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At Termination Time, Attorneys Offer Tips in Dramatic Fashion


Jack McCoy on the TV show "Law & Order"

Attorneys channeled their inner Jack McCoy or Alicia Florrick, lead characters on the hit TV shows “Law & Order” and “The Good Wife,” respectively, in a presentation about terminations at the International Franchise Association’s Legal Symposium, in Chicago May 3-5.

“Is this really the end?” was the title of the presentation, and presenters enlisted fellow attorneys to play the above roles and more in short film clips designed to educate the audience about common problems.

“The Case of the Unfair Renewal Offer” was one vignette, starring a blonde attorney, wearing glasses and sipping wine while contemplating her next move, then staring at a sharp knife sitting on an empty cutting board.

“You have to help me,” said her franchisee “client.” “Everything has changed” in his new contract, he says. “There’s no room for old-timers like me.”

“The Case of the Informal Franchisee” used “Law & Order” scenes and graphics, and then showed an actor playing Jack McCoy asking: “How could you let a franchise continue operating without an agreement?” The scene drew laughter from the crowd of attorneys, who have to fix such instances for their clients time and time again.

 “Talk to your clients,” advised moderator Dan Oates, with Miller Nash Graham & Dunn, about what contract management system they have in place. A lot of them don’t have any at all.”

“Do not assume your clients have a tracking system and certainly not one that varies state by state,” he added. Other panelists were David Byers, corporate counsel with Starbucks Coffee Co., and Heather Carson Perkins, a partner with Faegre Baker Daniels.

Of course, no movie screening is complete without outtakes, and these presenters obliged. They showed “Jack McCoy” flubbing his chief operating officer line—he said “chief offerating officer” and variations thereof, to laughter. In another outtake, the director asked the wine-sipping blonde to look more maniacal when eying the sharp knife.

The IFA’s Legal Symposium ended Tuesday, May 5.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

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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