Client Poaching: Tortious Interference and the Competitor's Privilege

Jul 14, 2019


Welcome to Baytowne Reporting's comprehensive guide on client poaching, tortious interference, and the competitor's privilege in the legal industry. As a trusted court reporting company in Bay County, we strive to keep our clients informed about relevant legal topics that may impact their business.

Understanding Client Poaching

Client poaching, also known as wrongful solicitation or interference with business relations, refers to the act of a competitor attempting to lure or attract another business's clients or customers away, typically through unethical or unlawful means. It is important to differentiate between fair competition and actionable client poaching that may result in legal consequences.

Tortious Interference

Tortious interference occurs when a third party intentionally interferes with a contractual or business relationship between two other parties, causing harm or preventing the injured party from benefiting from the relationship. In the context of client poaching, tortious interference may arise when a competitor interferes with an existing contractual relationship between a business and its client, resulting in financial loss or damage.

The Competitor's Privilege

The competitor's privilege, also known as the right to compete, is a legal defense that shields businesses from liability for certain actions performed in the course of fair competition. It recognizes the importance of healthy competition in the market and allows competitors to engage in efforts to attract clients or customers, as long as such actions are lawful and ethical.

The Elements of the Competitor's Privilege

In order to successfully establish the competitor's privilege as a defense against allegations of tortious interference or client poaching, several elements must typically be met:

  1. Competitive motive: The competitor must have a legitimate and lawful motive to engage in competition, such as offering superior products/services or better pricing.
  2. Proper means: The competitor must use lawful means to engage in competition, avoiding any illegal or deceptive tactics.
  3. Fair and reasonable conduct: The competitor's conduct must be fair and reasonable within the bounds of competition, without crossing ethical or legal boundaries.
  4. Adequate justification: The competitor must be able to justify their actions by demonstrating that they were necessary to compete effectively in the market.

Implications and Legal Considerations

Client poaching and tortious interference can have significant legal and financial implications. Businesses that engage in unethical or unlawful client poaching may face legal action resulting in monetary damages, injunctions, or other remedies. Likewise, businesses that believe their clients have been poached may pursue legal recourse to protect their interests and seek compensation for any incurred losses.

Protecting Your Business

To safeguard your business against potential client poaching or allegations of tortious interference, it is crucial to:

  • Educate employees: Ensure that your employees are aware of ethical business practices, including the importance of not actively soliciting clients from competitors.
  • Protect client relationships: Establish strong relationships with your clients by providing exceptional service and value, making it less likely for them to explore other options.
  • Monitor industry practices: Stay informed about industry trends, developments, and any legal changes or updates that may affect your business's competitive landscape.
  • Seek legal advice: Consult with an experienced attorney specializing in business and competition law to ensure compliance and address any concerns regarding client poaching.


Client poaching, tortious interference, and the competitor's privilege are complex legal concepts that can significantly impact businesses in the legal industry. By understanding these concepts and taking proactive measures to protect your business, you can navigate the competitive landscape while avoiding legal disputes and maintaining strong client relationships.

For reliable court reporting services in Bay County, trust Baytowne Reporting. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you with your litigation support needs.

Gemma Vara
Great insights into the legal concept of client poaching and its implications for competitors.
Nov 11, 2023