Barry M. Heller

Barry M. Heller


Barry Heller is one of the firm's most experienced franchise litigation partners.

For over 35 years, Barry's practice has consisted almost exclusively of representing clients in franchise and distribution disputes throughout the country and internationally in litigation, arbitration and mediation.

Much of Barry's practice has focused on franchise termination matters, as well as on more complex franchise cases involving issues affecting the entire franchise system. He has handled cases involving, among other issues, termination, transfers, rights of first refusal, implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, alternative distribution channels, covenants against competition, trademark infringement, product sourcing and approval, advertising funds, acquisitions of other systems, antitrust and unfair competition. Barry has been involved in both domestic and international franchise matters. He has represented franchisors in actions involving individual franchisees, franchise associations, class actions, group actions, the Federal Trade Commission and suppliers.

Bar admissionsDistrict of ColumbiaVirginia
CourtsSupreme Court of the United StatesUnited States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth CircuitUnited States District Court for the District of ColumbiaUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of VirginiaUnited States District Court for the Western District of WisconsinUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of WisconsinDistrict of Columbia Court of AppealsSupreme Court of Virginia
  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center 1977
    Managing Editor, American Criminal Law Review (1976 – 1977)
    Taught Legal Writing and Research Seminar (1975 – 1976)
  • B.A., New York University 1974
    Phi Beta Kappa
    Justinian Honor Society
    summa cum laude (in three years)


  • Chambers USA
    Band 4, Nationwide Franchising (2016-2022)
  • Named an Acritas Star (2019-2021)

In every year since 2002, Barry has been listed in Who's Who Legal: The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers. In every year since 2006, he has been listed in every edition of The Best Lawyers in America. In every year since 2006, he has been named a Virginia Super Lawyer. In every year since 2007, he has been named a Washington, DC Super Lawyer. Barry was selected as one of the top 100 Franchise Legal Eagles by Franchise Times in 2004 as well as in every year since 2006. Barry was named in 2018 as Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year for Franchise Law in the DC/VA area.

Barry "is known for his representation of franchisors in disputes involving unfair competition, trademark matters and franchise terminations, among others. He is also considered to be an expert in alternative dispute resolution and mediation." Clients have said he "is a 'very thorough and hard-working litigator' who is 'very careful and prepares very well for everything.'" One client commented that Barry is "outstanding in preparation, responsiveness and performance both in and outside of the courtroom." Clients further describe Barry as "always available," "very solid, and very easy-going and gives clear guidance," and "has a keen understanding of our business and knows franchise law in and out."

Insight Overview

Barry has authored and lectured on franchise litigation issues, including conducting Legal Roundtable seminars in different cities for the International Franchise Association on franchise litigation matters. He was co-author of a manual entitled Franchise Litigation Claims of the Litigation Section of the District of Columbia Bar Association, for whom he conducted a seminar on the subject. Barry's numerous articles on franchise issues have appeared in such publications as The Franchise Lawyer, Franchise Legal Digest, Of Interest and the Franchise Law Journal.

As a founding member of the Steering Committee of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Division of the ABA's Forum on Franchising, he has participated in presentations concerning franchise litigation and dispute resolution at ABA conferences, including the ABA Annual Meeting. He was selected to lecture on franchise litigation in a seminar sponsored by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education.


  • Author, "Employee and Independent Contractor Classification: Still the Top Legal Issue in Franchising," Intellectual Property and Technology News, March 30, 2021
  • Editor, "COVID-19: Key Questions Franchisors Are Asking," FranCast, COVID-19 Alert, April 6, 2020
  • Co-Author, "Top Franchise Developments of 2019," Intellectual Property and Technology News, March 30, 2020
  • Author, "Top Franchise Developments of 2018," Intellectual Property and Technology News, April 11, 2019
  • Co-Author, "California Supreme Court Adopts Broad 'ABC' Test for Determining Employment Relationship," FranCast, May 11, 2018
  • Author, "Top Franchise Cases of 2017," Intellectual Property and Technology News, March 30, 2018
  • Author, "International Franchise Arbitration: Outside Counsel Perspective," International Arbitration: 21st Century Perspectives, October 2017
  • Co-Author, "Top Franchise Cases of 2016," Intellectual Property and Technology News, March 30, 2017
  • Author, "NLRB Blues? How To Avoid Being Viewed as a Joint Employer," Franchise Update Magazine, June 22, 2016
  • Co-Author, "Top Franchise Decisions: Two Standouts From 2015," Intellectual Property and Technology News, March 29, 2016
  • Co-Author, "Important Decisions in 2014," The Licensing Journal, May 2015
  • Author, "The Legal Issues When A Franchisor Operates Competing Systems," Inside Counsel, May 14, 2015
  • Co-Author, "Top Franchise Matters of 2014," Intellectual Property and Technology News, March 24, 2015
  • Editor, Antitrust Chapters "Must Seller Sell to Buyer" and "Must Seller Cease Selling to Buyer," Legal Aspects of Buying and Selling, published by Thomson Reuters (each year since 2015)
  • Author, "FDA’s New Menu Labeling and Vending Machine Requirements: 10 Key Answers for Food Businesses," FranCast, December 2, 2014
  • Co-Author, "Top Franchise Cases of 2013," Intellectual Property and Technology News, March 26, 2014
  • Co-Author, "Top Franchise Cases of 2012," Intellectual Property and Technology News, March 7, 2013
  • Co-Author, "Top Franchise Cases of 2011," Intellectual Property and Technology News, March 30, 2012


  • Co-Presenter, "Principles of Franchising," IFA's 61st Annual Convention, San Diego, California, February 26, 2022
  • Co-Presenter, "Principles of Franchising," IFA's 60th Annual Convention, Orlando, Florida, February 8, 2020
  • Presenter, "Understanding How Key Provisions of the Franchise Agreement Impact Your Business Decisions," IFE NYC, New York, New York, May 30, 2019
  • Top Franchise Cases of 2018 webinar, March 21, 2019
  • Co-Presenter, "Principles of Franchising," IFA's 59th Annual Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada, February 23, 2019
  • Top Franchise Cases of 2017 webinar, March 30, 2018
  • Co-Presenter, "Principles of Franchising," IFA's 58th Annual Convention, Phoenix, Arizona, February 9, 2018 
  • Top Franchise Cases of 2016 webinar, February 23, 2017
  • Co-Presenter, "Principles of Franchising," IFA's 57th Annual Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada, January 28, 2017
  • Moderator, "Vicarious Liability in Developing Areas: Damned If You Do and Damned If You Don't!," Miami Beach, Florida, November 3, 2016
  • Top Franchise Cases 2015 webinar, March 23, 2016
  • Co-Presenter, ''Principles of Franchising,'' IFA's 56th Annual Convention, San Antonio, Texas, February 19, 2016
  • Top Franchise Cases of 2014 webinar, March 24, 2015
  • Co-Presenter, "Principles of Franchising," IFA’s 55th Annual Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada, February 14, 2015
  • Presenter, "The Best of the Forum on Franchising: The 7 Most Significant Franchise Cases of All Time," ABA Forum on Franchising, February 4, 2015
  • Presenter, "Striving for a litigation proof franchise system," Best Ideas and Leadership Summit, August 8, 2014
  • Top Franchise Cases of 2013 webinar, March 19, 2014
  • Co-Presenter, "Principles of Franchising," IFA’s 54th Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 21, 2014
  • Speaker, "Economics and Policy of Franchising," Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, November 8, 2013
  • Presenter, "Principles of Franchise Management," IFA Annual Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada, February 17-20, 2013
  • Top Franchise Cases of 2012 webinar, February 28, 2013
  • Top Franchise Cases of 2011 webinar, February 22, 2012

Media Mentions

Media Mentions

Clerk Experience

  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Charles R. Richey, US District Court, District of Columbia (1977 – 1979)
  • Law Clerk to The Presidential Clemency Board, The White House (1975)

Additional Accomplishments

Barry has been honored with a CFE designation after completing the training program from the educational arm of the International Franchise Association, the Institute of Certified Franchise Executives.

Memberships And Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Former Director, Founding Member of the Steering Committee, Litigation and Dispute Resolution Division, ABA's Forum on Franchising



+1 703 773 4245
(Work, Northern Virginia)