If you’re ready to take the next step and turn your business into a franchise, then you’ll have little choice but to work with a franchise attorney. Franchises are very complex structures, and only a competent lawyer will be able to make sure that your interests are protected and that your business expansion plans are a success. However, unless you already have someone in mind, sifting through the thousands and thousands of attorneys available in order to find one can be a challenge. Here are some of the things you should be looking for when searching for a good franchise attorney.
The first and most important thing is finding out what kind of expertise the lawyer has in business and franchise law. But you have to know exactly in what areas of franchising they actually have experience. For instance, some franchise lawyers may be familiar with franchise agreements, but not with drafting franchise disclosure documents, which are not only essential for franchisors but necessary for compliance as well.
Some other lawyers might have more experience dealing with franchisees than franchisors. Those could actually have a more pro-franchisee optic, which may not be the best for you. The goal is to find franchisor attorneys who’ve worked extensively on the franchiser side and will be able to walk you through the steps to franchise, what you can expect and give you advice to make sure that you get the best out of your agreements.
Chances are you’ll need to talk to them often during the franchising process, so you have to make sure that the lawyer you decide to go with will be able to answer your questions. Note that if you’re going with a big firm, chances are a lot will be handled by associates, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Large firms have a lot of resources, and some in their team may be more qualified to work on certain aspects. It’s important, however, that you can always get in touch with someone who knows you and can give you the information that you need.
The transactional aspect is all that has to do with the documents forming the franchise. This is why any lawyer you’re going to go with will have to either have transactional experience themselves or in their team. However, it would be wise to work with someone who has litigation experience too. The reason for this is that franchisor vs franchisee disputes are common and working with someone who’s familiar with your franchise and also has litigation experience might come in handy if you get sued by one of your franchisees.
Turning into a franchise is serious business, and you’ll need to have someone who knows what they’re doing in your corner if you don’t want to deal with negative consequences. Make sure that you take the time to vet potential candidates thoroughly, and that they have your and your business’s best interest in mind.
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