Best Lawyers selected 210 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 23 of the firm’s nationwide offices for inclusion in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.
Franchise businesses are utterly unique in their structure, regulation, and operation. Therefore, the first thing to know about Cozen O’Connor’s Franchising practice is this: we do not dabble. Cozen O’Connor has dedicated, knowledgeable franchise counsel with decades of relevant experience.
The firm represents major franchisors, developers, sub-franchisors, startup concepts, and mega-franchisees in diverse industries, including food and beverage, retail and luxury goods, concessions, entertainment and sports, fitness, martial arts, transportation, pet care, health care, manufacturing, finance, and technology.
The team includes recognized leaders in the franchise law bar, including the former chair of the ABA’s Forum on Franchising, one of 16 attorneys listed as a “Global Elite Thought Leader for North America” by Who’s Who Legal – Franchise Law, and an editor of the ABA’s The FTC Franchise Rule, 3rd Edition, which is widely seen as the authoritative guide to federal franchise law.
The franchise team is backed by the resources and reach of a national, full-service law firm. Cozen O’Connor has preeminent practices in intellectual property, antitrust, real estate, tax, commercial litigation, labor & employment, health care, and state attorneys general.
Regulatory & Transactions
Cozen O’Connor structures new franchise programs, drafts complex franchise agreements, negotiates mergers and acquisitions, coordinates franchise registrations, and conducts high-level compliance reviews and operational audits. We have experience with all franchise models, from business format and product franchises to area representatives to multi-level marketing enterprises.
An important area of our work is developing domestic and international franchise operations on behalf of non-U.S. franchisors seeking to enter the U.S. marketplace and U.S. franchisors seeking to expand abroad. The team has particularly deep experience in Asia and includes counsel fluent in Mandarin.
Disputes & Litigation
Cozen O’Connor represents franchisors in litigation, arbitration, and mediation. Although often able to resolve conflicts at the earliest stages, our attorneys are also accomplished trial lawyers. They appear frequently in state and federal courts or alternative dispute resolution forums such as AAA, JAMS, or FranArb, and serve as expert witnesses in trials and arbitrations.
The firm defends franchisors in a wide range of claims (such as breach of contract, unfair competition, and encroachment), and is equally aggressive about enforcing the terms of franchise agreements on a national basis.
Structure and prepare franchise agreements and disclosure documents
Represent buyers and sellers of franchise companies through due diligence, negotiation and documentation of purchase and sale agreements
Coordinate franchise registrations
Assist companies in protecting intellectual property (trademarks, trade dress, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets), including clearance, registrability, prosecution, monetization, and enforcement
Counsel franchisors on labor and employment issues, including joint employment and misclassification
Advise franchisors on compliance with antitrust laws
Provide real estate legal services to franchisors including drafting leases and purchase agreements
Represent clients in enforcement investigations and actions brought by state franchise agencies
Represent franchisors in disputes with franchisees over disclosures, encroachment, online operations, breach of contract, infringement, unfair competition, false advertising, theft of trade secrets, counterfeiting, price discrimination, and other claims