1851 Interviews the Highest Profile Attorneys in Franchising
Name: Amy Cheng
Firm: Cheng Cohen
About Cheng Cohen: We established Cheng Cohen in 2007 with a simple credo that is anything but common: we will provide uncompromising client service and sound, practical legal advice to franchise and distribution clients for a fair and reasonable fee. And we set a single, simple goal: to be the franchise industry’s full-service boutique law firm.
Nine years later, in the age of “the selfie,” we thought it an appropriate time for a little self-examination and to see just how are we measuring up.
The US News and World Report’s 2016 listing of the Best Law Firms again ranks Cheng Cohen in Tier 1 Nationwide for Franchising. Cheng Cohen has also been recognized by Chambers & Partners USA as a leader in the Franchising category and the 2012 edition specifically recommended Cheng Cohen for both Client Service (one of only six firms) and Commercial Awareness (one of only four firms). We were one of only two firms recommended in both categories and the only boutique firm so honored in either category. Our attorneys have earned Lawyer of the Year and have been invited to serve in thought-leadership positions on various industry committees and associations. And every one of our partners has been recognized as a Legal Eagle by Franchise Times.
1851: How did you fall into franchising?
Cheng: After law school I decided to move to Chicago for personal reasons. Although I had a job in Washington D.C., I interviewed for a corporate position at Rudnick & Wolfe (now DLA Piper) and was offered the opportunity to be part of the franchise team. That was 20 years ago. I took the job and the rest is history!
1851: What do you love most about franchising?
Cheng: I love being able to work closely with clients to grow their business. It is so exciting to have worked with some of my clients for 20 years and seen systems grow from a few units to hundreds or thousands of units. I really feel like I am a partner with my clients. The franchise community is also like no other. It is a community filled with people who are truly generous with their time and knowledge. The support that I have received throughout my career from clients, colleagues and even competitors is incredible. Without all this community, Cheng Cohen would not have been able to celebrate its 10th year anniversary this year.
1851: What makes a great client?
Cheng: A great client understands that we can bring value to the business and involves us to make decisions that may impact the growth of a system. And even more importantly, a great client is someone that you trust and someone that trusts you.
1851: What makes a great franchise attorney?
Cheng: A good franchise attorney understands the client’s goals and helps the client achieve those goals. Our job is not to get in the way of a transaction but to facilitate the transaction. In order to do so, we have to understand the client’s business and the client’s goals. A good franchise attorney understands the impact its counsel may have on the business and understands that you cannot give legal advice in a vacuum.