Susan A. Grueneberg


Los Angeles

(213) 892-7996

(213) 784-9071

Susan advises clients on franchise and distribution law issues, including compliance with federal and state franchise and business opportunity laws. Clients are primarily franchisors with some large area developers, sub-franchisors, and multi-unit franchisees. Her clients range from startup franchisors to Fortune 500 companies. Susan is certified as a Franchise & Distribution Law Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization.

Susan’s practice includes structuring franchise programs; preparing, structuring and registering franchise programs, including drafting Franchise Disclosure Documents, Franchise Agreements, Area Development Agreements, Subfranchise Agreements, Master License Agreements, Area Representative Agreements, Joint Venture Agreements, and ancillary agreements; counseling on compliance with disclosure and other regulatory requirements; exemption-based franchising, mergers and acquisitions of franchise companies; international expansion of U.S. franchise programs, introduction of non-U.S. franchise programs to the United States; franchise relationship issues involving transfers, defaults and terminations; counseling non-compliant programs and defending government enforcement actions and investigations; assisting in franchise disputes in conjunction with litigators; protection of intellectual property, working with trademark counsel; joint employment and vicarious liability avoidance including joint employment audits; and she also serves as an expert witness for franchisors in arbitration and litigation.

Susan earned her undergraduate degree, cum laude, from University of California, Los Angeles. Susan earned her law degree from UCLA School of Law. While in law school, she attended Yale-in-China Studies Center and taught at United College, Chinese University of Hong Kong on a U.S. State Department Teaching Fellowship. After law school, Susan received a fellowship from post-graduate study in Chinese law and economics awarded by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People’s Republic of China at the University of Beijing, China.




More Than 200 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named Best Lawyers and Ones to Watch By The Best Lawyers In America

August 20, 2020

Best Lawyers selected 201 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 23 of the firm’s nationwide offices for inclusion in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© (Copyright 2020 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC).

63 Cozen O’Connor Lawyers, 16 Practices Earn Top Recognition in Chambers USA 2020 Guide

May 14, 2020

Chambers USA, the leading annual guide to the top lawyers and law firms in the United States, has ranked 63 Cozen O’Connor lawyers as leaders in their respective fields in the guide’s 2020 edition.

Nine Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Recognized as 2020 Southern California Super Lawyers

January 15, 2020

Super Lawyers has named nine Cozen O'Connor attorneys to its 2020 Southern California Super Lawyers.

138 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 28, 2019

Best Lawyers selected 138 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 21 of the firm’s national offices for inclusion in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

57 Cozen O’Connor Lawyers, 16 Practices Earn Top Recognition in Chambers USA 2019 Guide

April 25, 2019

Chambers USA, the leading annual guide to the top lawyers and law firms in the USA, has ranked 57 Cozen O’Connor lawyers as leaders in their respective fields in the Guide’s 2019 edition.

Susan Grueneberg Named to Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2019 Most Influential Women Attorneys

April 08, 2019

Cozen O'Connor franchise attorney Susan Grueneberg was honored by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of 2019 Most Influential Women Attorneys.

Seven Cozen O’Connor Lawyers Named 2019 “Lawyers of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America

August 31, 2018

Cozen O’Connor is proud to announce that seven of the firm’s lawyers have been recognized as “Lawyers of the Year” in their respective practices by Best Lawyers in America, one of the oldest and most highly regarded peer review publications in the legal profession.

126 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 22, 2018

One hundred twenty-six Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 20 of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Cozen O’Connor Welcomes Lead Franchise Lawyer Susan Grueneberg to its Los Angeles Office

July 30, 2018

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce Susan Grueneberg, one of California’s best known and highly regarded franchise law attorneys, has agreed to head up its global franchise practice.


Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Holds Franchisor Not Liable as a Joint Employer of its Franchisee's Employees [Alert]

October 22, 2019

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided by majority opinion by Circuit Judge Susan Graber, with a partial dissent filed by Chief Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas, Salazar v. McDonald's Corp. No. 17- 15673 (9th Cir. 2019), holding franchisor McDonald’s was not a joint employer with its franchisee, because McDonald’s did not retain control of day-to-day aspects of work at the franchisee’s restaurants.

How Franchisors Can Design Programs for Budget-Conscious Franchisees [Franchising USA]

March 14, 2019

Susan Grueneberg discussed some pointers on how to design a franchise program that is accessible to prospective franchisees with limited capital.

Tips For a More Successful Franchise Renewal Season [Franchising USA]

January 31, 2019

Susan Grueneberg discusses tips to make the franchising renewal process more efficient and increase your odds to make the annual updates and renewals less disruptive.

Drafting Franchise Agreements After Patterson v. Domino’s: Avoiding the Minefield of Vicarious Liability and Joint Employment

October 03, 2016

Susan Grueneberg, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Franchising practice group, wrote an article on Patterson v. Domino's for the Franchise Law Journal.

Taking the leap: bringing a foreign brand to the United States

March 13, 2014

Susan Grueneberg, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Franchising practice group, wrote an article for International Franchising Law on the challenges that non-U.S. franchisors face when entering the U.S. market.

Events & Seminars

Past Events

Regulatory Update

October 18, 2019 - Denver, CO

2017 IFA Legal Symposium

May 08, 2017 - Washington, D.C.

IBA/IFA 32nd Annual Joint Conference

May 18, 2016 - Washington, D.C.

2016 IFA Convention

February 20, 2016 - San Antonio, TX

2015 IFA Legal Symposium

May 03, 2015 - Chicago, IL


  • UCLA School of Law, J.D., 1979
  • University of California at Los Angeles, B.A., cum laude, 1973

Awards & Honors

Southern California Super Lawyers, Franchise/Dealership, 2006-2020

Southern California Super Lawyers, Southern California Women’s Edition, Franchise/Dealership, 2016

Southern California Super Lawyers, Franchise/Dealership- Corporate Counsel Edition, 2008-2013

The Best Lawyers in America, Franchise Law, 2006-2021

The Best Lawyers in America, Lawyer of the Year, Franchise Law, 2012, 2016, 2019

Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Franchising (Nationwide), 2007-2020

Who’s Who Legal, Franchise, 2004-2020

Who's Who Legal, Global Elite Thought Leaders, 2018-2021

Legal Eagle, Franchise Times, 2004-2018, 2020

Legal Eagle, Hall of Fame, 2013

The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers

Corporate LiveWire Lawyer of the Year 2014: Franchise Law - Los Angeles, California

  • California
  • Supreme Court Of California

Industry Advisory Committee to the North American Securities Administrations Association (NASAA) Franchise Project Group, 1996-Present (Chair, 2006-Present)

American Bar Association, Forum on Franchising (Chair, 2001-2003)

State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, Franchise and Distribution Law Advisory Commission (Member, 2009-2013; Chair, 2012-2013)

State Bar of California Business Law Section, Executive Committee (Member, 1990-1992)

State Bar of California Franchise Law Committee (Chair, 1988-1989; Member, 1986-1989, 2006-2009)

International Franchise Association Legal/Legislative Committee (Member, 1995-Present)