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LeClairRyan's Franchise Industry Team is comprised of talented and respected attorneys who work hard to support the success of the firm’s clients. We understand the business needs of franchisors and franchisees and how to manage that dynamic relationship. The firm represents a broad cross section of entities in the franchise industry from start-up franchisors to established national and international brands, as well as area developers, multi-unit owners and others in the franchise industry. With a client list as diverse as the franchise industry itself, our team works hard to achieve maximum strategic advantages for our clients. Select team members also cover the gamut of issues in franchise and business law for the firm's blog, Franchise Alchemy.

Because we are a national law firm representing all types of businesses, our attorneys have a wealth of experience resolving the full spectrum of issues that can arise in the franchise industry.


On the business side, our attorneys counsel clients on franchise compliance. We draft franchise agreements and disclosure documents and handle state franchise registrations. We prosecute trademark applications and maintain the trademark portfolios of franchisors and other brand owners. We draft and negotiate international agreements for franchisors expanding abroad or entering the United States. For franchise developers and buyers, we review franchise offerings. We review and negotiate commercial leases. We form limited liability companies and corporations and provide securities counseling relating to our clients’ financings. We handle mergers and acquisitions of franchised businesses and franchise systems. And for our distribution clients we regularly document the supplier-distributor relationship, including distribution, license and supply agreements, for licensors, licensees, suppliers and distributors. We also provide a full range of employment-related services from the offer letter through employment agreements to immigration services. Our team is also assists clients in navigating the myriad regulations and requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Regardless of the matter at hand, we are singularly focused on delivering business solutions—not just legal strategies—for our franchise clients.


Our litigators have successfully represented franchisors in federal and state courts across the nation and in alternative dispute resolution proceedings and administrative proceedings. These disputes include franchisee and distributor terminations, breach of contract, unfair competition, encroachment, non-solicitation and noncompete issues. They also include bankruptcy issues relating to reorganizations and liquidations of franchisors, franchisees, critical vendors and suppliers, distributors, and licensors. These disputes also include trademark infringement and other intellectual property issues, labor and employment issues and other general commercial litigation.

Leaders in the Field

Attorneys on the LeClairRyan Franchise Industry Team are active members and leaders in the American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising, the International Franchise Association, other national trade associations and in state bar associations. Members of our team publish and speak on franchise law matters. They have also been recognized by Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in franchise and distribution law, by Franchise Times and by Who’s Who Legal as top franchise lawyers.

Representative Engagements

  • Advise national franchisors in restructurings of their franchise system
  • Represent franchisors as outside franchise counsel in preparing franchise agreements, FDDs, and assisting with franchise registrations, exemptions and disclosure compliance throughout the United States 
  • Serve as litigation counsel for franchisors in franchise disputes in courts and arbitrations throughout the United States
  • Representation of numerous trademark and service mark owners in connection with their national and international branding programs, and in the prosecution and maintenance of their trademarks and intellectual property rights
  • Representation of large national chains in connection with dealership and franchise matters, including terminations 
  • Represent numerous franchise clients in state administrative proceedings involving franchise terminations
  • Represent national franchisors in land use, leasing and acquisition matters related to operating convenience stores with gas stations
  • Represent national franchisors in drafting local ordinance and in complying with existing ordinances
  • Represent franchise clients in connection with lease of retail space and compliance issues
  • Advise franchisors on compliance matters relating to the Affordable Care Act (ACA)