Franchise law is complicated, requiring specialization in the patchwork of laws. Therefore, a typical corporate attorney may not be suitable for franchise contracts and cases. A good franchise lawyer help you prevent franchise litigation, guide you through franchising processes and tell you whether franchising is even a good option for you.
Most every city or town has a franchise of some sort. The owners of these franchises are often the best individuals to discuss this type of legal representation. Franchise owners have gone through the process and can share how their experience was with their legal counsel. Don’t just ask for referrals, ask about the process in depth.
You may also ask any legal professionals you know and work with. Lawyers typically know who is best at what field of law.
Don’t rely totally on referrals. You should do some research on each candidate. For example, read their online reviews and testimonials. Check the Better Business Bureau and the state bar to determine whether their licenses are in good standing and identify any disciplinary action or unresolved complaints they may have received.
You may also search out any professional organizations they may belong to, such as the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising. Check to make sure they have good reputations with these organizations and the legal community as a whole.
Request a free consultation with those on your short list. Ask them about their experience and the percentage of their cases that are franchise related and most recent case success. Discuss examples of successful cases as well as when they suggested against franchising. You want to determine whether they will have your best interests at heart or whether they are too pro-franchising.
You also need to understand their fee structure, whether it is flat or hourly. Check their firm size and the available resources of the firm. Are all the legal professionals in the firm accessible, and what method of communication do they prefer?
Smooth the franchising process and avoid costly litigation by contracting a franchise lawyer early in your process.