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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Franchising > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Franchising
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Bird & Bird LLP fields an ‘extraordinary’ team that regularly handles international franchising mandates, and disputes arising out of franchise agreements. It advises many of the world’s leading brands on their global expansion strategies, and has deep industry expertise in the sectors traditionally active in using franchising as a means of expansion. It also has significant experience advising clients in the healthcare, education and green energy spaces; recent work includes advising more than 40 schools on the establishment of schools in overseas markets. In another highlight, Mark Abell is advising Hamleys on the negotiation of multiple international franchise and development arrangements and associated compliance with local law requirements. Victoria Hobbs is a popular contentious franchising practitioner, particularly for clients in the retail, hotel and leisure and food and beverage sectors. Hobbs advised a well-known beverage sector client on a contentious termination of a multi-store franchise, and assisted with the negotiation of renewal agreements with another multi-store franchisee following a dispute over the territorial rights which the franchisee obtained. Graeme Payne is ‘a very good sounding board, providing calm and pragmatic advice’; he acted alongside legal director Shelly Nadler for PizzaExpress on its overseas franchise expansion, as well advising the client on dispute avoidance, risk management issues and the termination of a franchising agreement. Associate Nick Green is ‘very attentive and quick to pick up commercial issues’.

Fieldfisher is ‘a top franchising law firm’ with a solid track record in domestic and international franchising mandates; according to one client, it is ‘one of the few firms that is able to go past delivering just legal input and guidance’ to ‘give advice with a very commercial perspective’. Its expertise covers a wide spectrum of industry sectors, including retail, food and beverage, hospitality, education and healthcare. Highlights included advising longstanding client Arcadia Group on a number of matters including the renewal and registration of its franchised brands in Vietnam and Philippines; the grant of franchise rights in Romania and China; the launch of corporately-owned stores in Germany; and wholesale supply agreements to e-tailers in Europe and China. The team also advised easyHotel on its domestic and international expansion and successfully represented the same client in a franchise dispute with a former franchisee in South Africa and a dispute with a current franchisee in the Czech Republic. It also assisted Burger & Lobster with its international franchise roll-outs, and advised Harvey Nichols on franchising arrangements in India, USA and Qatar. David Bond and Chris Wormald jointly lead the team; the ‘dependable’ Bond attracts praise for his ‘extensive’ franchising knowledge and ‘down-to earth-style, which goes down well with clients’, and Wormald is ‘highly experienced and highly regarded’. Andrew Dodd and James Seadon focus on disputes arising from the franchising agreements. Senior associate Gordon Drakes is ‘a rising star’ who is ‘extremely smart and sharp’.

Hamilton Pratt handles contentious and non-contentious franchising matters, and advises a large number of members of the British Franchise Association. Representative clients include Boots Opticians Professional Services, Mail Boxes, Snap Fitness and Premier Education Group. Demonstrating its deep market penetration, the team assisted Belvoir Property Management with the franchise aspects of the acquisition of Northwood Estate Agency, advised Interlink Franchise Association on its withdrawal from franchising, and represented a manufacturing company in a dispute with one of its franchisees. Key figures within the ‘small but excellent’ team include John Pratt, who is ‘practical, responsive and knowledgeable’; James Barrett, who specialises in franchise disputes; and Emma Lusty, who is particularly experienced at assisting franchisor and franchisee clients in franchising resale transactions.

Dentons is singled out for its ‘ability to deliver quality advice under a tight time frame’. The team is a popular choice among blue-chip clients, which it advises on franchise agreements and on the use of franchising as part of their international expansion strategies. Leveraging its global footprint and its strong retail sector expertise, the firm advises a broad range of retail clients such as DFS, Cath Kidson, SK:N and John Lewis Partnership. The team also acquired several new clients in 2016, including Godiva Chocolatier, Charlotte Tilbury and Whittard of Chelsea. Babette Märzheuser-Wood ‘knows the franchise world inside out’, and continues to advise Starwood Hotel and Resorts Worldwide on its European hotel expansion, including advising on the Sheraton Offenbach Hotel, two projects in Paris, a new hotel in Cyprus, A Sheraton in Krakow Poland, a new Westin hotel in Sarajevo, and a Sheraton in Slovakia. Another highlight saw the team handling the termination of a franchise agreement and the subsequent enforcement of the post-termination obligations, as well as on renewals and the grant of new franchise agreement in more than 35 countries. Senior associate Robert Bedford has notable experience of handing franchise disputes. Associate Emma Bowman is also recommended.

Owen White’s six-lawyer team is led by Jane Masih and advises both franchisors and franchisees on the full range of non-contentious and contentious franchising matters, including advising on UK and EU competition law. Masih advises franchisors on master licence agreements and on the sale and purchase of franchise businesses and IP matters. Russell Ford acts for household names in the franchising industry on franchise disputes including representing groups of franchisees conducting High Court litigation and mediations. It also has particular expertise in securing injunctions to enforce non-competition terms in franchise agreements. Andrew Hayward attracts praise for his ‘practicable advice’.

Stevens & Bolton LLP is praised for its ability to ‘turn around work quickly without compromising on the quality’. It advises both franchisors and franchisees on a wide spectrum of franchising matters, including using franchising model for both domestic and international expansion. It also handles disputes and advises on the termination of franchise agreements, as well as trade mark protection and domain name protection issues. It is particularly active in the casual dining, retail and healthcare sectors. Nicola Broadhurst is ‘very personable and easy to communicate with’; her knowledge of franchise is ‘very evidently outstanding’. In 2016, Broadhurst assisted a UK clothing company on its cross-border franchise and distribution operations involving Czech Republic, Singapore, Indonesia, India and Australia. She also advised a provider of children entertainment on data protection issues arising out of the collection of data from its franchise network. Sarah Murray and Andrew Quick are highly recommended for disputes, with quick singled out for his retail sector focus.

Ashtons Legal is ‘excellent all round’ – the team is praised for its ‘excellent franchising knowledge, prompt response and competitive pricing’. It is best known for advising franchisors, master licensees and franchise developers, primarily in the food and beverage, retail and service sectors, and is particularly experienced at advising clients in North America and Australia on their entry into the UK. Highlights included advising Refresh Renovation on its entry into the UK market, and assisting an Irish restaurant chain with its agreement with a US fast food chain regarding the use of each party’s trade marks within Europe. Harry Ramsden’s, Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries and Trend Transformations also feature in its client list. The highly regarded Damian Humphrey heads the Norwich-based team which includes associate Tracy Williamson and consultant John Chambers.

Birketts LLP significantly enhanced its franchising offering with the recruitment of Edward Savory to head the practice alongside associate Vicki Mitman; both joined from Leathes Prior in May 2016. Savory specialises in international franchising and domestic and international franchise resales, while Mitman focuses on franchising, licensing and brand protection matters. Senior associate Robert Tiffen handles commercial litigation with a particular specialism in franchise disputes. Recent highlights include representing a car valeting company in a dispute with a franchisee regarding breach of contract and post-termination restrictions; assisting an app development company with the termination of a franchise agreement with an existing franchisee; and advising a service provider company on launching a new master franchise in Norway.

Blake Morgan LLP’s team is ‘able to be innovative and to assist in maintaining a streamlined and on time completion of work’. Practice head Sheilah Mackie is singled out for her ‘sound management of a diverse group, which is capable of communicating well, providing value for money whilst at the same time showing a keen interest to be involved in the long-term interests of the clients’. Mackie and Jill Bainbridge focus on non-contentious and contentious franchising matters respectively, and the practice acts for franchisors and franchisees with multiple franchised business. Recent highlights include advising a home care provider on setting up a trial franchise for its visiting care and live-in care business, and representing a letting agency on an alleged breaches of the franchise agreement.

CMS’s impressive client roster includes Hakkasn, Hark Rock International, J. Barbour & Sons and Nickelodeon, which the group advises on a broad range of non-contentious and contentious domestic and international franchising matters. Recent highlights include representing Surround Care in ongoing High Court franchising litigation with Caremark involving four defendants, and acting for Thomas Pink on litigation arising from the termination of an existing franchisee, as well as the negotiation of a new master franchisee agreement with Global Brands Group in China. Joel Vertes heads the team, which includes Edinburgh-based William Anderson, who joined from Owen White in October 2016 and is a key name for franchise disputes.

Leveraging its strong international network of offices, DLA Piper is ‘great for international franchising transactions in multiple jurisdictions’, primarily in the retail, hospitality, leisure and food and beverage sectors. The team is particularly experienced at advising clients on establishing franchise systems, as well as advising existing franchisors on the international expansion of their franchise systems, and on disposals of franchised operations. Iain Bowler’s recent mandates include advising a private equity vehicle which owns a multi-unit franchise of a high street retail brand on the renewal of the franchise, and assisting a UK-based online retailer with the development of a global franchise system including a new online trading platform to support franchisees’ businesses. Bowler was also part of a cross-border team that assisted a private equity and venture capital firm on the acquisition of healthcare sector franchises.

Harper Macleod LLP is a ‘go-to firm for franchising service’, with notable expertise in the retail sector, particularly in the food retail space, where it acts for Project Pie, Hotcha and German Doner Kebab. The team excels in ‘delivering commercial agreements that meets clients’ needs’. It also has a track record advising clients on the acquisition of master franchise rights. The team gained a number of new clients in 2016, including Refresh & Revive, Nine Twenty Recruitment and Swipii Labs. Recent highlights include assisting Elan Fitness with the acquisition of the UK master franchise rights to operate and sub-franchise the operation of CycleBar; advising Chicken Cottage on its international expansion into Bangladesh, Nigeria, Malaysia and the Gulf Cooperation Council States; and advising The Kitchen Depot Holdings on a series of matters in relation to the operation of its franchise network including a dispute with a franchisee. David Kaye is a ‘brilliant commercial lawyer’, and associate Andrew Fraser is a ‘young but very bright practitioner’ whose ‘technical skills combined with approachability and commercial sense makes him stand out amongst his peers’. Both individuals are based in the firm’s Glasgow office.

Mishcon de Reya LLP’s strength lies in the fashion retail sector where it acts for clients including La Senza, Hawes & Curtis, River Island and JKC Retail on their international expansion. Lewis Cohen heads the international franchising and brand extension group, which includes managing associate Simon Leaf, who joined from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP in February 2017. Cohen continues to advise Tesco on its international franchise arrangements for its F&F clothing and accessories concept, and assisted Landmark Group with its purchase of the intellectual rights relating to the Fitness First business in 13 countries, which included the termination of the current franchise arrangement.

Simons Muirhead & Burton’s client roster features a number of internationally renowned brands as well as emerging brands. The team includes practitioners with in-depth fashion and retail in-house experience, which makes the firm a popular choice to advise clients in the fashion and retail sectors on their international expansion. Practice head Maninder Gill also has particular expertise advising publishing sector clients on franchising matters, and counts Dennis Publishing as a client. Natalie Wright and Peter Weiss are also names to note. Riverford Organic Foods, Lucy Choi London and Miss Mila are new clients.

TLT advises a number of high-profile domestic and international franchise mandates. The highly recommended Perran Jervis is advising WHSmith on its nationwide roll-out of a new convenience store using franchising model as a way of expansion, and is assisting with obtaining accreditation from the British Franchise Association. Bill Hull is advising a major supermarket chain on a franchising and wholesale agreement with a large petrol station owner and operator, and Manchester-based Pauline Cowie recently assisted a luxury childrenswear brand and a British household retailer on their expansion in Europe. Merlin Entertainments, Jane Norman International and Peacocks Stores are also clients. All individuals mentioned above are based in Bristol unless stated otherwise.

Travers Smith LLP has a solid record in both domestic and international franchising with Ben Chivers and Dan Reavill at the fore. Reavill and senior associate James Longster advised Pret a Manger on a new franchise arrangement with Welcome Break to expand its offering to motorway service stations; assisted new client Mathnasium, a US-based provider of private tutorial services, on the launch of its franchise network in the UK; and advised Caffè Nero on its network of overseas franchises, including a new franchise arrangement with BTA in Croatia. Chivers counts Pinewood Shepperton, LK Bennett and Gaucho among his franchising clients.

Franchising boutique firm David Bigmore & Co in Association with Goodman Derrick LLP is representing a number of franchisees and franchisors in misrepresentation and breach of contracts claims, and is advising a broad range of companies using franchising as a means of international expansion. Representative clients include The Shell Petroleum Company, Spaghetti Maths, Bluestone Logistics and Prime Healthcare Services. David Bigmore is the main contact.

Norwich-based firm Leathes Prior advises franchisors operating across the UK and internationally, and advises franchisees on all aspects of matters relating to their entries into franchise agreements. Its recent highlights include advising Bens, a Budgens Retailer franchisee, on the sale of two stores, and acting for Even More Thought for Food on the sale of its store and renewal of two of its other stores with Budgens. Mike Barlow heads the team and has notable experience in franchising disputes. In 2016, Barlow assisted a sports school with a range of regulatory issues concerning its franchise network, and advised on multiple franchise acquisitions and a series of contractual disputes. Consultant Jonathan Chadd is ‘calm and sensible, with a vast knowledge of franchise law’.

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