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Meet the 2016 class of FT Legal Eagles


Every reporter knows that only one group of people will actually pick up their phones just about any time someone calls: lawyers. When you’re working on the clock for clients, it seems, you’re available early, late and in between, and you have no problem providing a quote for a story on the side. This knowledge comes in handy on a Wednesday afternoon just before Thanksgiving, or a Friday afternoon in July, when a deadline looms.

So it was no surprise when compiling this ranking, our annual list of Franchise Times Legal Eagles, when person after person mentioned superb client service as a reason to nominate their favorite franchise attorney. Our annual list relies heavily on the quantity and quality of nominations, especially from clients, and many attorneys on our ranking received accolades numbering in the double digits.

2016 Legal Eagles

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It wasn’t too shocking—although it made us a bit tired—when some of the attorneys we interviewed said they worked 80 hours a week or straight through the weekend. Franchise attorneys, and especially the top people in the field, as our Legal Eagles are, do whatever it takes.

But our interviews with two trios of Legal Eagles, which we drew from this year’s new inductees into the Hall of Fame and conducted during the International Franchise Association’s annual convention in February, took several unexpected turns. In the course of any 24-hour period, these franchise attorneys might be studying to become a gestalt therapist (Joseph Adler), or dreaming about being a wedding gown designer (Nina Greene), or thinking about piloting a boat in the Virgin Islands (Joel Buckberg.)

They might be waking up at 2 a.m. to research an unorthodox legal tactic (Stuart Hershman), or checking for antitrust cases popping up in franchising (Quentin Wittrock), or accepting an award from the IFA recognizing women in leadership (Amy Cheng). Then again, they could be showing off their Michigan tattoo, or recalling the time they were “sweating bullets” when a fraud case arose around documents they had certified.

Peek behind the scenes of our Franchise Times Legal Eagles, and everyone will find the same thing: Dedicated professionals, available whenever their clients need them, steeped in knowledge about all things franchising—with plenty of interesting aspirations and outlets beyond the boardroom or courtroom. We’ll call them 24/7/365 attorneys, and we salute the 2016 class.

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