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Thought Leaders

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Thought Leader

Thought Leaders Global Elite - Franchise 2021

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Anders Fernlund is lauded by peers as “a commercially oriented, excellent practitioner” who is “well known in Sweden as a great franchise lawyer and for having a good network in the industry”.

Questions & Answers

Anders Fernlund is the most experienced franchise lawyer in Scandinavia. He is head of the franchising and distribution law department at ASTRA law firm and a visiting researcher at the University of Stockholm. He holds a Ph.D. in franchise law and an MBA in finance. During his 35 years of practice, Fernlund has been strongly involved in the IBA (International Franchising Committee), the ICC (Task Force on Franchising), the EFF (Legal Committee) and is honorary member of the Swedish Franchise Association and honorary president of the EuroFranchise Lawyers.

What attracted you to specialise in franchise and distribution law?

Like most things in life it happened due to a coincidence. When I was a young law clerk in a district court in Sweden, we handled the first court case regarding franchise law in Sweden. The more I learned about this, the more specialised I became.

How does your position as a researcher and teacher at the University of Stockholm enhance the skills and knowledge you bring to private practice?

As a researcher you never leave an issue investigated only from one side. You always ask the question, “How does this look from the opposite angle?” By always reviewing all issues from both sides, I think I draft more sensible contracts and solve disputes in a more amicable way. As a researcher I also try to apply knowledge from other fields of law or from other jurisdictions when trying to solve a specific problem. Many practitioners do not take the time to make a voyage of discovery outside their comfort zone. By using comparative law, I can create better solutions to legal problems.

In your experience, how has covid-19 impacted the franchise and distribution space?

 As a lot of franchised business is in the retail trade, the hospitality trade, restaurants, hotels, etc., franchisees have ended up with empty stores and few customers. Many have, however, adapted to the new reality and converted portions of their sales to e-trade. 

How is the transition from retail trade to e-trade affecting your work and the franchise sector more broadly?

E-trade was not a natural ingredient in all franchise systems, so the first action was to adapt and align the franchise system and the contract to the new reality. In the future, as many customers have gotten used to shopping online, I think we will see a strong transition to e-trade and see brick and mortar shops more as showrooms rather than trading places.

What encouraged your recent move to ASTRA Advokater? How does it distinguish itself from the competition?

Again, a coincidence in life. My old firm was approached by colleagues from four other firms in Stockholm. After the first joint meeting, all of us realised that we could build a new good-sized, full-service business law firm with basic values and principles that appealed to all of us. We were tired of hierarchy, closed boundaries and solo actions. Instead we united around a program based on fairness, kindness and interactive attention to both clients and colleagues. 

How do you anticipate your practice will develop in 2021?

Our firm will probably grow with another 10 lawyers and we will continue to find ways to make access to law easier for our clients. We are developing and will present “package deals” to our clients to shorten the distance between client and lawyer. We will also present a product called “Our Legal Department” as a package for single corporate in-house attorneys in SMEs. This way the in-house lawyer will not be alone anymore but have access to all our lawyers as though they are part of the company’s in-house legal department.

What do you enjoy most about your role as a franchise lawyer?

I really enjoy connecting with the client when the franchise system is already developing to be able to have impact on the content of the franchise agreement. When this happens, we can avoid many built-in problems thanks to my experience. Building this trust and showing that I understand the business and not only the law, I can stay with the franchisor as their corporate lawyer for many years, handling all their legal business, with the help from all my colleagues at ASTRA.

What skills and traits do you encourage in the next generation of franchise lawyers?

A franchise lawyer must understand business and use the law as a tool to reach the best result for the franchise system. Franchising is a business model, not a legal vehicle, and in business you must understand the full situation and not only view a problem from a one-sided perspective. The franchise lawyer who tries to win short victories in single legal cases will not last long in the franchise trade. The only way a franchise system can prosper is if the franchisor is trustworthy and the franchisees are happy.

Global Leader

Franchise 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Anders Fernlund is lauded by peers as “a commercially oriented, excellent practitioner” who is “well known in Sweden as a great franchise lawyer and for having a good network in the industry”.

Biography

Anders Fernlund is the most experienced franchise lawyer in Sweden with over 35 years of service as legal counsel to most of the leading domestic and international franchise networks operating in Scandinavia.  On the international arena Anders can help adapting franchise systems and their legal documents to comply with EU law and national mandatory rules of the target country.

After studies in the USA, Anders attended Law school at the Stockholm University and later the Stockholm School of Economics and holds both a law degree (LL.M.) and a business degree (M.B.A.).  After years of practise, Anders returned to Law school and earned a Ph.D. on his dissertation Franchising – Friction between transnational business models and national legislation (2018). With one foot still in Academia, Anders is a part time visiting researcher at the Stockholm Centre for Commercial Law.

The focus for Anders is, however, still serving as legal counsel for franchise clients. He is the head of the Franchise and Distribution Team at ASTRA Law firm in Stockholm. ASTRA Law is a full-service business law firm with expertise in all fields necessary for business clients. Anders is also still engaged in the Swedish Franchise Association, where he is an Honorary Member after years of being the chair. He is also the Honorary President of the distinguished association Euro Franchise Lawyers. Anders is not a litigator but serves as mediator, arbitrator, or expert witness in franchise disputes.

Anders has published many books and articles on franchising and franchise law and is an appreciated speaker and lecturer at seminars and at universities.

National Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended
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