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Norman M. Leon

Norman M. Leon


Norman Leon has over 30 years’ experience representing franchisors in federal and state courts and alternative dispute resolution forums throughout the United States.

Characterized by his clients as a “superb litigator,” Norman has extensive experience defending putative class actions, especially those seeking to hold franchisors liable as joint employers of their franchisees’ employees. Norman also has significant experience with claims that franchisees have been misclassified as independent contractors, having successfully defended against such claims, both through motion practice and at trial. 

Norman is particularly experienced in enforcing arbitration agreements. He has successfully defended the validity of arbitration agreements, and the requirement that arbitration proceed on an individual basis, in district courts around the country, in four different federal appellate courts, and before the United States Supreme Court. 

Norman also has extensive experience dealing with franchisee terminations and the enforcement of post-termination covenants, and regularly prosecutes motions for temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions.

Bar admissionsIllinoisNew York
CourtsUnited States Court of Appeals for the Seventh CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the First CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Fourth CircuitUnited States District Court for the Southern District of New YorkUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of New YorkUnited States District Court for the Northern District of IllinoisUnited States District Court for the District of ColoradoUnited States District Court for the Northern District of IndianaUnited States District Court for the Western District of MichiganSupreme Court of the United StatesUnited States Court of Appeals for the Second CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Third CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Sixth CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit


Selected Decisions
  • Blanton v. Domino’s Pizza Franchising LLC, 962 F.3d 842 (6th Cir. 2020)
  • Hyatt Franchising, LLC v. Shen Zhen, 876 F.3d 900 (7th Cir. 2017)
  • Richardson v. Coverall North America, Inc., 2020 WL 2028523 (3rd Cir. 2020)
  • Silva v. Domino’s Pizza LLC, 2022 WL 385527 (9th Cir. 2022)
  • 859 Boutique Fitness, LLC v. CycleBar Franchising, LLC, 669 Fed. Appx. 457 (6th Cir. 2017)
  • Awuah v. Coverall North America, Inc., 703 F.3d 36 (1st Cir. 2012)
  • Zeidler v. A&W Restaurants, Inc., 2007 WL 528921 (7th Cir. 2007)
  • Perry v. Meredith Corp. and GMAC Home Services, Inc., 77 Fed. Appx. 128 (4th Cir. 2003)
  • Zeidler v. A & W Restaurants, Inc., 301 F.3d 572 (7th Cir. 2002)
  • KKW Enterprises, Inc. v. Gloria Jean’s Gourmet Coffees Franchising Corp., 184 F.3d 42 (1st Cir. 1999)
  • Avon Hardware Co. v. Ace Hardware Corp., 998 N.E.2d 1281 (Ill. App. Ct. 2013)
  • Haitayan v. 7-Eleven, Inc., 2021 WL 4078727 (C.D. Cal. 2021)
  • People of the State of N.Y. v. Domino’s Pizza, Inc., Case No. 450627/2016 (N.Y. Supreme Court 2021)
  • Patel v. 7-Eleven, Inc., 2022 WL 4540981 (D. Mass. 2022)
  • Patel v. 7-Eleven, Inc., 2020 WL 3303003 (N.D. Ill. 2020)
  • Willock v. Hilton Domestic Operating Co., 474 F. Supp. 3d 938 (M.D. Tenn. 2020)
  • 7-Eleven, Inc. v. Spear, 2011 WL 2516579 (N.D. Ill. 2011)
  • Lockhart v. Home-Grown Indus. of Georgia, Inc. d/b/a Mellow Mushroom, 2007 WL 2688551 (W.D.N.C. 2007)
  • J.K.P. Foods, Inc. v. McDonald’s Corp., 420 F. Supp. 2d 966 (E.D. Ark. 2006)
  • Gingiss Owners Ass’n, Inc. v. Gingiss Group, Inc., 2003 WL 22118929 (N.D. Ill. 2003)
  • Quizno’s Corp. v. Kampendahl, 2002 WL 1012997 (N.D. Ill. 2002)
  • J.D., Brooklyn Law School 1992
    Comments Editor, Brooklyn Law Review
    Member, Moot Court Honor Society
  • B.A., Boston University 1988


  • Chambers USA
    Band 1, Nationwide Franchising (2021-2023)
    Chambers USA comments, "Norman Leon acts for franchisors on disputes, appearing in state and federal courts. He is noted for his exceptional handling of putative class action lawsuits, particularly misclassification disputes." Clients say, "Norman is a superb litigator with a keen focus on practical business solutions."
    Band 2, Nationwide Franchising (2019-2020)
    Band 3, Nationwide Franchising (2015-2018)
    Band 4, Nationwide Franchising (2013-2014) 
  • Law360 Employment MVP (2020)
  • The Legal 500 United States
    Recommended, Labor and Employment Disputes (Including Collective Actions): Defense (2019-2021)
  • Selected for inclusion in The International Who's Who of Franchise Lawyers, which described him as "one of the best franchisor litigators in the country"
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America every year since 2006
  • Repeatedly designated an Illinois Super Lawyer as the result of research projects conducted jointly by Law & Politics and Chicago magazines
  • Recognized by his peers as a Leading Lawyer in Franchise and Distributorship law
  • One of a select group of lawyers in the US named to the BTI Client Service All-Star Team for Law Firms, which recognizes lawyers who deliver "the best client service" to Fortune 1000 clients (2014)


  • Speaker, Judicial Update: Joint Employment and Misclassification, International Franchise Association Legal Symposium (May 2022)
  • Speaker, "Independent Contractor of Employee? The Current State of the Ever-Changing Law and its Impact on Franchising," The 43rd Annual ABA Forum on Franchising (October 27-30, 2020)
  • Speaker, "Navigating AB5: What Franchisors & Franchisees Need to Know Right Now," IFA Annual Convention (2020)
  • Speaker, "New Fees, Same Work – Preparing and Responding to Alternative Fee Arrangements," The 40th Annual ABA Forum on Franchising, California (October 18 - 20, 2017)
  • Speaker, "Labor/Employment Law Collides with Franchise Law…Holy Cow! Where Are We Going?," IFA Legal Symposium, Chicago (May 3-5, 2015)

Media Mentions

Civic and Charitable

  • Former Board Member, Greater Chicago Food Depository

Memberships And Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • ABA Forum on Franchising