Hiring a Franchise Attorney: Do You Really Need One?April 10, 2019
The answer to this question would definitely be a big yes, irrespective of whether you are the franchisor or the franchisee. The truth is that you will need to hire a franchise attorney even before the very first contract is drafted and signed by both parties.
Big franchisors usually have entire legal firms attending to their various needs, and although your requirements as a minor franchisor might be comparatively smaller in scale, you will still require a legal expert in the US federal and state franchise laws by your side; that is if you want to expand without leaving yourself and your main business open to legal vulnerabilities and indirect liabilities in the contract. Looking at some of the many reasons just like this one, reveals why franchise attorneys are so important.
The Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) is a huge file with twenty-three separate information sections supplied by the Franchisor, that reveals everything about the franchisor, the experience of the franchisor, the potential and current financial opportunities and risks related to the franchise agreement, the obligations of the franchisee and the franchisor, the necessary fees/royalties which will be charged by the franchisor, a complete bill of startup costs, where applicable, and just about everything else related to the franchisor and the agreement.
Preparing and Drafting the FDD
As one may imagine, preparing the FDD is a lot of legal work, which must also be prepared in perfect accordance with the state and federal franchise laws. In all honesty, it would practically be impossible to prepare and draft the FDD without the necessary understanding of the US franchise laws and how to use that law to your advantage.
Reviewing the FDD
From the perspective of the franchisee however, interpreting that document, making sure that it obliges with all the legal requirements, and reviewing the entire FDD to find loopholes that can at certain times be used against the interests of the franchisee, is not something that anyone can do without very specific legal knowledge and experience regarding the federal and state Franchise laws.
Understanding the Franchise Law
The attorneys at firms like Larkin Hoffman exclusively specialize in US franchise law, and cater to the franchising needs of their clients, making the entire process of preparing, drafting, interpreting and explaining everything related to the complicated FDD a faster and easier process for both parties.
As should be obvious, depending on whether you are hiring them as attorneys for the franchisor or the franchisee, their role will vary, but having worked on both sides for over 40 years, rest assured that all your franchising needs will be taken care of with services which far exceed the very basic work of just drafting or interpreting the FDD. Everything from suggesting the merits of getting into a particular franchising agreement, to advising on any and all issues related to franchising in general is part of the package that is offered to their clients at the firm.
Legal counsel is often the kind of service that people think that they will never need, until they need it, or until the time they realize why they should have felt that need earlier. Especially in business, never make the mistake of signing anything or agreeing to anything without consulting your attorney first.