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Franchising's 2012 Legal Eagles


Click here to view the complete 2012 Legal Eagles report (PDF)

This year we decided to speak to our Legal Eagles in their own language—Leagalese.

“We (Franchise Times, hereafter to be referred to as FT) give and convey to you, the chosen, all singular rights, title, claim and advantages of and in this distinction of 2012 Franchise Times Legal Eagle, a trademarked and highly sought-after award. The award is to be used under and pursuant to the provisions of the spirit in which it was granted and in the exercise of the right, privilege and franchise granted in the goodwill and fair dealing in which it was bestowed.”

This year our Legal Eagles will receive a set of commemorative wings—they are in the mail as you read this. Please wear them proudly, and please, at no time try to use them to score a free seat in first class on any airline, including your own personal aircraft.

But seriously, we may have some fun in announcing our Legal Eagles, but we do our due diligence in the selection process. It’s a painstaking labor of love. It starts when we request nominations from the franchise community, including an endorsement, and then turn those names over to our editorial staff which further researches each nominee. The opportunity is only open to outside counsels in the United States and Canada, but we have plans to expand our list internationally next year. At some point, we’ll also recognize in-house attorneys, who have their own unique set of legal job skills.

So in “plain English”: Congratulations to the class of 2012..

.Frequent Flyers

Here’s the methodology behind our Legal Eagle choices

2012’s list includes many of the same names as in years past. But we’ve done our best to elevate some newer lawyers to this high post.

Compiling Franchise Times Legal Eagles gets tougher every year—which is a good sign for the industries that rely on lawyers steeped in franchise knowledge. There are a lot of winners to choose from.

To finalize the list, we study the nominations and the reasons behind those nominations, of course, but we also look up candidates on their firms’ website to see what they’ve contributed to franchising, other than just outstanding lawyering. We talk to people at legal gatherings and seek out advice from sage non-lawyers. The reason the task is becoming more difficult is that franchise law is no longer a practice segment business lawyers fall into, it’s a specialty they’re seeking.

Here are just some of the traits Legal Eagles share:

  • Putting in hundreds of hours and firm resources to present the legal year in review at the annual legal gatherings;
  • Writing articles, editing articles and commenting on articles (we’re into writing) for legal publications that ups the bar on everyone’s education;
  • Serving on committees, hosting conferences and speaking at industry events, once again with the objective to share knowledge so that everyone’s the smartest lawyer in the room;
  • Volunteering their talents, legal or otherwise, to nonprofits;
  • Being accessible to clients 24/7. In other words, never turning off their BlackBerry or iPhone;
  • Finding creative solutions, thinking out of the box, raising the bar, leveling the playing field and going for the win-win—without becoming a cliché.

We also have found they share many of the qualities of a boy and girl scout, without the uniforms or cookies.

Franchise Times is extremely proud of our list and we hope the lawyers who do make the final cut are equally proud to be included on it.

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