Franchising can be an exciting endeavor. Whether you are expanding your business model with single-unit or multi-unit offerings or considering acquiring rights to develop and operate franchises, it is important to contain your enthusiasm before signing a franchise agreement – and never sign without counsel. The best way to protect yourself and reduce your exposure is by hiring a qualified NY Franchise lawyer.
When surrounded by misinformation and internet algorithms, it can be difficult to find the right franchise lawyer to represent you and your business. Let’s review four of the top traits a qualified franchise lawyer should possess.
1. Experience & Results
Many lawyers begin their careers working at firms to gain their experience. It would be extremely difficult to build a record of success or favorable outcomes without first being a boot on the ground. This is the common thread among many solo practitioners – they open their own office after years at other firms or as in-house counsel.
When you meet with your lawyer, ask about their career and the clients they have represented. They should be able to discuss, in general terms, the types of clients they have worked with and matters they have worked on without violating their duty of confidentiality. Knowledge and experience of franchise law and franchise legal matters should naturally be demonstrated when they detail their results.
2. Thought Leadership and Public Speaking
The days of simply having an office and sign to generate awareness are gone. Whether the lawyer works out of his or her home or a commercial office, they must also have an online presence and the occasional byline. This includes:
- A website and active profiles on social media. These platforms should include – at a minimum – the lawyer’s headshot, experience, practice areas and contact information. How they build out the rest of their content will vary, but their website and posts on social media should offer some sense of who they are, their values, and the types of matters they accept.
- Thought Leadership. E-books, blog posts and articles demonstrate that the lawyer is a subject matter expert who is well-informed and willing to educate and engage with their clientele and other audiences. These writings (in print or online) provide readers with detailed insight on the subject matter – from new or updated laws and trends to unique circumstances in the field.
- Public Appearances. Participating on a webinar or podcast is a great way to get an overall feel of the lawyer, since he or she will have to demonstrate their knowledge, experience and their personality. The same is especially true for any in-person lecture or panel discussion, at venues like conferences, summits and educational events.
3. Strong Professional Network
Franchising is a relationship-driven industry, and a franchise lawyer should have connections in multiple jurisdictions and practice areas. This will prove useful when facing legal challenges that relate to the clients’ business operations.
In tandem with Quality #1, lawyers who have experience in the field will often have crossed paths with those on the other side of a transaction and leverage that relationship to help ensure a smooth negotiation. Ask your lawyer if he or she is a member of:
- Local and/or state bar associations
- The American Bar Association
- Industry organizations
These groups are devoted to the advancement of the legal profession and most have committees and forums dedicated to practice areas such as franchising. The attorney’s membership and active participation is a sign they have their ear to the ground.
4. Positive Reputation
Franchisors and franchisees understandably want a fighter who will protect their interests. Assertiveness is necessary at times – and it makes for memorable legal dramas – but a lawyer who cannot tackle common issues or present creative solutions will make the franchising process tedious.
This is why peer reviewed publications like Best Lawyers will always be valuable resources for those seeking legal counsel. Attorneys included in such publications must be held in high regard by their peers in the profession and meet high standards of ethics and professionalism. Google Reviews are also useful, though be sure to view more than just the number of stars.
Though the above is not an exhaustive list, these four qualities should stand out when seeking a NY Franchise Lawyer.
Contact Lusthaus Law
Lusthaus Law has a long history of guiding franchisors and franchisees through the franchising process. Contact us today to learn more about how Lusthaus Law P.C. can help you navigate a clear path for your franchise’s successful future.