Name: Beata Krakus
Firm: Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C.
About Your Firm: Our law firm of more than 160 attorneys focuses on comprehensively addressing the legal needs of businesses, organizations and individuals in all industries. Founded in 1895, Greensfelder has expanded to become one of the region’s largest law firms, with offices in St. Louis, Chicago and downstate Illinois. We represent clients across the nation and the globe, partnering with them to learn their businesses inside and out and efficiently provide legal services of the highest quality.
What makes your firm stand out as a resource for the franchise industry?
We strive to provide pragmatic, practical advice and put our clients’ business needs in focus. A good solution to a problem is one that accomplishes the client’s business needs, while obviously complying with the law. We also pride ourselves on the close working relationships between our franchise transactional lawyers and our franchise litigators. Transactional lawyers and litigators often have different perspectives, and working together we can often resolve franchisor-franchisee disputes early.
What is the No. 1 thing a franchisor/franchisee should look for when identifying the right franchise attorney?
Make sure you pick somebody who truly understands franchise law and treats you and your business seriously. If you are new to franchising and you’re looking for somebody to help you with the preparation and registration of your first FDD, consider asking how many comments and how many comment letters you can expect to get on the first submission of the FDD from states such as California, Illinois and Maryland. The answer will tell you a little bit about how much effort the lawyer is putting in to making sure your FDD truly complies with applicable law.
When it comes to your work, what makes you happiest?
When you can truly help a client! You can tell, talking to a client, when you have helped make manageable what felt overwhelming. For franchisors who are new to the game, it may be to make sure that they have easy-to-use franchise compliance tools and that their team gets the right training. For more experienced franchisors, it may be providing a creative solution to an issue they didn’t think they would be able to overcome. For clients growing internationally it may be helping them navigate not only legal, but also business cultural issues.
What are your top concerns for the franchise industry in the next year?
Franchisors will really need to make sure they understand how the new FASB revenue recognition rules will affect them. Franchisors may benefit from thinking about how they structure initial fees and may in general have to spend some time thinking about their fee structure.
What are you most optimistic about in the franchise industry in the next year?
Franchising seems to be humming along nicely right now. Some industries are experiencing almost explosive growth (parts of the entertainment industry, for example), but in general there seems to be steady growth in many sectors in which franchising is a popular growth model.