Franchise 2018: Analysis

In this year’s edition of WWL: Franchise, we shine the spotlight on 521 eminent franchise lawyers. The individuals listed below have been recommended for their experience advising franchisors and franchisees alike in complex matters relating to franchise agreements, system structuring, strategic expansion, IP matters and disputes.


Who's Who Legal does not list law firms, only individual lawyers. The leading firms are those in each region whose listed practitioners received the most total nominations in our research. We highlight individuals at other firms who also scored very highly in our research.
The Thought Leaders are those individuals who received the highest number of nominations from peers, corporate counsel and other market sources this year. Our research has identified them as being truly outstanding practitioners and the very best in their field.


North America

Global Elite Thought Leaders
1. Lee Plave Plave Koch PLC, Reston
2. Larry Weinberg Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, Toronto
3. Rochelle Spandorf Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Los Angeles
4. Jonathan Solish Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, Santa Monica
5. Susan Grueneberg Snell & Wilmer LLP, Los Angeles
6. Philip Zeidman DLA Piper, Washington, DC
7. Ann Hurwitz Baker McKenzie, Dallas
8. Andrew Loewinger Nixon Peabody LLP, Washington, DC
9. David Koch Plave Koch PLC, Reston
10. Stuart Hershman DLA Piper LLP, Chicago
11. Deborah Coldwell Haynes and Boone LLP, Dallas
12. Carl Zwisler Gray Plant Mooty, Washington
13. Rupert Barkoff Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, Atlanta
14. Jennifer Dolman Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Toronto
15. Erik Wulff DLA Piper, Washington, DC
16. Peter Snell Gowling WLG, Vancouver

Leading Firms

DLA Piper

This global heavyweight firm achieves 17 listings.
Philip Zeidman has been a prominent fixture at the forefront of the US franchise market for many years. Peers say, “He has always been one of the best lawyers out there,” and observe that “his depth of knowledge and insight are unmatched”.
Stuart Hershman stands out as “a very sharp, creative and practical lawyer”. He boasts extensive knowledge of franchise law, and “is as well versed as anyone can ever get” in the field.
Erik Wulff has a strong global practice encompassing commercial and strategic franchising advice. One market commentator tells us, “If I needed to refer a franchisor to a regulatory or transactional lawyer, I would always suggest Erik.”

Gray Plant Mooty

This full-service corporate law firm sees 17 leading lawyers listed here.
The “excellent” Carl Zwisler is well known for his impressive international practice. He is skilled in drafting and executing franchise agreements spanning multiple jurisdictions and is a go-to lawyer for complex mandates.
Gaylen Knack is a trusted adviser to major franchisors and is regularly engaged to provide counsel on a broad range of franchise and distribution matters. He is highlighted as an “outstanding” lawyer who is “very well known” for his top-quality work in the space.
Jan Gilbert comes highly recommended by peers and clients alike. According to one market commentator, “He is thorough and extremely knowledgeable, and provides a superior service. He knows how to communicate with clients and how to get things done in a timely fashion.”

Plave Koch

This premier franchise firm achieves seven listings in this year’s research.
Lee Plave is one of the most highly nominated individuals in this year’s research and is “a great person to deal with”, according to peers. Sources add, “His advice is orientated around the business background of the franchise relationship – he focuses on the relationship, rather than just the agreement.”
David Koch is a prominent figure in the international franchise arena. Market commentators praise him as “a top-notch lawyer,” and speak highly of his sophisticated, commercial advice.
Leslie Curran is another leading light at the firm and is highlighted as “a very dedicated and thoughtful counsellor”. She advises on relationship structuring and compliance in both domestic and international franchise arrangements.

Cassels Brock & Blackwell

Five lawyers from this eminent Canadian firm are listed here.
Larry Weinberg leads the Canadian market in this year’s research. Peers describe him as “a smart and knowledgeable” adviser who is “a notch above the rest” in franchising and licensing matters.
Geoffrey Shaw is a prominent expert in franchise disputes. He stands out as “a very experienced litigator” with a strong class action defence practice.
Frank Robinson has a strong commercial practice and deep expertise in franchise and distribution law. He is a go-to adviser who comes highly regarded for his expert advice on “business-critical franchise work”.

Nixon Peabody

This global law firm is home to five highly regarded franchise lawyers.
Andrew Loewinger is a leading light in the US market. He draws praise as “a very knowledgeable lawyer” and enjoys an excellent reputation for his “strong international practice”.
Arthur Pressman is widely endorsed as “an excellent lawyer” with a premier mediation practice. He has extensive experience in the field and is a trusted mediator in sophisticated franchise disputes.

Osler Hoskin & Harcourt

This premier commercial law firm is a strong player in the Canadian market and sees three lawyers listed here.
Jennifer Dolman draws praise as “one of the best” franchise lawyers in Canada. She is highlighted as “a very experienced litigator” who is regularly engaged to advise franchisors on sensitive disputes.
Dominic Mochrie is recommended as “a very good and thorough expert” in franchise and distribution matters. He advises a broad range of clients on franchise establishment and strategic operational matters and enjoys an excellent reputation for his work in the space.
Andraya Frith is a very highly regarded lawyer in Canada, where she is highlighted as “a pre-eminent practitioner” for her advice on an array of complex matters.

Quarles & Brady

Six lawyers from this first-rate business law firm are listed here.
John Dienelt stands out as “a very elegant lawyer” who possesses “great experience and brings a lot of intellect and insight to his practice”. Sources call Dienelt “a national-class litigator.”
David Beyer is highlighted as “an excellent lawyer” with broad experience in franchise law. He advises major clients on franchise structuring and distribution matters and agreements and is well known for his top-quality work in the space.

Baker McKenzie

This international firm scores four listings in the region.
With extensive experience in domestic and international franchise structures, Ann Hurwitz is a go-to lawyer in Texas and is widely regarded as “one of the best franchise attorneys in the world”.
Will Woods advises franchisors in US and international matters and is well known as “a star lawyer” with many large global clients, who trust him for “practical and high-end advice”.

Dady & Gardner

Seven lawyers from this specialist firm, focusing on representing franchisees, are listed here.
Ronald Gardner Jr comes highly regarded as “an excellent and greatly respected litigator”. He represents franchisees in complex disputes and impresses peers with “his ability to interact with franchisor counsel in a way that is greatly beneficial to his clients”.
J Michael Dady stands out as “a top franchisee litigator”. He has extensive experience advising clients on business-critical matters and is described as “an institution” of the US franchise market.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

This firm achieves six listings from its Santa Monica office.
Jonathan Solish is a leading figure in the US market with more than 40 years’ experience in law. Peers say, “He is a terrific lawyer,” and highlight his first-rate litigation practice which has featured many high-profile cases.
Kenneth Costello has enjoyed a distinguished career in franchising law. He draws praise as “an excellent and very highly respected” practitioner with deep expertise in licensing and branding matters.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton

This international firm achieves five listings spanning three of its US offices.
Long-standing practitioner Rupert Barkoff is endorsed as “the guru of US franchising” for his extensive expertise in franchise registration and structuring matters.
Christopher Bussert stands out to clients for “his extensive knowledge of franchise and IP matters”. They add, “He digs in to the business, gives excellent legal advice and is a skilled litigator.”

Other Leading Individuals


Peter Snell is a leading light at Gowling WLG in Ontario, where he enjoys an excellent reputation for his expertise in Canadian franchise legislation. Peers hold him in high esteem as “a very famous and knowledgeable” franchise lawyer.

Dickinson Wright’s Edward Levitt is widely regarded as “one of the best” practitioners in the Canadian market and draws praise as “a leading commercial adviser”.

At Dale & Lessmann, Chad Finkelstein impresses peers and clients alike with “his detail-oriented approach and his ability to take complex and specialist matters and communicate them effectively and concisely”. Impressed sources add, “He can answer any Canadian legal issue.”

At Sotos, founding partner John Sotos stands out as “an excellent lawyer who represents major clients”. Peers say, “He is one of the leading names,” in the market and is well known for his expertise in complex transactions and disputes.


Rochelle Spandorf is a “standout” name at Davis Wright Tremaine in Los Angeles. She comes highly recommended by peers and clients alike, who praise her “excellent regulatory work” and strong corporate and negotiation skills.

Cozen O'Connor’s Susan Grueneberg comes highly regarded as “a leader in state bar and franchise matters”. She is commended as “a truly excellent” franchise law attorney.

At Haynes and Boone in Dallas, Deborah Coldwell stands out as “a first-rate franchise litigator”. She is regularly engaged to advise on business-critical disputes and her vast litigation experience spans a broad range of sectors.

Beata Krakus is highlighted as “a very well-known lawyer” at Greensfelder Hemker & Gale. Peers describe her as a “fantastic” practitioner who is recommended for her experience working with clients in operations around the world.

David Oppenheim is a “standout lawyer” at Greenberg Traurig. He advises on US and international franchise matters and is widely considered to be “an immediate go-to” for sophisticated advice in the space.

At Faegre Baker Daniels, Brian Schnell impresses peers with his deep knowledge of franchise law and is a prominent name in the space, both on a domestic and international level. Schnell draws praise from interviewees as “a terrific adviser”.



Global Elite Thought Leaders
1. John Pratt Hamilton Pratt, Warwick
2. Karsten Metzlaff Noerr LLP, Berlin
3. Mark Abell Bird & Bird, London
4. Marco Hero Schiedermair Rechtsanwälte, Frankfurt
5. Silvia Bortolotti Buffa Bortolotti & Mathis – Studi Legali Associati, Turin
6. Martine de Koning Kennedy Van der Laan, Amsterdam
7. Chris Wormald Fieldfisher, London
8. Olivia Gast Gast Avocats, Paris
9. Babette Märzheuser-Wood Dentons, London
10. Pascal Hollander Hanotiau & van den Berg, Brussels

Leading Firms

Bird & Bird 

A leading franchise firm in the region that achieves seven listings from its London, Helsinki, Dubai and Madrid offices.
Mark Abell leads the firm’s global team and draws praise as “an absolutely excellent” franchise lawyer. Peers say, “He is a very prolific writer in the field and is very knowledgeable on franchise law.”
Graeme Payne draws praise as “a very well-known and intelligent professional”. He offers “absolutely superb” franchise advice to clients from the retail, food and beverage and services sectors.
Victoria Hobbs is a prominent figure in the London market. She enjoys an excellent reputation for her expertise in complex franchise and licensing disputes and is regularly engaged to advise clients form the retail and hotel sectors, among others.
In the UAE, Melissa Murray stands out for her deep expertise in Middle Eastern franchise systems. She is a go-to adviser to major corporate clients in the region.


Seven lawyers from this top European Law firm are listed here.
Karsten Metzlaff is widely endorsed as “one of the best” franchise lawyers in the region. He has an excellent reputation for his strong international practice advising German and international clients.
Natalya Babenkova is a prominent figure in Russia, where she stands out for “her breathtaking written work” and her “user-friendly approach”.

Buffa Bortolotti & Mathis

This firm has a strong presence in Italy and sees two lawyers listed here.
Silvia Bortolotti is a well-known expert in franchise and distribution contracts. Market commentators describe her as “a very big name” in Italy, and someone they “would go to in an instant”.
The “excellent” Fabio Bortolotti stands out as a knowledgeable and “highly experienced franchise lawyer” with broad expertise in franchise and distribution matters.


Six lawyers from this pan-European law firm are highlighted in this year’s edition.
David Bond is highlighted as “an excellent lawyer” who impresses peers and clients alike with his “great advice” on strategic franchise management issues.
Gordon Drakes is widely regarded as “a standout name” in the UK market. Peers speak highly of his expertise in franchising and distribution matters and comment that he is “excellent on investment matters”.
Peers speak highly of Jordi Ruiz de Villa's "deep knowledge" of franchise law, which "enables him to quickly understand and provide successful solutions for each case".

Hanotiau & van den Berg

This specialist arbitration boutique sees two lawyers listed here.
In Brussels, Pascal Hollander is well known as “a class A franchise lawyer” who is “extremely good” on a wide array of franchise and distribution matters.
Pierre Vermeire is a distinguished practitioner who impresses peers and clients alike with his “extensive and very detailed knowledge of the law on commercial agency agreements”.

Buse Heberer Fromm

Two Germany-based lawyers from this commercial law firm are featured here.
Dagmar Waldzus is a go-to adviser to leading franchisors. She is “very well known” for her expertise in establishing, structuring and managing franchise systems.
Jasper Hagenberg is a highly regarded franchise lawyer with broad commercial experience and deep knowledge of IP law. He is recommended by sources as a trusted adviser to national and international franchisors alike.

Other Leading Individuals


At Plesner, Jacob Ørskov Rasmussen stands out as “a commercially orientated and responsive lawyer” and earns plaudits for his “impressive knowledge of franchise law and his commitment to the assignments”.


Hamilton Pratt founder John Pratt leads the UK market in this year’s research. Peers describe him as “one of the champions in franchising” and further highlight him as “a top lawyer in England, and in the world”.

Stevens & Bolton’s Nicola Broadhurst “knows her stuff” and enjoys “an excellent reputation” for her first-rate practice, which encompasses franchise expansion and development matters.

Chris Wormald of Chris Wormald Associates is a distinguished adviser and “a clear leader” in the field. He is described as “the first address for franchisors” by peers, who speak highly of his “long-standing experience” in franchise law.

Dentons’ Babette Märzheuser-Wood is well known as “one of the leading franchising lawyers in the world”. She impresses peers with her technical expertise and is described as “an inspiration for all franchise lawyers”.


Olivia Gast, independent practitioner at Gast Avocats, enjoys an excellent reputation in the French market. Market commentators say, “She is very prominent in the franchise sector,” and, according to one effusive source, she “disproves the presumption that all good lawyers are in big firms”.


Schiedermair Rechtsanwälte’s Marco Hero is well known as a “very responsive and commercial” lawyer who is “by far the most sought-after franchise lawyer in Germany right now”, say peers.


Francesca Romana Turitto is a leading light at Roma Legal Partners. She is celebrated as an “excellent” practitioner who stands out for her commercial expertise and experience working with domestic and international franchise systems.


At Kennedy Van der Laan, Martine de Koning stands out for her “quick, professional and straightforward advice”. She has an excellent reputation among peers and clients, who speak highly of her technical legal knowledge.

Tessa de Mönnink is a leading light at De Grave De Mönnink Spliet. She is an expert in commercial contracts and impresses clients with “her ability to combine legal matters with business interests and provide really helpful suggestions”.


Sergey Medvedev at Gorodissky & Partners is widely regarded as “an outstanding lawyer” in the field. He is a highly experienced practitioner and, according to peers, “Clients are always very happy with the support he provides.”


Garrigues’ Rocio Belda de Mergelina is “a very well-known franchise expert”. She has a strong commercial focus and is well versed in a broad range of transactional and contractual matters.


At Advokatfirman Nova, Anders Fernlund is commended as “a really excellent franchise lawyer”, by peers, who widely regard him as “the top franchise lawyer in Sweden” for his excellent client relationships and deep industry expertise.


Streichenberg Attorneys at Law’s Christoph Wildhaber is “the go-to expert” on complex franchise mandates in Switzerland. He has a well-developed international practice and is praised by market commentators as “really responsive” in his work.



Global Elite Thought Leaders
1. Stephen Giles Norton Rose Fulbright, Melbourne
2. Philip Colman MST Lawyers, Melbourne
3. Iain Irvine KHQ Lawyers, Adelaide
4. Srijoy Das Archer & Angel, New Delhi
5. Penny Ward Baker McKenzie, Sydney

Leading Firms

MST Lawyers 

This commercial law firm sees three regional experts listed here.
Philip Colman is a leading lawyer in Australia who is held in high esteem by peers and clients alike. Sources speak highly of his “excellent knowledge of franchise law and practice, business law and commercial litigation”, adding: “His advice is always clear, and he has a practical approach to problem-solving.”
John Sier is “a very highly recommended practitioner” with a stellar reputation for his vast experience in franchise and distribution matters. He is a go-to adviser to major clients from around the world and is a well-known expert in international franchise expansion.
The “excellent” Raynia Theodore is a prominent figure in Australia who is held in high esteem for her first-rate advice to a broad range of brands and franchisors.

Archer & Angel

This full-service Indian firm achieves three listings.
Srijoy Das is widely regarded as “the go-to franchise lawyer in India”. He leads the franchise practice at the firm and is very well known for his sophisticated structuring advice for multinationals entering the Indian market.
Akash Bhardwaj is a prominent figure in the market. He enjoys a superb reputation among peers and clients, who say, “He is very knowledgeable and responsive, and an excellent strategist.”
Sanjay Chhabra is a highly regarded franchise lawyer with an excellent reputation for his high-quality advice and extensive experience in the space.

Norton Rose Fulbright

This firm is a strong player in the region and sees two lawyers listed here.
Stephen Giles stands out as “a top franchise lawyer in Australia”. He is an expert in franchise agreements and pricing matters, and is “a notch above” others in the market, according to peers.
The “excellent” Nigel Jones has first-class dispute resolution practice and is widely regarded as a leading franchise litigator in Australia.

Baker McKenzie

This firm is home to two esteemed franchise lawyers.
Senior counsel Penny Ward is lauded as “a key player” in the Australian market and “a very strong lawyer in the franchise space”. She is particularly well regarded for her work in the telecoms and broadcasting space.
Manh Hung Tran stands out for his experience assisting major brands to enter the Vietnamese market. According to one lawyer, “He is the best local counsel I’ve ever worked with. He is phenomenal and provides great responses.”

KHQ Lawyers

This commercial boutique achieves two listings in this year’s research.
Iain Irvine boasts broad expertise in international franchising matters. He comes “highly recommended for franchise work” and is well known for his “excellent support and responsive” client service.
Peter Buberis is commended for his deep industry knowledge and sophisticated expertise in franchising. Commentators add, “He is excellent with clients.”

Other Leading Individuals


Ribeiro Hui’s Dominic Hui is described as “the best franchise lawyer in China”. He is highlighted as an “excellent” practitioner who is “extremely responsive and knows his stuff”.


At Lee & Ko, Terry Kim is a distinguished franchise lawyer with impressive expertise in international transactions. Clients say, “He is always responsive, efficient and commercial, and his advice is practical and straightforward.”

New Zealand

“Excellent franchise lawyer" Stewart Germann of Stewart Germann Law Office is “the top guy” in New Zealand, say peers. He boasts over three decades of experience handling complex franchise agreements.


Latin America

Global Elite Thought Leaders
1. Luiz Henrique O do Amaral Dannemann Siemsen Advogados, Rio de Janeiro
2. Jorge Mondragón González Calvillo SC, Mexico City

Leading Firms

Dannemann Siemsen Advogados

With four listings, this firm is among the leading players in Latin America.
Luiz Henrique O do Amaral is “the first port of call in Brazil” say peers, who speak highly of his deep expertise in franchise law gained through over 30 years in the space.
Luciana Gonçalves Bassani is highlighted as “a very professional and knowledgeable adviser” and impresses peers with her solutions-focused approach.

González Calvillo SC

This full-service firm achieves four listings from its Mexico City office.
Jorge Mondragón is a highly knowledgeable franchise lawyer and a standout in Mexico. Market commentators commend “his excellent support and advice” and also praise him for his knowledgeable and pragmatic approach to complex issues.
Pablo Hooper provides high-quality advice on a broad range of franchising and licencing issues. He has a strong IP practice and draws praise for his excellent work for both Mexican and international clients.

Other Leading Individuals


Juan Carlos Uribe is a leading light at Triana Uribe & Michelsen. Sources describe him as “an excellent lawyer” and highlight his “high-quality and timely work” in the franchising space.


Gustavo A Alcocer is “a big name” at Olivares. Peers speak highly of his expert advice on complex franchise transactions and he is widely regarded as “one of the very best” lawyers in the market.

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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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