Recently, a Texas-based lawyer named Michael Pohl and his law firm (collectively, “Pohl”) filed a complaint against three other attorneys, their law firms, and a marketing firm alleging, among other things, that the defendants engaged in a scheme to misappropriate Pohl’s trade secrets and to use them to solicit Pohl’s clients, and to support allegations in actions the defendants filed against Pohl.

The complaint states that Pohl hired the marketing firm to provide public relations services and to liaise with Pohl’s existing and prospective clients. In the course of the engagement, Pohl alleges that the marketing firm gained access to his trade secrets. Pohl also alleges that the marketing firm then misappropriated his trade secrets by providing them to its attorney, who is one of the defendants. The complaint alleges that the marketing firm’s lawyer is co-counsel with the two other attorney-defendants, and together they used Pohl’s trade secrets to solicit Pohl’s clients and to support barratry and other claims asserted in litigation that the three attorney-defendants filed against Pohl. Pohl contends that the identity of current and prospective clients, including their contact information, as well as fee agreements, state-specific legal forms, and marketing information constitute trade secrets under the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

TIP: Because trade secret theft can occur even in trusted relations, such as those between lawyers and hired consultants or experts, companies—including law firms—must be diligent about protecting their assets.