Whether you are considering a franchise opportunity or you are facing potential arbitration or litigation with your franchisor, you need experienced legal representation. The franchise relationship is rife with legal implications, and overlooking issues or making uninformed decisions can have potentially-drastic consequences for unexpecting franchisees.
But, just like franchise opportunities, not all franchise lawyers are alike. So, how do you choose the right type of franchise lawyer to meet your needs? Relevant experience should certainly be among the driving factors, and you can learn a lot about a franchise lawyer by the scope and focus of his or her practice.
What are the Four Kinds of Franchise Lawyers?
1. Lawyers that Handle Franchise and Non-Franchise Matters
The first type of franchise lawyer is one who handles franchise-related legal issues as part of a broader practice. For example, many lawyers represent clients facing a wide range of business-related issues, including those specific to franchising. While this type of practice can be good for clients who need general business advice or who face a wide range of legal issues on a daily basis, due to the complexities of franchising, franchisees will often be able to obtain more nuanced and in-depth advice from a franchise-specific attorney.
2. Lawyers that Represent Franchisees and Franchisors
The majority of true franchise lawyers represent both franchisees and franchisors. The reason for this is often financial: While there are far more franchisees than franchisors, franchisors have “deep pockets” and the need for ongoing legal representation. As a result, representing franchisees is really a “side business” for many of these attorneys. Representing clients on both sides of the industry can lead to certain conflicts of interest as well, and franchisees considering attorneys who play both sides should make sure they feel comfortable that they will be adequately represented.
3. Lawyers that Exclusively Represent Franchisors
Some lawyers, mostly at large law firms, exclusively represent franchisors. As a franchisee with limited legal needs, you may quickly discover that these attorneys are not interested in providing you with legal representation.
4. Lawyers that Exclusively Represent Franchisees
Finally, there are franchise attorneys who exclusively represent franchisees. They do not invest time in other practice areas, and they do not sit on both sides of the table in franchise negotiations and dispute resolution proceedings. These lawyers devote 100 percent of their time and attention to advancing franchisees’ interests and finding new strategies for securing franchisees’ rights, and they have a thorough understanding of the relevant issues from the franchisee’s perspective.
Which type of franchise attorney is right for you? This is a decision you need to make on your own, and you should invest some time in researching franchise lawyers who may be able to help you. At the Goldstein Law Firm, we offer free initial consultations, and we are happy to answer your questions about our practice focus and franchise law experience.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Franchisee Lawyer Jeffrey M. Goldstein
The Goldstein Law Firm is a national franchise law practice that exclusively represents franchisees and dealers. To schedule a free initial consultation with franchise attorney Jeffrey M. Goldstein, please call (202) 293-3947 or request an appointment online today.