The ‘exceptional' team at Bird & Bird LLP is adept at advising high-profile global clients on sophisticated strategies to support their international expansion. It has a strong track record advising schools on their establishment in overseas markets. In addition, it handles the set up of social franchises. Dispute resolution is another core pillar of the offering; a key name in this space is Victoria Hobbs, who acts for clients in the hotel and leisure industry, as well as those in the food and beverage sector. Mark Abell is recommended for international franchising work in sectors such as education, retail and healthcare. He co-heads the practice with Graeme Payne, who assists consumer-focused businesses with their expansion plans. Associate Nick Green is recommended for advice on franchising, distribution and agency agreements.
Franchising in London
Graeme Payne; Mark Abell
Other key lawyers:
Victoria Hobbs; Shelley Nadler; Nick Green
‘Their knowledge, expertise and flexibility are second to none.’
‘We are extremely happy with the relationship we have with them, which spans many different areas of our business.’
‘They are extremely connected and are able to handle complex multidisciplinary issues across their team in a joined up and consolidated manner.’
‘Exceptional across the board.’
‘Bird & Bird were fantastic from start to finish and we felt very comfortable with their support throughout.’
‘Mark Abell’s experience in the space was a true value-add to our negotiations.’
‘Victoria Hobbs applies practical, commercial considerations in her advice and approach.’
‘We are impressed by the knowledge of the franchise team which is well balanced by their experience representing both franchisees and franchisors.’
IWG (formerly Regus)
Franchise Brands (ChipsAway, Ovenclean, Metro Rod, Barking Mad)
O2 franchisee network
The Vurger Co
- Following the 2019 restructuring of the Mothercare business, the firm drafted and negotiated the UK and Ireland Boots franchise arrangement on Mothercare’s behalf.
- Advising IWG plc (formerly Regus plc) on its international franchising and licensing arrangements, most recently helping the business build and develop a comprehensive franchise offering in the UK, EU, Asia and Africa.
- Advising and supporting Pret a Manger on key international franchise partnership arrangements, including travel hubs across the US, UK, Europe and the Middle East.
Fieldfisher's ‘highly knowledgeable’ team has considerable experience of advising domestic and international clients on the global expansion of franchise networks. The multidisciplinary team, which is jointly led by David Bond and Gordon Drakes, draws on strengths from a number of areas, including corporate and commercial, competition, dispute resolution, IP and tax and employment. Bond handles franchise and licence structures for clients in the retail, hotel and leisure, education, healthcare and food and beverage sectors. Drakes is experienced in advising foreign brands on entry into the UK and EU markets. Senior associate Vicky Reinhardt is dual-qualified in Germany and England and Wales; she is recommended for advice on commercial contracts.
David Bond; Gordon Drakes
Other key lawyers:
Andrew Dodd; James Corlett; Vicky Reinhardt
‘David Bond and Vicky Reinhardt provided clear, concise, and pragmatic advice.’
‘Gordon Drakes is pragmatic and commercial.’
‘David Bond is very detailed and fantastic to work with. He is highly experienced and knowledgeable.’
‘Vicky Reinhardt is a strong technical lawyer.’
‘They forge positive and trusting relationships, and act professionally and in the client’s best interests at all times.’
‘A real focus on developing positive relationships and standout specialist knowledge of international markets and related legal matters.’
St Paul’s Girls’ School
Boparan Restaurants (Giraffe, Ed’s Easy Diner, Carluccio’s, Cinnamon Collection, Slim Chickens)
- Advised hotel group, Starboard Hotels on its entry into the delivery food and beverage sector with its acquisition of 28 Pizza Hut delivery stores from Yum! and a development agreement for further expansion.
- Advised BVC Group – owner of the Crème bakery brand – on its first international franchise deals in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Germany.
- Supporting EL&N – the “most instragammable café in the world” – expand throughout Europe and the Middle East.
Hamilton Pratt, which focuses exclusively on franchise-related matters, fields a ‘professional and pragmatic’ team, which is ably led by well-known industry figure John Pratt. Reflective of the firm's standing in the market, it acts for 35% of the full members of the British Franchise Association. Pratt assists clients with a range of matters, including the preparation of franchise (and related) agreements, as well as UK and EU competition law issues. His team also includes James Barrett, who specialises in franchise disputes, such as those involving breaches of contract, pre-contractual statements, IP issues and matters connected with the Trading Schemes Act. Nick Seddon focuses on corporate transactions. Barbara Lock is also a key individual in the group.
John Pratt; James Barrett; Nick Seddon
Other key lawyers:
‘Their industry knowledge and people skills are second to none.’
‘Legal agreements prepared by Hamilton Pratt have instant credibility with the BFA, banks and other franchise lawyers, which in turn reflects positively on the client’s business.’
‘Heavily engaged in the ever-changing franchise industry, whether that’s best practice or legislation.’
‘John Pratt doesn’t hide behind his team, he is always available to clients for a chat and you don’t get the feeling of being sidelined to a junior associate.’
‘I genuinely believe John Pratt has a real interest in his clients and their businesses and billing is just something they have to do.’
‘Hamilton Pratt as a practice are active in the franchise world, understand what’s going on and remain well informed.’
‘The core of the business is franchising, but they have built additional services, such as M&A advice, which enhances the value of the business to clients.’
Lift Brands/Snap Fitness
- Assisting NKD Pizza International Limited with its worldwide expansion plans.
- Advising Belvoir Property Management (UK) Limited on the terms of and impact on the franchise network of a strategic alliance with Nottingham Building Society.
- Acting for Boots Opticians Professional Services Limited in relation to a dispute.
Dentons acts for a range of top international brands, leveraging its global network to assist with cross-border franchising arrangements. Key areas of work for the team include data privacy, commercial contracts, competition, compliance and disputes. Babette Märzheuser-Wood (who works across the firm's London, Warsaw and Düsseldorf offices) advises on international franchising, area development and master franchise agreements. Anna Copeman is recommended for trade marks, franchising and brand licensing work. Ross Nicol handles non-contentious IP and IT matters. Tim Constable is a name to note for franchise disputes.
Anna Copeman; Ross Nicol; Babette Märzheuser-Wood
Other key lawyers:
‘Babette is gifted at coordinating cross-border teams and sourcing the best (and often the most economical) advisers from the Dentons global network.’
‘Babette ensures that the team is focused on commercially-driven outcomes and is dedicated to positive results for her clients.’
‘Billing is always fair and reasonable.’
‘Babette and her team have a genuine interest in understanding our business and partnering with us to ensure they are advising on realistic aspects of work for us and not academic and improbable issues.’
‘The team are pragmatic, commercially-minded and exceptional at collaborating with the business.’
Avis Budget Group
The Avocado Show
- Acted for M&S in respect of all its international and UK franchising work, and many other brand licensing matters.
- Acted for the Virgin Group for over 20 years, advising on trade mark licensing and intellectual property-related disputes.
- Acting for Avis Budget Group across the world on both daily operational matters, including drafting precedent franchise and ancillary agreements, competition law, intellectual property, privacy, contractual dispute resolution with franchisees, agents and suppliers; as well as largescale M&A transactions resulting in the acquisition of competitor brands and the re-structuring of their distribution network and hotly contested class action litigation.
The franchising team at Owen White is ‘exceptional in every respect’ and handles both contentious and non-contentious franchising matters. Its litigation team is notably well-regarded for its strength in high-profile disputes. The practice is led by Jane Masih, who has more than 30 years of experience advising on franchise and master licence agreements (and all related contractual documentation), as well as sales and acquisitions of franchisor networks. Russell Ford is recommended for disputes and the enforcement of restrictive covenants.
Other key lawyers:
Russell Ford; Lynsey Smith
‘The transactional team are second to none and you will not find a more knowledgeable, tenacious and effective litigation team.’
‘Russell Ford knows all there is to know about the sector, understands the legal context and has an excellent creative legal mind.’
‘Lynsey Smith is a force to be reckoned with.’
‘Russell Ford is, in my view, one of the best franchising lawyers in the business bringing decades of commercial and legal experience to every case.’
‘The Owen White team deliver a very personalised service; efficient, friendly and experienced.’
‘I challenge anyone to find something Jane Masih does not know about franchising.’
‘The team are always approachable and friendly, taking time to explain the consequences of your choices, options and actions.’
‘Honest, clear, friendly and effective.’
Bluebird Care Franchises Limited
Costa Franchisee Association
Puro Ventures Limited t/a Speedy Freight
Energie Fitness Clubs
Cash Gen UK Limited
Ecocleen Services Limited
- Assisted Dwyer (UK Franchising) Limited t/a Drain Doctor with securing a High Court Injunction and damages awarded against an ex-franchisee who was competing with Drain Doctor.
- Assisted Anytime Fitness with securing a High Court Injunction to enforce restrictive covenants and other post-termination obligations against an ex-franchisee who was competing with a well known fitness brand.
- Advised the Clarks Franchisee Association (CIFA) on the proposed amendments to the Clarks Franchise Agreement.
Stevens & Bolton LLP acts for franchisors, multi-unit operators, master franchisees and franchisee on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. The practice is active in the retail, food and beverage, education and care sectors and handles franchising disputes, including litigation, international brand expansion, brand management, e-commerce and property issues. Nicola Broadhurst, who heads up the team, handles a range of commercial matters and international expansion through franchising, licensing, agency and distribution. Tom Lingard is a name to note for IP and litigation.
Other key lawyers:
Sarah Murray; Andrew Steele; Helen Wheddon; Tom Lingard
‘Nicola Boradhurst is great at understanding the trade-offs of legal issues with practical issues affecting growth companies.’
British Franchise Association
C. & J. Clark International Ltd (Clarks Shoes)
COOK Trading Ltd
Cookie Dough Franchise Ltd
Immersive Group Gaming Ltd
Monkey Music Ltd
Papa John’s (GB) Ltd
Pepe’s Piri Piri Ltd
Pizza Hut Restaurants Ltd
Razzamataz Theatre Schools Ltd
- Undertaking a comprehensive review of Monkey Music Ltd’s various franchise agreement templates and amending these to accommodate for changes in practice and the latest changes in the law, as well as advising on resales in the franchised network.
- Advising Razzamataz Theatre Schools Ltd on the adaptation of its theatre schools from a physical format delivery to an online delivery whilst Covid-19 restrictions were in force, including preparing new terms and conditions of business and set up issues together with communications to the franchise network.
- Advising Papa John’s (GB) Ltd on its sponsorship of MK Dons football team and the acquisition of the concession right to operate a branded kiosk at Stadium MK (the first time the concession right has been licenced out).
‘Very responsive, knowledgeable and nimble firm’ Ashtons Legal acts for franchisors, master licences and franchise developers, both domestically and internationally. It helps clients expand overseas and also assists overseas clients with expanding into the UK. Team head Damian Humphrey handles international mandates for leading brands. Also recommended is John Chambers, who has over 25 years of experience in franchising. Barrister Tom Bailey is a franchising litigator with experience in mediation.
Other key lawyers:
John Chambers; Tom Bailey; Tracy Williamson
‘We can always rely on Ashtons to be able to offer advice and support in areas other than franchising, both business and private client.’
‘I have no hesitation in recommending the team at Ashtons to anyone.’
‘The franchising team in Norwich is exceptional, with specific mention to John Chambers, Damian Humphrey and Tracy Williamson.’
‘They are all great in their chosen sector, approachable and business-minded.’
‘Relationships are superb, customer service is outstanding and expertise is top notch.’
‘Not only do I respect the expertise that the individuals are bringing to the table, I genuinely like the people I deal with and enjoy their company.’
‘Damian Humphrey is always available and provides sound practical advice.’
Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries
Oscar Pet Foods
Radfield Home Care
School is Easy Inc
- Advising international franchised gym business on Future Fund convertible loan investment and related transactions.
- Advising Snowflake Gelato on the granting of rights to a multi-site developer into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- Advising Auction House on ways of implementing contentious changes into their franchise system which involved particular advice from a leading QC, advising on Manual changes and on franchisee negotiations.
Scotland-based firm Harper Macleod LLP acts for both franchisors and franchisees on a range of matters, including franchise development agreements, corporate franchising transactions and dispute resolution. Key client sectors include retail, food and drink, healthcare, property and charity. The practice is no stranger to cross-border work and is experienced in assisting franchisors based in Malaysia, the US, UAE and Europe. David Kaye has over 20 years of experience in advising franchisors, master franchisees and franchisees.
Other key lawyers:
Barrhead Travel Service
Energie Fitness ( Claymore )
Snap Fitness ( Twenty Two Yards)
German Doner Kebab
Rainbow Room International
- Acting for Chicken Cottage Global Limited on a retainer arrangement in the UK and overseas.
- Acting for this Singapore-based Yogabellies franchise system, which has recently pivoted its franchise into a licence model.
- Acting for the owner of franchise brands such as “German Doner Kebab” and “Chopaluna”, and recently completed a £1.5m investment into Hawaiian poke franchise business, Island Poke Limited.
Mishcon de Reya LLP is known in the market for its work in the retail, restaurant and hotel sectors. The practice advises UK and international clients on franchise-related M&A, brand clearance and trade mark protection. It has recently seen an uptick in instructions relating to hotel franchising and management agreements. Lewis Cohen, who heads up the international franchising and brand extension group, is recommended for international franchising programmes.
Other key lawyers:
‘The Mishcon team is business-oriented, with a good sense of client needs.’
‘Mishcon are the perfect firm if you have a complex matter which needs a solution.’
‘We worked with Lewis Cohen and he was down to earth and also had a good business mindset.’
HotPod Yoga Limited
Al Mana Lifestyle Trading LLC
Al Mana Fashion Group
SCT5 Holdings/Sidra Capital
Rockline Athletics Limited
Ben’s Bus Limited
- Advising Topland on its substantial and complex arrangement with Hilton, for which Hilton was appointed as the hotel manager of Hilton Brighton Metropole, the landmark Brighton seafront hotel.
- Advising Sidra Capital on hotel management and franchise agreements.
- Advised Rockline on its major international exclusive franchise/licence to operate well-known (Iron Man) branded triathlon events throughout the CIS Region
Boddy Matthews Limited handles a range of contentious and non-contentious franchising matters for brands nationally and globally. Its key areas of focus include risk auditing, commercial strategy advice on franchise agreements and renewals, and franchising disputes. Team head Kate Matthews is experienced in franchising transactions and litigation.
Pepes Piri Piri Limited
Babyballet Franchising Limited (re Greenwich)
LK Woking Limited t/a Little Kickers Woking
Babyballet Franchising Limited (re Omskirk)
Matthew Corner – Maplebrook Wills Limited
Ryan Evans as Personal Guarantor to Evans Design and Build Ltd.- In-Toto Kitchens Limited Franchisee
R and D Real Estate Limited t/a Century 21
AUM Care Limited t/a Surecare
E. Bates t/a Little Kickers Reading and Wokingham
- Advised Babyballet the franchisor on its multimillion pound franchisee business network operating under the brand name.
- Acting for franchisor Caremark on employee matters affecting the franchise brand.
- Acted for LK Woking Limited trading as Little Kickers Woking on alleged breaches of brand obligations and resale of franchise business.
DLA Piper acts for a range of household names on commercial matters and contract reviews. Global co-chair of the hospitality and leisure practice Matthew Duncombe heads the team and is well versed in acting for hotel clients. The practice combines expertise in real estate, restructuring and private equity to provide franchising advice to international clients.
‘The practice sits on years of worldwide experience in the area of franchising; for a rapidly expanding globally operating franchise business it is essential to tap into this knowledge base.’
‘They do not only share their legal knowledge, but also practical and commercial experiences.’
Merlin / Madame Tussauds
- Advised new client Selecta TMP AG and other affiliates within the Selecta group of companies (Selecta) (European unattended self-service retailers providing coffee and convenience foods in the workplace and public spaces) on the extension of their partnership with Nestlé UK Ltd (Nestlé).
- Assisting Marriott International on regulatory compliance relating to its entry into the home sharing market.
- Recently appointed by Dyson to assist then with the roll out of a Dyson store concept across Europe.
Freeths LLP advises franchisors on commercial contracts, IP, real estate, disputes, employment and competition matters. It has been acting for large and smaller brands for a number of years. The team's work spans the retail, manufacturing, food and drink and hospitality sectors, among others. Iain Bowler heads up the group.
Other key lawyers:
Philippa Dempster; Charlotte Rees-John; Andrew Maxwell; Rebecca Howlett; Nigel Gardner; Guy Winfield; Frank Suttie
‘Freeths focuses on common sense law – solutions to problems rather than legal jargon.’
‘Iain Bowler is a first-class operator who solves problems.’
- Acting as Costa’s preferred legal providers for all employee relations advice from advising on day to day employment matters, together with supporting on complex project work relating to their significant portfolio of UK stores and franchises.
- Assisted QFM with managing its operation during the Covid pandemic, one of the single most challenging periods of trading the business has faced, particularly in relation to the complex regulations relating to the closure and reopening of non-essential businesses and the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.
Under the leadership of Maninder Gill, Simons Muirhead Burton continues to act for a range of high-profile brands in the publishing, education, luxury retail, fashion and hospitality sectors. Areas of focus include franchising disputes, IP rights and commercial contracts. The practice is experienced in assisting brands with expanding their franchise networks, both domestically and internationally.
Alex Shurko/Reading Flooring Company Ltd
Riverford Organic Foods
ETM Restaurant and Bars Group
John Scott – Franchise Consultant (Ex-Franchising Director, Debenhams and then TM Lewin Shirtmakers)
Simon Taylor – Franchise Consultant (Ex-Franchise Director, New Look)
- Advised Dennis Publishing on licensing and franchising deals internationally and on disputes and termination of franchises in Australia.
- Advised Riverford on sale and franchising agreements, renewal and release agreements, compliance with data protection legislation, and compliance with the British Franchising Institute’s code of conduct.