Non-compete agreements cannot restrict corporate in-house attorneys from subsequent employment. That's the recent ruling of the New Jersey Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics in its Opinion 708. While non-competes are generally enforceable in most business settings, they are invalid as to attorneys because they unduly limit the freedom of clients to select counsel of their choice. Non-competes also have been held to infringe upon a lawyer's professional autonomy. Now it is clear that they affect not just lawyers in traditional private practice, but also those who work for corporations.
The opinion is consistent with most state courts that have ruled on similar cases, so New Jersey is squarely with the majority on this issue.