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Attorney John Baer dies


John R.F. Baer of Greenfelder law firm

John R. F. Baer, an attorney with Greensfelder in Chicago, died January 29, after a long battle with cancer. A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m., February 9, at U.S. Cellular Field, the home of the Chicago White Sox, a team Baer was a rabid fan of.

Colleague Leonard Vines informed the American Bar Association’s Listserv, a professional group email site for members of the Forum on Franchising, on Baer’s death and the responses were immediate and heartfelt. Baer was a former chairman of the International Franchising Committee of the American Bar Association’s International Sales, International Franchising and Production Law section, and co-editor of the International Journal of Franchising Law. He had earned numerous awards and distinctions over his long career in franchise law, including being a Franchise Times Legal Eagle for nine years straight. He was also the recipient of the Forum on Franchising’s first Lewis G. Rudnick Award in honor of his lifetime achievement and service to the franchise community.

“Since John was a private person, very few people were aware of just how serious his illness was,” Vines wrote in a post on the Listserv. “He fought a long battle to the very end and never complained. 

“All who had the privilege of knowing John found him to be an outstanding lawyer—one of the real giants in the field. However, even more importantly, John was a truly wonderful human being who was always willing to share his knowledge and help others advance their careers.”

I, too, had the benefit of Baer’s kindness and expertise. When I first started covering franchising in the late 1990s, first for Continental Franchise Review and then for Franchise Times, he was one of a handful of people I could call—without being embarrassed—with naïve questions and he’d spend time schooling me on the complexities of franchising. He even shared his umbrella during a rainy walk to dinner at the Forum’s annual meeting in Vancouver. He was all about making people comfortable and keeping them from being all wet.

As Vines said: “We will sorely miss him, and we will never forget him.”

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Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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