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Franchising & Distribution Law

The Franchising & Distribution Law Group represents national and international franchisors, franchisees, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers, in all aspects of the formation and administration of franchise and other distribution networks. The Group's attorneys offer transactional and litigation services in a variety of industries, including retail; automotive sales, parts & services; oil and gasoline sales; food services; telecommunications; construction products; optical care; electrical and steel distribution; and beverage and liquor distribution.

Representative Matters

  • Representation of a soft drink manufacturer in litigation in three states arising from its termination of numerous distributors after its multibillion-dollar acquisition by one of the largest soft drink manufacturers in the world.
  • Nationwide representation of a manufacturer of consumer and industrial filters in distributor termination litigation.
  • Counsel and litigation representation to manufacturers and down-stream distributors throughout the United States and internationally in connection with dealer terminations arising from changes in distribution chains and wholesaling methods.
  • Representation of alcoholic beverage distributors and importers in sales practice matters arising from importation, franchisee termination and state regulatory issues.
  • Appointments as neutral and party arbitrators in matters involving both U.S. and foreign distributors. A member of the Group served as an international arbitrator in a matter involving United Arab Emirates distribution rights.
  • Antitrust litigation, such as the representation of a major lighting manufacturer in Robinson Patman matters.
  • Arbitration of distributor rights in connection with claims of good faith termination.
  • Representation of franchisors and franchisees in the marketing of franchises and franchise systems.
  • Representation of the purchaser of a twenty-six state franchise system, including all franchise related activities.

Our team approach, as well as collaboration among our attorneys in different offices, result in efficiencies and benefits to our franchisor and multi-state franchisee clients. Rather than working with multiple firms, our clients find that our attorneys understand each client's specialized franchise or distribution system, business model and litigation strategy and can handle issues on a nationwide basis, monitoring local counsel as needed. The complexity of business needs prevalent in the franchise industry is matched by the varied experience of our Franchise & Distribution Group members.

The Group's attorneys have extensive experience in such areas as intellectual property/information technology, government contracts, regulatory and legislative matters and real estate. Our members include former chairs of state bar association franchise and antitrust sections. Our lawyers appear as speakers and authors on franchising matters to bar and industry groups across the country and are leaders in roundtable programs at the International Franchise Association – the nation's largest franchise industry organization.  Our trial lawyers have been selected for membership in such groups as the American College of Trial Lawyers and American Board of Trial Advocates, and our attorneys are regularly selected to sit as arbitrators in franchise-related disputes.