Guide to Selecting a Franchise Lawyer
If you have questions about franchise lawyers, what they do, how they can help, the cost, and how to select the right franchise lawyer for you, then this guide will help.
A franchise lawyer is a lawyer with specialized experience and knowledge on legal issues involving federal and state franchise laws. When selecting and hiring a franchise lawyer, you should:
- Learn what franchise lawyers do;
- Learn what the franchise laws are;
- Evaluate the lawyer’s franchise experience; and
- Determine the right fee structure for you.
What Franchise Lawyers Do?
Franchise lawyers advise and represent individuals and businesses on legal issues that involve franchising a business, preparing an FDD, filing and renewing FDD registrations, buying a franchise, and litigation involving the franchisor and franchisee relationship. The role of a franchise lawyer varies depending on whether he or she represents the franchisor or the franchisee.
When representing a franchisor (the company that offers and sells franchises) the franchise lawyer will provide legal advice related to issuing and registering the franchise disclosure document, preparing franchise agreements, and other issues that involve the legal relationship with franchisees. When representing a franchisee (the individual or business that buys a franchise and, eventually, develops and operates a franchised location) the franchise lawyer will provide legal advice related to reviewing the FDD, reviewing and negotiating the franchise agreement, and protecting the franchisees rights in the underlying franchised business.
What Are the Franchise Laws?
The franchise laws are a combination of federal and state laws that regulate the offer and sale of franchises and the legal relationship between franchisors and franchisees. At the federal level, the FTC has issued the Federal Franchise Rule that requires franchisors to issue and disclose to prospective franchisees a pre-sales disclosure document called a franchise disclosure document” or “FDD”. At the state level, there are certain states that have enacted franchise laws and regulations that supplement the federal requirements, impose additional disclosure obligations on franchisors, and regulate the franchisor-franchisee relationship. Learn more about the franchise laws.
What’s the Lawyers Franchise Experience?
Within the legal industry there are no fixed rules as to what qualifies a lawyer as a “franchise lawyer.” The quality and level of experience of each franchise lawyer varies depending on his or her own experience and his or her level of dedication to franchising. It’s important to select a lawyer that specializes in franchise law and that is actively involved in the franchise community.
Within the legal community, the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising is one of the most recognized and influential franchise-industry-specific forums for franchise lawyers. The ABA Forum on Franchising maintains active list-serves, conferences, and continuing education events dedicated to franchise law, and an attorney’s membership within the ABA Forum on Franchising is an important factor to consider. Also consider is whether or not the attorney is a member of the International Franchise Association (the “IFA”). The IFA is the most recognized trade association for the franchise industry, and its membership includes franchisors and franchisor suppliers. An attorney’s membership in the IFA as a paid supplier member should be considered in evaluating the attorney’s commitment and dedication to franchising.
In addition to an attorney’s participation in franchise-specific trade associations, consider client reviews and references and, the lawyers dedication and commitment to franchising.
Determine the Right Fee Structure for You?
The most common fee structure model within the legal industry is hourly-based billing. However, within the franchise industry, many franchise lawyers and franchise law firms offer fixed-fee project based billing. We recommend fixed-fees over hourly fees for specialized projects like reviewing and negotiating franchise agreements and, FDD development.
Learn more about our fixed fee franchise development services to franchise your business and our fixed fee FDD review services to buy a franchise.
Within the franchise industry there are some amazing franchise lawyers who are committed to the industry and their clients. So, take some time and find the right fit for your business.
To learn about why we may be the perfect franchise lawyers for you and how we can help you grow your business, give us a call at (800) 976-4904 or contact us.