You Know You Hired the Wrong Franchise Attorney When…
You would think the answer to this one would be so easy that you would know it in an instant. And it is. Think about it. This is basically the same as saying: You know you hired the wrong makeup consultant when your friends say, “Great Halloween costume! You should definitely audition to be a zombie in the next Resident Evil movie.” Or…You know you hired the wrong chef when the cow is still mooing on the plate and scares the living daylights out of your guests. Not to mention: You know you’ve hired the wrong mechanic when your car comes back with no muffler and an empty six-pack in the backseat.
See that? These are very common sense answers. And when it comes to a franchise attorney and needing their knowledge in order to make sure that your franchise is going to head into the ‘success’ category, then there are most definitely things to watch out for.
If they read over a franchise agreement while wearing that fake smile of a politician and your franchise suddenly goes to the dogs…you hired the wrong franchise attorney.
When your choice of a franchise attorney leads you to sit in a room with him/her and they look at the Federal Trade Commission’s Amended Franchise Rule (found at 16 CFR Section 436), and offer a blank look when it comes to the various state laws that apply to franchising and franchise sales, and say: “Don’t worry about this part. It’s just there to make the agreement sound more legal,” then…Houston, you have a problem! You should know ahead of time that this section may include state laws in your home state which may differ from those in the franchisee’s state, but which may still afford protection to a franchisee.
When your franchise attorney wants to argue about standard franchise agreement provisions which provide for the protection of the franchise system as a whole and the value of each unit in the system, including the right to veto real estate leasing decisions; the franchisee’s being precluded from entering into competing businesses; the right to require that franchisees purchase from specified purveyors; the right to have a say in who the franchisee can sell their business to; and the territory in which the franchisee may operate or locate – well, you have another problem.
Perhaps they wish to be like the attorney’s in the movies who pound on tables before winning the case and sending the criminal to jail. Trust me, these terms are essential to the operation of a strong franchise system and you don’t want to end up sitting in a defendant’s seat because your attorney wasn’t all they were cracked up to be.
You know you have the wrong franchise attorney on your side when they cannot tell you that they have reviewed and negotiated hundreds of franchise agreements. Well…they can tell you that, but they can also tell you they work for Zuckerberg and are the one who made Facebook possible. But I wouldn’t believe that if I were you, so do the research.
Perhaps they cannot explain to you conceptual terms associated with many franchise systems, such as what constitutes a master franchise or an area development arrangement. Or…perhaps they want to negotiate with you in a confrontational manner. Remember that you’re about to enter into a long-term relationship, therefore, it’s not helpful to begin with a ‘knock-down, drag-out, Rocky Balboa’ negotiation that will leave a very bad taste in your mouth.
This is your job, your business, your livelihood and your dream, so make sure that the franchise attorney you hire is the best kind of team player for your franchise system. Their inexperience in franchise law causes them to try to negotiate dozens of franchise agreement changes which you, as the franchisor, will likely reject, but which will also run up a significant legal bill.
Come on, people! Mike Rosenthal is the guy you want…unless, of course, you like Resident Evil. Then you can just skip the whole franchise goal and head straight to Hollywood for your zombie close-up.
You need value to have success, so get the ‘best’ franchise attorney right from the start!
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