Choosing your Franchise Lawyer
Not every business lawyer has experience in franchising.
Franchise law is a unique. It involves special federal laws. In some cases, it also involves special state laws. It involves a unique culture, with its own unofficial norms and standards.
So, you want to make sure that your lawyer has the expertise and experience to actually provide the help you need.
Now the harder part. How can you tell if a lawyer has the expertise and experience you want?
A good, old-fashioned interview should be part of your process. We recommend that you ask the following types of questions:
- How many FDDs/Franchise Agreements have you reviewed? Negotiated?
- Give me the names of some of the franchises you've worked on?
- Do you lecture and/or write about franchise issues?
- If yes, where, when, to whom?
- Have you represented clients in franchise lawsuits? In franchise arbitrations?
- If yes, how many? In Texas? Where else?
- Have you ever helped a franchisee sell/transfer their franchise?
- If yes, give some examples.
At Dickinson & Wheelock P.C., we also think your franchise lawyer should be able to serve as your company's “general counsel” on other business matters. So, ask the lawyer:
- Can you help me form my legal entity?
- How many entities have you formed?
- Can you help me review and negotiate my lease?
- What's your experience in leases for franchisees?
- Can you help with employee issues?
- What's your experience?
- Do you have your own business experience?
- If yes, tell me about it.
- If I have disputes, will you be able to help me?
- What experience do you have in litigation? In arbitration?
When you ask these questions, listen to the answer. But also listen to the way that the lawyer answers. Not only should you be looking for a lawyer with the right kind of experience, you should be looking for a lawyer that you trust.