controversy between private parties.

Comment

[1] An agreement restricting the right of lawyers to practice after leaving a firm not only limits their professional autonomy but also limits the freedom of clients to choose a lawyer.  Paragraph (a) prohibits such agreements except for restrictions incident to provisions concerning retirement benefits for service with the firm. 

[2] Paragraph (b) prohibits a lawyer from agreeing not to represent other persons in connection with settling a claim on behalf of a client.

[3] This Rule does not apply to prohibit restrictions that may be included in the terms of the sale of a law practice pursuant to ER 1.17.