This topic seems to have been discussed ad nauseum, but I wanted to get thoughts on it one last time.
I am a lawyer in a mid-sized firm. I don't have an employment agreement. I started a small start-up, just for some extra income, in a line of business (software) that's not really the same as what my employer does, although my software is targeted at lawyers.
I discussed how to disclose the start-up with some of my best friends, who are lawyers, and they said that there's no reason to disclose it; I have nothing that I'd look to gain from my employer (such as assistance); the software was developed 100% on my own time and with my own resources; I have no desire to leave my current employer; and they didn't think that there was a conflict between serving clients and my start-up.
I still think that I ought to disclose the program, just for peace of mind, but does anyone agree that it should not be disclosed?
Don't disclose it. As long as it does not compete with your firm, you are better off keeping quiet. No offense, but lawyers will always find a way to take a cut, even if they don't deserve it.
As you know, you should be extremely cautious with doing your side gig on company time or using company resources. After all, you work around a bunch of lawyers :)!
I think you should tell your employer.
When our employees tell me they have something going 'on the side', I appreciate their frankness, and it gives me a good feeling about their ethics. It also tells me they are looking for more challenge and more opportunity, which I try to accommodate. Most employers started their business 'on the side' at one point, so they understand what you are going through and maybe they can even give you some good advice if you ask for it.
Good luck with your new venture!
When I assessed, it is good to disclose as long your business does not comflict with your employer's business both sides of time and resources. But if you provide the same products/services it will be real problem, and I guess that is even better because you are lawyer you are more familiar with some industry law.
Keep well with your business!!
If your employment contract doesn't stipulate that you have to disclose it and also doesn't mention anything about ownership of ALL your work (even out of work hours), then I'd say you are in the clear and probably shouldn't bring it up. If it's really eating you up, you could tell them; I really don't see any harm coming from this either way, unless there is some sort of conflict of interest between your side project and your job.
He could say that your side project seems to be distracting you from your regular work, that's about it.
"I still think that I ought to disclose the program, just for peace of mind."
I'd like to know more about this... what is the source of the peace of mind... that if they 'discover' it you'd get fired?... or accused?...or they'll use it against you in an evaluation?
Do you not think that others there have side businesses?