During the franchise investigative process, prospective buyers in the advanced stages will be provided with some very important paperwork. First and foremost is the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). Regulated by the FTC’s Franchise Rule, it consists of 23 different sections (Items) that cover every aspect of the brand’s proposition for franchisees. When the times comes to make an informed decision about purchasing a franchise, both parties will be bound by the franchise agreement. A frequent caveat in the franchising industry is for entrepreneurs to do the requisite amount of due diligence during their investigation of concepts. As for the two paperwork examples provided above, it’s highly recommended that prospective buyers enlist the help of a good franchise attorney to review the fine print.
If a candidate doesn’t take this advice, and undertakes this process alone, it’s quite similar to representing oneself in the courtroom. And you know what they say about those who don’t seek legal representation – they have a fool for a client. Hiring a good franchise attorney is of the utmost importance, as their job is to review legal documents on your behalf. But the true value comes from the advice you’ll receive, as it pertains to your suitability to own a particular franchise. Franchise attorneys also work with franchisors on numerous legal issues related to existing operations, as well as brands exploring the franchise model to expand their business footprint.
Entrepreneur has announced the Top Franchise Supplier rankings, a multi-faceted directory which includes the best of the best service providers in the industry. Here are the top 15 law firms who earned a well-deserved spot on the 2022 list:
1. Spadea Lignana Franchise Attorneys
Spadea Lignana offers unlimited franchisor support for a flat monthly fee, along with expert guidance in Franchise Disclosure Documents (FDDs), state registrations, and franchise and multi-unit agreements. Our proprietary software systems allow you to easily see where you can sell, disclose prospects, track state registrations and learn franchisor best practices. Win in franchising by choosing Spadea Lignana to help you create a lasting legacy and build generational wealth. “We have pioneered the flat fee subscription model for all the regulatory franchise legal needs for franchisors,” says Tom Spadea, founding partner of the firm. “By not charging hourly for our legal work, we develop long-term, deep relationships with our clients. We have a team approach, supported by proprietary technology, giving our clients accurate, transparent and timely information on the state of their FDD, their state registrations and all their franchise agreements.”
2. FisherZucker LLC
FisherZucker is a law firm with a national practice dedicated almost exclusively to franchising and business licensing matters, with offices in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Our lawyers have extensive experience in pre-litigation counseling, mediation, litigation, and arbitration, and regularly litigate cases nationwide. We have an active merger and acquisition practice including conducting due diligence for private equity firms. We also advise clients on franchise development, regulatory compliance, corporate formation/governance, and trademark licensing and protection matters. Our experienced attorneys are well versed in multi-unit franchising, international franchising, and complicated disclosure issues. According to Lane Fisher, partner at FisherZucker, it takes a meticulous approach to be considered among the best law firms in the franchising industry. “We pride ourselves on caring meticulously for our clients and their brands” Fisher says. “Our attentiveness to detail, personal relationships with our clients and other franchise leaders, and decades of franchise-specific experience separate us from the rest. While many law firms tout franchising as one of many practice areas, it’s our bread and butter. This allows us to focus our time and energy on monitoring and dissecting regulatory shifts and staying apprised of the latest innovations across industries to best advise our clients on how to stand out as a brand while staying smart as a franchisor.”
3. Internicola Law Firm
The Internicola Law Firm helps emerging brands get the legal support they need, resources for growth, and strategies to win at franchising. For over 20 years, we have been helping numerous emerging brands build, expand, and protect their franchise systems with proven strategies, guidance, and know-how. Established by Charles N. Internicola, and nationally recognized by Super Lawyers, we are a law firm with the heart of an entrepreneur. We’re business owners and franchisors, too. Our team is obsessed with seeing emerging brands win in the marketplace. We believe that all emerging brands can win big at franchising.
4. Lathrop GPM
Lathrop GPM is a full-service, Am Law 200 law firm with offices in Boston, Boulder, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Jefferson City, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Overland Park, St. Cloud, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. Our attorneys help businesses, organizations, and individuals grow and succeed, anticipate trends, plan for challenges, and bring their visions to life. With one of the world’s leading franchise and distribution law practices, lawyers serve franchisors and master franchisees at all stages of their development, in markets throughout the world.
5. DLA Piper
DLA Piper is a global law firm with lawyers located in more than 40 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific, positioning us to help clients with their legal needs around the world. DLA Piper’s Franchise and Distribution practice has been a national and international leader in franchise and distribution law since modern franchising began, helping to shape the field from its inception. Our clients come from most of the business sectors that have adopted franchising as a method of distribution and cover a broad spectrum of size and experience, from entrepreneurs and startup companies that are establishing new programs to the largest franchisors, manufacturers, and distributors. We are general counsel to the International Franchise Association.
6. Mullin, P.C.
At Mullin, P.C. we help our clients achieve their growth objectives through franchising, licensing, and distribution arrangements, domestically and internationally. We’ve helped structure and launch dozens of new franchise programs. We specialize in refining and modifying established programs as their systems evolve. Our firm is heavily connected in the franchise industry, enabling us to offer clients the unique benefits of our established relationships in the franchise community. Our team is dedicated to providing you with superior legal service, a friendly, down-to-earth approachability, as well as comprehensive knowledge of franchise law. Our outstanding talent, knowledge, and experience allow us to design a customized strategy for our clients to achieve their business goals.
Jonathan Barber and Jason Power lead the franchise team at Franchise.Law. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Franchise.Law represents over 100 franchisors in transactions and disputes. The firm’s client base ranges from some of the top new franchise systems to large, multi-national franchisors. Franchise.Law regularly launches new franchise systems, preparing franchise disclosure documents tailored closely to their clients’ needs and securing registration with every state in the country. The firm has supported some of the fastest-growing franchise systems in the U.S. and approaches franchise law from a sales perspective.
8. FranchiseSmith LLC
FranchiseSmith: Helping create and preserve happy and successful franchise and business relationships. Emphasis on structure and drafting of franchise agreements and disclosure materials; selection of trademarks; compliance with state and federal and international franchise and business opportunity laws including the preparation of relevant disclosure and registration materials. Expert witness in franchise law litigation and attorney malpractice actions. Extensive experience in franchise purchase negotiations representing both franchisors and franchisees. Well versed in related antitrust, securities, general corporate and business matters.
9. Drumm Law LLC
Drumm Law is a virtual law firm that began with the idea that a law firm should be treated like a business and run like a business. We rely on technology, specialization, quality people, and low overhead to provide high quality and affordable legal services to our clients. As a full-service franchise law firm, we work with franchise brands of all sizes across all industries.
10. Roda & Chalfant, LLC
Roda & Chalfant, LLC works with franchisors and franchisees alike, viewing clients as partners on a journey to grow their business safely and effectively to its full potential. As co-founders, in-house counsel and growth advisors for hundreds of businesses, we know what it takes to manage risk as part of a holistic development plan. Let us know how we can help you get more from your attorneys.
11. Plave Koch PLC
Plave Koch PLC is an entrepreneurial law firm with a deep bench of highly-experienced partners, and we practice in franchise and distribution law, vehicle rental law, trademarks, litigation, FTC matters, and technology. We represent franchisors and distributors in U.S. and international transactions, litigation, and disputes. And, while we all developed our practices in large law firms, we’ve quite easily broken free of the big firm constraints. Working closer than ever with our clients, at reasonable and predictable rates, we’re having the time of our lives.
12. Warshawsky Seltzer, PLLC
Warshawsky Seltzer is a boutique franchise law firm that aggressively focuses on the needs of businesses looking to grow domestically and internationally through franchising. Our firm is comprised of entrepreneurial lawyers with significant real-world business ownership experience. Our attorneys have legal expertise in other areas of importance to franchise systems, including corporate, real estate, mergers and acquisitions, trademark, licensing, and informal dispute resolution. We are responsive, efficient, and offer flat fee plans which provide clients with unlimited access to legal services for a fixed monthly fee. Our flat fee plans encourage clients to keep us up to date about their businesses, which enables us to provide strategic and proactive (as opposed to reactive) business and legal advice. We value long-term relationships with our clients and understand that the overall success of our firm is inextricably tied to the long term success of our clients. Franchising–it’s what we do!
13. Cheng Cohen LLC
Cheng Cohen is a full-service boutique law firm exclusively representing franchisors globally. We prepare uniquely tailored franchise disclosure documents and franchise agreements, and act as an active partner in developing and managing ongoing compliance strategies. Cheng Cohen LLC represents franchise brands in commercial transactions around the world – whether a domestic company is expanding internationally, or a foreign company is expanding in the U.S. We’re your franchise-focused legal team.
14. Canada Lewis & Associates PLLC
Founded by an entrepreneur who grew and divested multiple businesses over a period of two decades as well as a love for law, Canada Lewis & Associates focuses our legal team on creative, comprehensive solutions that support our clients personal and business objectives. We do get personal; with a focus on understanding our client’s needs, both short and long term, we get to know them on a first name basis, then provide competent, professional, cost effective legal service with a level of responsiveness not available from large “tower” firms.
15. Dunn & Allsman, LLC
Dunn & Allsman, LLC is a franchise and distribution law firm representing domestic and international brands, their owners and investors. With services ranging from the structure, maintenance, growth and sale of franchise systems, distribution, licensing, intellectual property, merger and acquisition, corporate, regulatory compliance, dispute resolution, and international franchise and business law, Dunn & Allsman provides comprehensive legal expertise across the full spectrum of franchising and distribution needs.