Franchise 2015: Analysis

We are pleased to present the 13th edition of Who’s Who Legal: Franchise. Our latest research identifies 425 leading individuals from 284 firms across 73 countries.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
North America
Lee Plave Plave Koch, Reston
Larry Weinberg Cassels Brock & Blackwell, Toronto
Ronald Gardner Jr Dady & Gardner, Minneapolis
Jonathan Solish Bryan Cave, Santa Monica
Philip Zeidman DLA Piper, Washington DC
Rupert Barkoff Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, Atlanta
Jennifer Dolman Osler Hoskin & Harcourt, Toronto
Andrew Loewinger Nixon Peabody, Washington DC
Erik Wulff DLA Piper, Washington DC
Michael Dady Dady & Gardner, Minneapolis
Mark Abell Bird & Bird, London
John Pratt Hamilton Pratt, Warwick
Chris Wormald Fieldfisher, London
Karsten Metzlaff Noerr, Berlin
Marco Hero PF&P Rechtsanwälte, Munich
Anders Fernlund Advokatfirman NOVA, Stockholm
Pascal Hollander Hanotiau & Van Den Berg, Brussels
Fabio Bortolotti Buffa Bortolotti & Mathis, Turin
Gilles Menguy GM Avocats, Paris
Martine de Koning Kennedy Van Der Laan, Amsterdam
Rest Of The World
Stephen Giles Norton Rose Fulbright, Melbourne
Penny Ward Baker & McKenzie, Sydney
Philip Colman MST Lawyers, Melbourne
Jorge Mondragón González Calvillo, Mexico City
Stewart Germann Stewart  Germann Law Office, Auckland
Srijoy Das Archer & Angel, New Delhi
Luiz Henrique O do Amaral Dannemann Siemsen Advogados, Rio De Janeiro
Joycia Young Clyde & Co, Dubai
Eugene Honey Adams & Adams, Johannesburg
Dominic Hui Ribeiro Hui, Shanghai

North America

DLA Piper has been “a champion of franchise law” since its inception. The firm’s extensive global network combines with its established expertise to employ the strongest international franchise law practice in the world. In the US alone the firm fields over a dozen market-leading practitioners. Philip Zeidman has been described as “the dean of franchise law” and “the pope of American franchising”. His status as “one of the best commercial franchise lawyers ever” is undisputed. Also in DC, Erik Wulff is regarded as “one of the best US lawyers for the global expansion of a brand”. Respondents report that he is “highly inventive and knows the industry inside-out”.

The Chicago office has the strongest bench. Stuart Hershman works with franchisors attempting to structure franchise programmes and expand their market share. Sources praise his “outstanding business sense” as well as his “wide-ranging and adaptable skillset”. Michael Brennan, former chairman of the Franchising Committee of the IBA, is recognised as “a preeminent figure” in the field. He is commended for his commercial advice to domestic and international franchisors. Norman Leon represents franchisors in a range of franchise disputes across the US. He is highly respected for his litigation practice, with peers claiming that he is “one of the best around”.           

In Reston, Bret Lowell is active in drafting and negotiating domestic and international franchise, distribution and licence agreements. He is recognised around the globe by his peers for “unsurpassed practical and legal insight into the international franchise market”. In Atlanta, Richard Greenstein is a transactional lawyer with decades of experience in franchising. He is “a superb dealmaker and very commercially astute”, according to sources.

The firm also receives a number of listings abroad. In London, Iain Bowler is global co-chair of DLA Piper’s franchise and commercial contracts group. He is praised for his “clear commercial foresight”. In Spain, Diego Ramos is “a good all-round practitioner” who provides “practical advice on the local market”. Michael Malloy is also recommended as “one of Russia’s strongest lawyers in this space”. 

Gray Plant Mooty is widely seen as “one of the very best franchising firms in the world” and it currently tops our listings in North America. The firm achieves eight listings in its Minneapolis headquarters alone. Max Schott II is “a lawyer famed for his expertise in this area”. He regularly counsels clients on structuring and managing domestic and international franchise programmes. Gaylen Knack has been “an integral force in the development of many major brands” and is well known for his “exceptional commercial aptitude”. Kirk Reilly is one of the best-known franchisor litigators in the country; he is described as a “tour de force” in disputes related to franchise relationships. Quentin Wittrock is a “notable” trial lawyer with an “enviable track record in franchise litigation”.   

The firm’s DC office is the seat of six listed practitioners. Carl Zwisler is “nothing short of a sensation”. He is “very knowledgeable in both US and international franchise law” and regularly employs innovative methods for expanding and implementing business strategies. The “excellent” Mark Kirsch is endorsed for his “creative approach” to franchise agreements and related commercial contracts. Peter Klarfeld is widely praised for his success representing major franchisors in disputes. He is a “wonderful litigator” and a “great intellect”, according to his peers. Robert Zisk has extensive experience in representing national franchisors in litigation with franchisees over a range of issues. One respondent noted, “He is able to call upon decades of experience and accrued knowledge in the heat of the moment.” 

Reston-based franchise law boutique Plave Koch has rapidly become a respected and established presence in the market, boasting an impressive array of clients ranging from start-ups to mature brands. Its founders are also two of the very best in the market. Lee Plave receives an unprecedented number of endorsements from across the globe. According to one source, “He is tuned into every single development in the franchise market and has all the right tools to ensure that franchisors are successful in their domestic and international expansion”. David Koch is also widely respected for his practice focusing on franchising, licensing, and supply chain transactions. He has been hugely influential in the development of a number of brands by virtue of his “comprehensive knowledge of franchise law and deep insight into market developments”. Alongside them, Leslie Curran is well known for providing “first-rate” advice to expanding franchisors both domestically and internationally. She is “very bright” and has “a fantastic understanding of what a client needs to succeed”. 

The highly reputed Minneapolis-based boutique Dady & Gardner specialises in representing franchisees, from multi-unit to single owner operations. Co-founders Ronald Gardner Jr and Michael Dady are considered by many peers to be “the ultimate franchisee lawyers in the US”. Gardner Jr is described as “a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom”, while another peer describes Dady as “an unbelievably strong and impressive advocate”. Jeffery Haff is also widely endorsed, having secured a number of significant decisions for franchisee clients over a “distinguished career”.  

Nixon Peabody has a strong domestic and international practice in this area. The firm’s dynamic team is at “the cutting edge” of brand protection and expansion. Co-team leader Arthur Pressman has over three decades’ worth of trial experience representing franchisors in highly complex disputes. Clients report that he is “a very effective advocate with exceptional presentation skills”. The “outstanding” Andrew Loewinger is a transactional lawyer dedicated to expanding brands in the US and abroad. He is “very well-informed and seems to have a limitless insight into the international franchising market”. Craig Tractenberg is the leader of the global disputes team and is active defending franchisors against claims by franchisees, as well as structuring new franchise programmes internationally. Peers are quick to praise him for his “highly effective and sophisticated counsel”.

Faegre Baker Daniels is “very well thought of” in franchising, with an emphasis on providing innovative solutions for both emerging and established franchisors. Brian Schnell is chair of the firm’s franchise group and has a “fantastic commercial practice”. He is “consistently able to connect with the client and get the best of out the brand”. William Killion focuses on representing franchisors in resolving franchisee claims. He is a “very successful” and a “noteworthy” trial lawyer. Sources praise his “quick-thinking, unremitting focus and strategic ability”. Alongside him, Kerry Bundy is also prominent in representing franchisors and “impresses in court”. She is “clever, tenacious and very popular among clients”, according to peers. 

Bryan Cave has a strong showing in our research with four listings, including one of the US’s most highly regarded franchise lawyers: Jonathan Solish. Solish has been recognised as one of the best franchisor litigators around for many years. He regularly exhibits “a daunting mix of raw ability, hard work and technical know-how”.

Chairman of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton’s franchise team Rupert Barkoff receives ringing endorsements from the franchise community for his “sensational” practice. He has been “a highly influential figure” throughout the development of US franchise law and remains “one of the country’s best practitioners”. One source noted that “he knows exactly what is needed to maximise the effectiveness of a franchise operation”.

Sotos is Canada’s leading franchise boutique and it is recognised both domestically and abroad for facilitating the development of both franchisees and franchisors. Founding partner John Sotos is one of the top lawyers in the country for structuring international and domestic franchise transactions. Peers describe him as “an excellent negotiator” and “one of the best franchise lawyers in Canada”. Allan Dick is “a great litigator” and has been highly active for both franchisees and franchisors in their disputes. Sources report that he is “highly perceptive” and “employs well-thought-out strategies to great effect”. Peter Viitre is highly recommended for his commercial franchise practice. He is “a great negotiator” and “a creative drafter”, according to respondents.

Cassels Brock & Blackwell is a “prominent name” in the Canadian franchise market, whose client list ranges from start-up franchisors to large multinational brands. The firm earns three listings, including Larry Weinberg: the “best franchise lawyer in the country”, according to large number of respondents. Weinberg is our two-time franchise lawyer of the year and is “truly excellent”. One respondent remarked, “What makes Larry so good is that he is perfectly harmonised with market developments; his advice is always right on the money.”

At Osler Hoskin & Harcourt, Jennifer Dolman is “Canada’s premier franchisor litigator”. She regularly represents domestic and international franchisors in their business disputes, including some of the highest-profile cases before the provincial and federal courts. She is “an incredibly skilled litigator and a superlative strategist”. The firm achieves a further two listings from its Toronto office.


Fieldfisher is “a fantastic source of dedicated franchise expertise” in Europe and abroad, and its practitioners receive worldwide endorsements. Chris Wormald, co-head of the franchise team, is an “immensely creative, knowledgeable and dependable” counsel to major national and international brands on their expansion into most parts of the world. Fellow co-head David Bond is widely viewed as “excellent” in this space. Peers and clients alike recommend him “without hesitation” for his “supportive and bespoke advice on expansion strategies”. The firm also boasts a strong franchise disputes team headed by Andrew Dodd, who handles complex international and domestic cases with “skill and authority”. 

Bird & Bird has a strong international franchising network centred on its impressive London office. Global head of the group Mark Abell is a very well-known and internationally respected franchise lawyer. One respondent noted that “his insightful and commercially astute advice is tailor-made to the needs of the franchisor”. Victoria Hobbs is regularly cited as “one of the very best franchise litigators in the country”. Graeme Payne is also highly recommended as “a rising star of international franchising”.

The firm also boasts the expertise of the “superb” Melissa Murray in the UAE. Head of the commercial practice in the Middle East, she regularly advises on expansion strategies into the region. She is known to provide “prompt, accessible and insightful advice for the client”.

John Pratt, founding partner of the franchise boutique Hamilton Pratt, is seen as “one of the top franchise lawyers in Europe”. One peer reported that he is “without question one of the most experienced and knowledgeable lawyers around”; other sources also admire the fact that he is “practical and very easy to work with”.

Noerr boasts five listings, including “the best franchise lawyer in Germany”, according to a large number of respondents. Karsten Metzlaff is “a genius” and “a standard bearer for how good a lawyer can be”. His popular practice advises on all aspects of franchising law, including international expansions and acquisitions.

The “brilliant” Marco Hero of PF&P Rechtsanwälte has a “superior knowledge of German and international franchising law”. Sources praise his “impressive” work on complex franchising contracts. He is joined by Reinhard Böhner.

Advokatfirman NOVA’s Anders Fernlund is “the first port of call in Sweden”, according to the majority of our sources. He is widely known and respected in the international market. Peers remark that he is “extremely intelligent, practical and responsive”.

At disputes boutique Hanotiau & van den Berg, the “splendid” Pascal Hollander is “in demand”. He is “a superb negotiator” and “a very well informed practitioner”.

Fabio Bortolotti of Buffa Bortolotti & Mathis is “the grandee of franchise and distribution law in Italy”. He is seen as “a vastly experienced and distinguished practitioner” who has had “a significant influence on franchise systems in Italy”. He is joined by Silvia Bortolotti who is also highly recommended in this field.

Gilles Menguy is the founder of the French franchise boutique GM Avocats. The firm has a very visible domestic and international presence in the market, having advised hundreds of start-ups and major brands on the setting up and strategic expansion of their businesses. Menguy is described as “a seasoned specialist” who “provides highly personalised and rounded advice to his clients”.

At Kennedy Van der Laan, Martine de Koning ranks highly in the Netherlands. She is described as “a very professional, hands-on lawyer with a shrewd understanding of franchise agreements”, according to peers.

Rest of the World

IP boutique Dannemann Siemsen Advogados is “hands down” the leading firm in Brazil for franchising. Head of the group Luiz Henrique do Amaral represents a number of major domestic and foreign franchisors and is “nothing short of exceptional”. His “knowledge of the Brazilian market is peerless”, according to sources. Cândida Ribeiro Caffé is known as “a senior figure in the market” and earns praise for his “strategic thinking”. Luciana Gonçalves Bassani is also noted for being “very good at drafting and negotiating franchise agreements”.

In Mexico, González Calvillo leads the way with four standout franchise lawyers. Jorge Mondragón is “extremely good”. He heads the firm’s franchising practice and provides “responsive and practical” advice to multinational and Mexican brands on all types of franchising, distributions and licensing transactions. Pablo Hooper Ramírez is praised for his “technical knowledge of franchise systems”; he is also said to be “very commercially oriented”.

Archer & Angel is the most widely recognised law firm for franchise expertise in India. Srijoy Das is marked out as “knowledgeable and easy to deal with” by peers, who add that “his expertise in structuring franchise agreements is certainly unsurpassed in India”. Akash Bhardwaj and Sanjay Chhabra are also leading practitioners in the country.

In Hong Kong, Dominic Hui of Ribeiro Hui is regularly recommended for his expertise advising on franchise transactions in the Greater China region. Peers note that “he is knowledgeable, responsive and very pragmatic.”

Australia is home to a number of prominent franchise lawyers. At “the top of list” is Stephen Giles of Norton Rose Fulbright. He has advised hundreds of franchisors, including leading international brands, on market entry and regulatory issues, contract negotiations and drafting, and corporate advice.

Baker & McKenzie has a strong international presence in our research, with seven listings in total. Penny Ward is the head of the firm’s Australia and Asia-Pacific franchise practice. She is seen as “a certain inclusion”, owing to her reputation as “one of the top three franchise practitioners in Australia” and “an unrivalled source of compliance and regulatory advice”.

Philip Colman, head of the disputes resolution team at MST Lawyers, is “Australia’s leading franchise disputes lawyer”, according to several respondents. For over three decades he has successfully handled landmark cases dealing with the franchisor/franchisee relationship. He is “incredibly knowledgeable and a sensational courtroom presence”. He is one of three lawyers recognised at MST.

Stewart Germann, founder of the eponymous franchise boutique Stewart  Germann Law Office, is “the outstanding offering in New Zealand”. Over three decades, he has “pioneered” franchise systems in the country through “superb commercial guidance”.

At Clyde & Co, Joycia Young receives the top ranking in the Middle East for her practice advising in the regional development of franchise rights throughout the Gulf, and wider Middle East and North Africa region. She is “very user-friendly and an excellent source of written and oral advice”, according to one respondent.

Adams & Adams is South Africa’s premier firm in franchising, with three market-leading practitioners. Eugene Honey features most pervasively in our research for his “excellent practice”; one source reports that “he really knows his stuff”, adding “he has a great appreciation of both the legal and commercial aspects behind each individual franchise agreement”.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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