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Mark Abell leads Bird & Bird LLP’s highly respected franchising group, which provides ‘quick responses and advice based on very detailed franchise industry knowledge’. Graeme Payne and Victoria Hobbs are ‘able to have good, open discussions, and are both great at taking in the facts and asking the relevant questions’. Legal director Shelly Nadler joined the firm in October 2015 from Fieldfisher. Key clients include PizzaExpress, University College School and the fashion companies Hobbs and Whistles.

Fieldfisher’s franchising team features a true legend in Chris Wormald, as well as the extremely talented David Bond, who assists a diverse client base including easyHotel, Brighton College and Burger & Lobster on their franchising and licensing expansion strategies, both domestically and internationally. Leighton Cassidy heads the IP litigation team and regularly works with fellow dispute resolution partner Andrew Dodd. Shelly Nadler left the firm in September 2015 to join Bird & Bird LLP.

Hamilton Pratt is the largest specialist franchise law firm in the country, and features leading lawyer John Pratt, who heads the commercial franchise side of the practice. He works with partner James Barrett, who heads the litigation team, as well as senior associate Emma Lusty. Representative clients include McDonald’s, Papa John’s (GB), Domino’s Pizza, Subway (UK & Ireland), Signs Express, Toni & Guy and ventilation system manufacturer EnviroVent.

Blake Morgan LLP’s substantial franchise department is noted for its ‘quality, practically applicable advice and responsiveness’. Sheilah Mackieunderstands business needs and provides advice in such a way that agreements are legally robust yet in line with clients’ goals’. The six-office firm also features knowledgeable partners Jill Bainbridge, Mike Stace and Alan Harlow.

DLA Piper provides ‘first-class problem solving and great communication’ to an international client base that includes Hertz, Marriott and Ralph Lauren. The ‘personable, knowledgeable and remarkably available’ Iain Bowler leads the team, which was strengthened in January 2016 with the recruitment of retail and supply chain finance expert Mark Dewar from Simmons & Simmons. Bonella Ramsay is also recommended

Dentons takes a ‘sensible, streamlined approach to key questions in a very user-friendly way, and gives balanced advice about the commercial realities and challenges of moving into new markets’. Long-time expert Babette Märzheuser-Wood leads the team and is ‘simply the best when it comes to international work’. Clients include universities, hotels and food and beverage providers such as Taleem College, Wagamama and Starwood Hotel and Resorts. Senior associate Robyn Chatwood, who joined the firm in 2014, is also recommended.

Led by partners Peter Sheppard and Mike Barlow and consultant Jonathan Chadd, Leathes Prior’s practice advises more than 45 franchisors in the UK as well as a lengthy list of international clients. Clients include Countrywide Signs, Senior Care at Home, Drain Doctor, Wok & Go and Greensleeves Garden Care.

At Owen White, Jane Masih advises franchisors and franchisees on a variety of matters, including the development of their networks, drafting franchise and master licence agreements, and acting in sales and purchases of franchise businesses. Litigation expert Russell Ford is also recommended.

Simons Muirhead & Burton has an international franchising specialist in Maninder Gill, who has particular expertise in the fashion and publishing industries. He is joined by Natalie Wright, who focuses on beauty and fashion companies, and North American expert Peter Weiss. Clients include franchisors Jimmy Choo and Time Out magazine.

Stevens & Bolton LLP provides ‘an excellent level of service, speedy response times, thorough industry knowledge and advice that’s always very balanced’. Nicola Broadhurst is ‘extremely competent and a great support to businesses; she assesses each situation herself and provides balanced legal and commercial advice’. Andrew Quick is also recommended.

TLT excels in franchise agreements in the Middle East and is accomplished in the automotive and retail sectors. Bill Hull and Perran Jervis are ‘very strong’, and were joined by Manchester-based franchising expert Pauline Cowie from Millbank Edge LLP in June 2015. The group is seeking to expand its international reach, as illustrated by the recent addition of WHSmith as a key client.

Travers Smith LLP is a full-service law firm that has a ‘wealth of experience and always gives the right answers’ on complicated franchising matters. The team handles franchising and distribution agreements throughout the EMEA region and ‘always gives accurate, commercial, succinct and measured guidance. Ben Chivers (who is ‘prompt, confident and gives genuinely useful advice’) works alongside the talented and affable Tom Purton. Clients include Caffè Nero, Pret A Manger, Cath Kidston and Godiva.

The franchising practice at Ashton Legal is led by Damian Humphrey, who represents Leon Restaurants, Eddie Rockets, TaxAssist, Tossed and Chopstix, among others. Consultant John Chambers is also recommended.

Baker McKenzie LLP leverage the firm’s sizeable international footprint to act for a major international client base that includes Unilever, Rio Tinto and Carlsberg. Michelle Blunt is the main contact.

Birketts LLP has a newly formed franchise team that features legal director Ed Savory and associate Vicki Mitman, both of whom joined the firm in May 2016, as well as senior associate Robert Tiffen.

Boutique firm David Bigmore & Co in Association with Goodman Derrick LLP represents domestic and international clients in contentious and non-contentious franchising matters. David Bigmore is the main contact.

The experienced David Kaye leads the team at Harper Macleod LLP, which recently bolstered its litigation expertise with the recruitment of partner E-Ming Fong. The group’s client list includes the franchisor Chicken Cottage and franchisee Subway.

Mishcon de Reya LLP has expertise in the fashion, retail and food and beverage industries, assisting clients such as Tesco and Victoria’s Secret with their brand extension efforts. Lewis Cohen is the main contact.

Joel Vertes leads the franchising work at Olswang LLP, where he primarily represents international clients such as Hard Rock Hotels, Hakkasan, Viacom and Thomas Pink.

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