Today we had a spirited discussion about Georgia’s new noncompete employment statute – House Bill 30. Our guests were State Representative Wendell Willard, one of the co-sponsors of the statute and William (Chip) Collins Jr, the attorney who heads Burr and Forman’s new noncompete and trade secrets group – he is also the editor of their new Noncompete & Trade Secrets blog.
Wendell Willard/ State Representative 49th District Georgia House of Representatives
Wendell is the co-sponsor of Georgia’s new noncompete employment statute that became effective last year and drastically changed the legal landscape for noncompetes.
State Representative Wendell Willard represents the 49th District in the Georgia House of Representatives. Since being first elected to serve in 2001, Representative Willard has been instrumental in passing several pieces of landmark legislation. Since 2005 Representative Willard has served as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Chairman Willard’s notable legislative accomplishments during his time with the General Assembly include: the 2006 passage of Georgia’s Eminent Domain law, which strengthened personal property rights for all Georgians, and the 2004 Child Protection Law, which protects children against reckless and abusive caregivers. Chairman Willard also points to the 2005 creation of the City of Sandy Springs, his hometown, by the General Assembly and the subsequent creation of the cities of Johns Creek and Milton among his most notable legislative accomplishments.
In recognition of his legislative accomplishments, Chairman Willard has been honored by: the Georgia Council on Aging with their Special Legislator Award, the Department of Human Resources with their Leadership Award, and by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, among others. Most recently, he was honored in 2008 by the Georgia Municipal Association as a “Champion of Georgia’s Cities.”
Representative Willard resides in Sandy Springs with his wife Vicki. When not working at the Capitol, Representative Willard is an attorney in his own private practice, and serves as the City Attorney for Sandy Springs. Active in the Sandy Springs and North Fulton communities, Representative Willard serves on the board of The Newtown Park Foundation. Representative Willard serves as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and also serves on Appropriations, Ethics, Ex-Officio of Judiciary Non-Civil, and Vice Chairman of Rules. He was a member of the Insurance Committee from 2001-2005.
Chip helps his clients successfully resolve multiple types of business disputes, including those involving breach of contract, commercial lending, unfair competition, real estate, and employment issues. He has represented clients ranging from individuals and small businesses to large banks and Fortune 500 companies in matters involving between tens of thousands to tens of millions of dollars in dispute. Chip firmly believes in working with his clients at the beginning of an engagement to clearly identify the client’s objectives and develop a strategy and budget for achieving the client’s goals in the most cost-effective manner. Although he is able to efficiently resolve most of his cases through dispositive motions or alternative dispute resolution, Chip is fully prepared to go to trial for his clients when necessary, having tried cases and handled appeals at both the State and Federal levels.
Disputes involving real estate and lending comprise a substantial portion of Chip’s practice. In the recent economic climate, Chip has spent the majority of his time representing several national and regional lenders in litigation involving large defaulted commercial loans, including the institution of receivership proceedings and defense of lender liability claims.
Chip has significant experience and expertise in helping businesses of all types prevent unfair competition through the drafting and enforcement of non-competition, non-disclosure, and non-recruitment covenants and the pursuit of remedies for misappropriation of trade secrets, breaches of fiduciary duties and other similar claims. He has written and lectured extensively on those subjects, as well. Chip has also successfully defended companies and individuals accused of unfair competition.
Chip is also often called upon to handle disputes arising from the break-up of business partners (the “business divorce”). In those cases, he attempts to temper the high emotions usually associated with such matters and work out a fair and common-sense resolution, thereby avoiding costly litigation that rarely provides a true economic “win” for any party in those types of cases.