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Hire a key player from your competitor and the inevitable will follow: a lawsuit against your company and the employee, trying to prevent him from working for you and demanding every document on your computer system. If your competitor is being especially nice, you might receive a demand letter just threatening to sue you. Having represented companies on the giving and receiving ends of these lawsuits, I have learned that a company can significantly reduce its liability, and even the likelihood of getting sued, with some planning at the hiring stage.

Here are the top five actions that companies should take before hiring a competitor’s employee:

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