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Practical, creative advice for franchise businesses worldwide

For your franchise to succeed in a competitive market with changing regulatory requirements, you need sharp legal thinking and solutions-focused advice. We’re widely recognized as the world’s leading franchise practice and trusted advisors to the franchise community. We represent a wide range of brands, domestic and international, emerging and established. 

In the fast-evolving franchising industry, we provide insight and direction to help you deal with existing and new regulations. And we advise you on how to take advantage of the newest trends to achieve near-term goals, while creating the foundation for the long-term success of your franchise system.  

We provide leading advice to franchisors of all sizes. Franchise companies and their investors value our depth of knowledge and experience and rely on us to provide practical solutions to both ordinary and extraordinary issues. 

“DLA Piper has a deep roster of experienced subject matter experts who are extremely responsive and provide a strong level of service and support.”

Client, Chambers USA 2022

Our global reach means we advise on franchise laws throughout the world. And as one of the largest law firms in the world, we help with the full range of legal issues including trademark, real estate, employment, corporate, technology licensing, supply chain, patent and privacy law.   

Our clients operate in a wide range of industries, including food and beverage, hospitality and leisure, retail and fashion, technology, residential and commercial services, education, and professional services. We also represent private equity firms and family offices that invest in franchise companies, guiding them through the purchase and sale process, and advising on issues that arise as they manage their portfolio.   

We’ve played a leading role in shaping franchising policy and law for over 50 years. We’ve served as General Counsel to the International Franchise Association, the world’s largest franchise trade organization, since its inception and have helped draft legislation and regulations that protect the interests of our clients and the franchising industry as a whole. We’ve also represented clients in franchise litigation and arbitration proceedings that have set legal precedents.  

Whatever your goals, we’ll provide the insight, direction, and practical solutions your franchise business needs. 

Awards and recognition

We’re consistently ranked as one of the top franchise practices in the world. This includes top rankings in Chambers USA for 11 consecutive years and in Chambers Global for each of the five years that Chambers has ranked global practices.  

Experience

  • Franchise Counseling. We advise hundreds of clients, at every stage of development, on compliance with franchise registration and disclosure, business opportunity, franchise relationship, privacy, and employment laws. From advice related to marketing funds, supply chains, technology programs, and privacy programs, to managing the franchise registration and disclosure process, we have the knowledge and experience to manage any issue that arises within a franchise system.   
  • Franchise Disputes and Litigation. Our litigation team works side-by-side with our clients in dealing with everything from routine franchise relationship issues and contractual disputes to bet-the-company litigation. In addition to recent wins in joint employer and employee misclassification claims, our team has created precedents in state and federal courts relating to a wide variety of issues.   
  • M&A Transactions. We’ve served as special franchise counsel or primary deal counsel for private equity funds, institutional investors and founders on M&A transactions, including some of the largest and most significant transactions involving franchise companies. No other franchise practice of any law firm has advised on more transactions than we have over the past 25 years. The transactions we have worked on during the past 10 years have had a collective value exceeding USD25 billion. 
  • Cross-border Expansion. We pioneered the legal practice of international franchising, and continue to take a leading role in international franchise compliance and expansion for mature, global brands and emerging brands just beginning their international expansion, including US brands expanding worldwide and foreign brands entering the US market. With our global footprint and significant experience in cross-border franchising, licensing, distribution and JV transactions, we can support on all aspects of expansion. In the last year, our team has assisted clients in 50+ countries, advising on multiple transactions and matters for many of them.  
  • Joint Employer and Employee Misclassification. Joint employer and employee misclassification claims have been at the forefront of issues impacting franchisors in recent years. We’ve helped clients navigate uncertainty through comprehensive advice and planning, and defense in government investigations and third-party suits. Our team has been at the forefront of cutting-edge litigation, including obtaining judgments for Domino’s Pizza Inc. dismissing all employment, joint employer, fraud, franchise law and other claims brought by the New York Attorney General, and obtaining a decision for 7-Eleven holding that its franchisees are independent contractors and not employees. 
  • Whole Business Securitizations. Many larger franchise systems raise capital through whole business securitization transactions in which notes issued to investors are secured by a pool of income-generating assets, including franchise agreements. We have served as franchise counsel for franchise company issuers in a large percentage of securitizations since they were first introduced into the market 20+ years ago.   
  • Non-Franchise Distribution Systems. Our experience goes beyond traditional franchise programs, and we help both emerging and experienced brands develop and expand their non-franchise distribution systems. Our clients have included Foot Locker and Atmos apparel brands (internationally) and a variety of marketing and distribution programs in the US.  
  • Emerging Brands. Whether you are launching a franchise program or seeking to take one to the next level, we work with franchisors to create a foundation that is built for long-term success and growth. We create customized franchise programs, using our experience of working with some of the most significant global brands to develop programs that meet each client’s needs.  We advise clients through every step of the process, helping those starting out to avoid mistakes and helping those that are more established to identify and fix issues to maximize the potential of their systems.   

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