Michael P. Avila
Michael Avila is an international employment and trade secrets attorney in the Philadelphia office.
Working with employers around the globe, Mike routinely advises on trade secrets protection strategies and restrictive covenant agreements. His practice also includes domestic and cross-border employment litigation and counseling.
Restrictive Covenant, Trade Secrets and Employee Raiding
In connection with his trade secrets and restrictive covenants practice, Mike has prosecuted and opposed numerous matters involving applications for temporary restraining orders or preliminary injunctions, including anti-suit injunction actions in both U.S. and E.U. jurisdictions. These cases concern covenants not to compete, non-disclosure agreements, unfair competition, and employee raiding claims.
Mike also represents a number of financial services clients in Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration matters, involving trade secret and restrictive covenant disputes.
Along with his litigation practice, Mike assists clients with drafting restrictive covenants and developing programs to protect their competitive assets against employee defections.
International Employment Counseling and Litigation
In addition to his domestic practice, Mike also regularly represents U.S. employers in cross-border employment disputes throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia. These matters include employment agreement disputes, discrimination claims, and various claims of unfair dismissal.
In connection with his international litigation practice, Mike counsels U.S. employers concerning the legal implications of hiring and managing employees internationally, including in some of the world’s most challenging legal jurisdictions. This includes helping employers navigate workplace realities outside of the U.S. and working with legal and tax counsel around the globe to prepare foreign secondment agreements, employment contracts, and tax and other withholdings compliance plans.
Mike enjoys representing clients of all sizes and structures, from Fortune 500 retail banks and broker-dealers to private equity-backed biotech companies and charitable non-governmental organizations. His industry experience includes securities, health information technology, retail mortgage lending, document management, non-profit, and higher education.
Restrictive Covenant Litigation and Competitive Hire Counseling
- Successfully represented a global reinsurer in cross-border restrictive covenant matter against a former executive, involving injunctive relief litigation in the U.S. and the U.K.
- Assisted E.U.-based private equity firm in the litigation-free recruitment into its portfolio companies of multiple U.S.-based executives from biotech industry competitors, requiring navigation of complex multi-jurisdictional restrictive covenants
- In the mergers and acquisition context, advised global infrastructure management organization on assignability and sufficiency of target entities’ existing restrictive covenant and key executive agreements, in connection with multiple asset and stock purchase transactions.
- On behalf of retail mortgage provider and multiple loan officers, successfully defended against a motion for injunctive relief filed by a former employer, in connection with the terms of non-compete agreements executed by the loan officers.
International Employment Counseling
- Working with local counsel, stewarded non-governmental organization through the separation of in-country organizational leadership in Guinea, Kazakhstan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, all in a manner compliant with local labor and employment laws.
- Negotiated the separation of employment of U.K. resident working in Afghanistan, who was alleging breach of employment contract and unfair dismissal under U.K. and Afghan law.
- On behalf of various U.S.-based employers, prepared international assignment agreements for long-term executive assignments in Japan, Mexico, and China, including partnering with local counsel in each jurisdiction to prepare corresponding local employment contracts.
- Successfully negotiated resolution of wrongful dismissal and breach of executive employment agreement action in Costa Rica, on behalf of global document management company.
Domestic Employment Counseling and Litigation
- As second-chair, obtained complete defense award from a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) arbitration panel, on behalf of a national broker-dealer in a dispute with its former registered representative, involving claims in excess of a $3,000,000, stemming from long-term incentive award and deferred compensation agreements.
- Successfully resolved employment discrimination and whistleblower matters before state and federal agencies in various jurisdictions, including California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Florida.
- On behalf of retail banking client, obtained affirmance by the United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit of a prior successful motion to enforce the terms of an employment discrimination settlement agreement.
- On appellate review, successfully defended multiple summary judgment orders before the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division.
Honors & Leadership
Honors & Awards
- Pennsylvania Super Lawyers – Rising Stars, (2015-2019)
- Listed as a 2018 Lawyer on the Fast Track by the Legal Intelligencer
- Member, Pennsylvania Bar Association
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, Philadelphia Bar Association
- Member, Delaware County Bar Association
- Member, Association Internationale des Jeunes Avocats – International Association of Young Lawyers
Seminars & Speaking Engagements
- Philadelphia Annual One Day Seminar9.29.16
- 2018 Association Internationale des Jeunes Avocats – Annual Congress Panelist: "Global, Local or GLOCAL: What Shall it Be? Managing Employment in International Companies in a Changing New World Order
- "Emerging Issues in Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets”
Pennsylvania Bar Institute
- 2017 Association Internationale des Jeunes Avocats – International Association of Young Lawyers Labour and Immigration Law Annual Conference – "Brexit & Trump: Is Globalisation In Decline?"
- 2017 Global Travel Risk Summit – “Understanding Our Responsibilities To Our Globally Mobile Employees”
- 2016 Association Internationale des Jeunes Avocats – International Association of Young Lawyers Half-Year Congress -- Global Employment Litigation Panelist
Inside Track - Question of the Week (subscription required)
- Cross Border Employer Blog2.20.18
- Cross Border Employer Blog1.19.18
- Cross Border Employer Blog11.17.17
- For US Employers Operating in Mexico, Anti-Corruption Compliance Now is a Multi-Jurisdictional ObligationCross Border Employer Blog10.25.17
- Non-Compete and Trade Secrets Blog5.20.16
- Keystone Employment Law Blog1.13.16
- Keystone Employment Law Blog1.7.16
- Villanova University School of LawJ.D. 2011
- Pennsylvania State UniversityB.S. 2007
- New Jersey
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas