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Franchise Practice Group

en•tre•pre•neur – noun \ˌäⁿn-trə-p(r)ə-ˈnər, -ˈn(y)u̇r\ (1). a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money. (2). one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise

With the backing of a strong entrepreneurial business model, Howard & Howard attorneys fully understand the ins and outs of franchising.

Our franchising lawyers are experienced in assisting both start-up and mature franchisors with developing, licensing and protecting their franchise and distribution systems. As part of this practice, we counsel companies regarding the laws and regulations pertaining to franchising nationwide and assist them in creating their contracts, franchise disclosure documents, intellectual property rights and other critical operational documents.

Howard & Howard’s attorneys are skilled and versatile at navigating the challenges that arise for distributors in a variety of industries, having represented franchisors including retail stores, restaurants (including full-service, quick-service, and fast-casual restaurants), insurance brokers, business brokers, health businesses, gourmet food shops, real estate companies, wine/beer/alcohol distributors, electronics companies, senior care businesses, pet care businesses, professional services companies and auto care businesses.

When disputes arise, Howard & Howard franchise attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help guide our clients through every kind of legal proceeding. With our experience in franchise mediation, arbitration, and litigation, we understand the risks inherent in the relationship and work with our clients so that they can focus on brand and system growth. Our lawyers keep informed and abreast of new laws and court decisions that can impact the outcome of a dispute, and we use our experience and knowledge to help our clients make decisions that account for the variety of challenges that a franchise company will face.

Although we primarily represent franchisors, we have extensive experience in assisting franchisees and potential franchisees to understand the franchise disclosure document and franchise agreement and help them negotiate the contract, wherever possible.

Our lawyers are active in the franchise community, taking part in initiatives to shape and change franchise law in key legal jurisdictions, and have written for national publications and online resources on issues of franchise and distribution law as well as related service mark and intellectual property rights.

Our franchise attorneys provide strategic guidance and advice for clients in the following areas:

  • Structuring franchise systems
  • Preparing Uniform Franchise Disclosure Documents (UFDDs) and franchise agreements
  • Federal and state regulatory compliance
  • Responding to inquiry letters and formal investigations by state regulatory agencies
  • Identifying and resolving potential violations of franchise law and enforcement actions
  • Training franchise sales departments
  • Generating, protecting and advising on service mark and other intellectual property rights
  • Litigating, mediating, and arbitrating franchise disputes and intellectual property disputes
  • Negotiating and preparing supplier agreements
  • Representing prospective franchise purchasers and analyzing franchise agreements
  • Negotiating on behalf of prospective franchisees
  • Representing franchisors with I-9 compliance audits before Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Advising and assisting franchisors expanding into China and other foreign markets
  • Assisting owners of franchisees in obtaining immigration visas, including but not limited to, E2, direct EB-5, and permanent residency (“green cards”)