Whether you are considering a franchise opportunity, preparing to renew or transfer your franchise, or facing a potential dispute with your franchisor, it is important to have experienced legal representation. Not only are the legal issues involved complex, but franchisors often hire attorneys from big law firms to draft their agreements and deal with their franchisees. As a result, franchisees need an attorney who can level the playing field.
When choosing an attorney to review your franchise agreement or protect your interests in negotiations, arbitration or litigation, you need to make an informed decision. The stakes are high, and you cannot afford to choose your attorney simply because he or she buys ad space on the Internet and claims to practice franchise law. Before you commit to hiring an attorney to handle your franchise-related legal needs, here are some questions you should seek to have answered:
5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Franchise Attorney
1. How long have you practiced franchise law?
Generally speaking, the more experience an attorney has, the better. The most-experienced franchise attorneys have decades of experience in their chosen field.
2. Do you exclusively practice franchise law?
Franchise law is a unique field with specific laws that apply at the state and federal levels. The state of the law – and the state of the franchise industry itself – are constantly changing, and an attorney who devotes his or her entire practice to franchising is likely to have a much better understanding of the legal landscape than an attorney who also practices in other areas.
3. Do you represent both franchisees and franchisors, or just franchisees?
Some franchise attorneys represent both franchisors and franchisees. However, this can raise concerns – including potential conflicts of interest – for franchisees, particularly in the context of litigation. An attorney who exclusively represents franchisees will be focused on the issues from your point of view, and will have an appreciation for the practicalities of operating as a franchisee.
4. Will you personally handle my franchise agreement review or franchise dispute?
Some firms will assign clients to junior associates and staff members. With your finances on the line, you need to know that you will have an experienced attorney personally handling your case.
5. What can I reasonably expect from our engagement?
While no attorney can guarantee the outcome of any particular transaction or dispute, an experienced franchise attorney should be able to provide you with a reasonable assessment of the likely outcomes. Which franchise agreement provisions are likely to be negotiable? What are your chances of securing a renewal term or avoiding termination in light of the facts at hand? These are questions you should expect to have answered when you discuss your situation with your attorney.
Schedule a Free Consultation at the Goldstein Law Firm
The Goldstein Law Firm is an award-winning franchise law firm led by Jeffrey M. Goldstein, a franchise attorney with more than 30 years’ experience exclusively representing franchisees. For more information, we invite you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with Mr. Goldstein in confidence, please call (202) 293-3947 or request an appointment online today.