I worked at a company that was acquired earlier this year and I didn't care for the new employment contract. Unfortunately, the sale was contingent on a certain percentage of the team signing the new employment contract. I had a lawyer look at the whole thing and he told me that because of the way the deal was worded I could sign and quit without affecting things.
I looked at the contracts a ton myself and basically made no sense of it. The lawyer spent a couple hours and it was a big help.
Don't ever assume something a company is doing is on the up-and-up.
Or was this an interview with the acquiring company?
Employee fully and unconditionally grants, assigns and transfers to the Company any
and all Inventions created, developed, discovered, conceived, invented, learned, or
suggested by Employee during the performance of Employee’s obligations under this
Agreement and for a period of one (1) year thereafter, whether or not such
Inventions are made during working hours or on the property of the Company, whether
or not such Inventions are related to the business, activities or interests of the
Company and whether or not such Inventions are patentable, copyrightable, or
protectable with a trademark, service mark or otherwise.
So I suggested he should get a lawyer to review it. In the mean time, they started pressuring him to sign, he told them it was with the lawyer right now (though he hadn't yet found one, he was just stalling), and they freaked. Cut him a check of a few thousand dollars to go away and agree to a gag order.
But I didn't agree to shit! However, I still won't name them because I'm fairly certain they'd launch a full-frontal libel lawsuit against me. Just one of those kinds of places.
This sort of term is exactly why you get a lawyer to review the contract. If it's enforceable (big "if", in many places) then that's a guaranteed year you can't realistically either be employed by anyone else in the industry or be working on something like open source projects to keep your skills up to date. As career death sentences go, that's probably pretty close for anyone early in a career in software, web development, or any similar creative field.
You should mention what company it was, I would love to go to a few interviews and then walk away with a settlement check for no reason.
When hiring another firm I did a lot of prelim research on Avvo.com - they give you a good amount of detail and user reviews without having to create an account. It's easy to find the attorneys who are listed on there without having to use Avvo's system.
I still think the best way to find an attorney in a specific field is to ask other attorneys in any other field.
Failing that, contact your state bar association. For example, the CA bar association offers a list of certified lawyer referral services that will help you find a lawyer with the right expertise: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/LawyerReferralServicesLRS.as...
Which is why I think it was necessary to be very direct about the issue
Next time try something like, "Yes yes yes, definitely find a specialist employment lawyer. Referrals and the state bar are a good way to do that, but make sure you end up with somebody who has spent a few years dealing directly with cases like this."
Big Unions often employ or know top notch employment lawyers (it's not a focus for unions, but they still might work together on select cases), employment lawyers that can scare the acquiring company before negotiations begin :p
Which pointed me to http://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/firm/employment-law-employ...
FindLaw is a Thompson Reuters business, so I trust it enough, and it came up with 43 results which it seems should be enough to find something adequate.
'Generic legal language' is not your problem, specific legal language applicable to this specific case is the problem and if $20 is the differentiating factor then you might as well quit the job or sign the contract anyway.