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Bret Lowell

Bret Lowell


Bret Lowell is an internationally recognized leader in franchise and distribution law, and has counseled and represented clients across a broad spectrum of industries, including restaurants and food service, car rental, hotel and motel, health care, financial services, high tech, real estate and retail.

Bret's experience includes extensive analysis as to whether arrangements constitute "franchises;" drafting and negotiating domestic and international franchise, distribution and license agreements; preparation and filing of disclosure documents; counsel and advice regarding the establishment and operation of franchise and distribution systems; counsel and advice regarding termination, transfer and renewal obligations; dispute resolution, including representation before federal and state government agencies; mediation; due diligence reviews and document preparation in connection with public offerings, mergers and acquisitions; and trademark and other intellectual property matters.

Bar admissionsDistrict of ColumbiaVirginia
  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center 1978
    Omicron Delta Epsilon
    Editor, American Criminal Law Review (1977 – 1978)
  • B.A., State University of New York 1975
    Phi Beta Kappa
    magna cum laude


Chambers USA

  • Band 2, Nationwide Franchising (2012 - 2023)
  • Chambers USA comments, "Bret Lowell is highly skilled in a range of matters, including franchise disclosures. He is experienced in a number of sectors, including retail, healthcare, and hospitality." Clients describe Bret as, "A leader in franchise law."

Chambers Global

  • Band 5, Global Market Leaders Franchising (2024)
  • Band 4, Global Market Leaders Franchising (2022 - 2023)
  • Band 3, Global Market Leaders Franchising (2021)
  • Band 3, Global-wide Franchising (2013 - 2015, 2019 - 2020)
  • Band 4, Global-wide Franchising (2016 - 2018)
Additional Awards

Bret has been listed in The International Who's Who of Franchise Lawyers, in The Best Lawyers in America and in Who's Who in America. BTI Consulting Group has named him a Client Service All-Star and Washingtonian magazine has named him one of the Best Lawyers in Washington. He was also listed in the 2005 – 2013 Who's Who Legal: The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, and named both a Virginia Super Lawyer and a Washington, DC Super Lawyer. Franchise Times has named him to its list of "Legal Eagles," the top 101 franchise lawyers in the US and Canada.

Insight Overview

Bret writes and speaks extensively on franchise-related topics in a variety of forums.


  • Franchisor Consolidations in a Post-Pandemic World, Franchise Law Journal (Summer 2020)
  • COVID-19 and Franchise Community Issues, Franchise Law Journal (Summer 2020)


  • Co-presenter, "Getting Your Franchise House Ready for Sale," Georgetown University, December 2, 2016 
  • Co-presenter, "Franchise Exit Strategies," International Franchise Expo in New York, June 17
  • Moderator, "New Techniques for Franchisee Financing," International Franchise Expo in New York, June 17
  • Moderator, ''When Franchisees Fight – Franchisor as Traffic Cop,'' IFA's 56th Annual Convention, San Antonio, Texas, February 22, 2016
  • Co-Presenter, ''Principles of Franchising,'' IFA's 56th Annual Convention, San Antonio, Texas, February 19, 2016
  • Speaker, "Getting Your Franchise House Ready for Sale," Georgetown University Franchise Management Certificate Program, Washington, DC (2014, 2015)
  • Moderator, "When Competitive Franchise Systems Merge: Opportunities & Pitfalls," 47th Annual IFA Legal Symposium, Chicago (May 2014)
  • Speaker, "New Techniques in Franchisee Financing" and "How to Sell a Franchisor," (2012, 2014, 2015)
  • Speaker, "The Future of Franchising: Mergers Acquisitions," Georgetown University, Franchise Management Program, Washington, DC (November 15, 2013)
  • Presenter, "Private Equity Deals Are Different," International Franchise Expo, New York (June 2012)
  • Speaker, "Private Equity and Its Focus On Franchising,” ACG InterGrowth 2013 (April 25, 2013)
  • Presenter, "Principles of Franchising," IFA Annual Convention (2007-2015)
  • Presenter, "How to Prepare for a Sale of My Company," IFA Annual Convention (2012, 2013)
  • Moderator, "New Techniques for Franchise Financing," and Presenter, "How to Sell or Buy a Franchisor," West Coast Franchise Expo, Anaheim, California (October 13, 2012)
  • Moderator, "Franchisor's Role in Franchisee Financing," and Presenter, "How to Sell or Buy a Franchisor," International Franchise Expo, New York (June 2012)
  • "Getting Your Franchise Rocket Ready to Launch," FranConnection 2012, National Harbor, Maryland (May 2012)

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Program Chair, 13th Annual Forum on Franchising 
  • Board of Editors, Law Journal Newsletters Franchising & Business Law Alert
  • Editor, Franchise Law Journal 
  • International Bar Association, Section on Business Law, International Franchising Committee
  • District of Columbia Bar Association, Antitrust, Trade Regulation and Consumer Affairs Division
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association, Licensing and Franchising Law Committees
  • Licensing Executive Society, Trademark Licensing Committee
  • Advisory Board, Rosenberg International Center of Franchising
  • Franchise Advisor, Franchise and Business Opportunities Committee, North American Securities Administrators Association, Washington, DC
  • Arbitrator, Franchise Arbitration and Mediation, Inc., Newport Beach, CA
  • Delegation Leader, Citizen Ambassador Program, International Franchise Delegation to the Far East
  • American Bar Association  
  • General Practice Section Franchise Law Committee, Chair (1989 – 1990), Vice Chair (1985-1992)
  • Antitrust Law Section, Franchising Committee
  • Business Law Section
  • Patent, Trademark and Copyright Law Section
  • Forum on Franchising, Immediate Past Chair (1995 – 1996), Chair (1992 – 1995), Governing Committee (1988 – 1992), Membership Chair (1988 – 1989)
  • International Franchise Association
  • Franchise Education and Research Foundation



+1 703 773 4242
(Work, Northern Virginia)