1851 Interviews the Highest Profile Attorneys in Franchising
Name: Harris Chernow
Firm: Reger Rizzo & Darnall
About Reger Rizzo & Darnall: Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP is a firm of dedicated, aggressive, practical attorneys, each of whom has solid experience in his or her area of practice. We have been delivering cost-effective, results-oriented representation to corporate and individual clients for more than 25 years. Now numbering more than 40 attorneys, we have built our practice and our reputation on comprehensive and efficient handling of projects, cases and transactions. Our commitment to excellence has allowed us to continually recruit top-tier talent, expand service offerings, and open additional offices throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, including Philadelphia and West Chester, PA; Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, DE; Mt. Laurel, NJ; Towson, MD; and White Plains, NY.
1851: How did you fall into franchising?
Chernow: It was pure happenstance. A colleague, many years ago in Philadelphia, referred me (for some unknown reason, but thankful) a client that was having an issue with his franchise and from obtaining an excellent result for that client, one thing led to another and next thing I knew, I was studying and practicing franchise law and since then, became fully immersed in practicing as a franchise lawyer.
1851: What do you love most about franchising?
Chernow: The diversity of the people involved with franchising, from the franchisees to the franchisor executives, the lawyers (yes, really! OK , for the most part), the fact that franchising transcends just about every business industry and that you get to see aspects of your practice every day – whether it’s walking to lunch, driving with the family or traveling abroad. You name it, franchising is everywhere
1851: What makes a great client?
Chernow: In my opinion, a great client can be many things: one that has full faith and trust in the lawyer and heeds his/her advice and those that not only have full faith and trust in their lawyer, but at the same time question the lawyer and want to understand the advice being given in order to fully comprehend both the business and legal aspects of the matter at hand in order to make an informed decision on how to proceed (which at times maybe contrary to the legal advice).
1851: What makes a great franchise attorney?
Chernow: It’s not just the knowledge of the franchise attorney, but it’s also how he/she conducts oneself with the clients, advisories and others. A great franchise lawyer listens and tries his or her best to determine the real goals and objectives of the client and overcome the client's emotional and/or unrealistic goals and objectives. However, there is a fine line in trying to determine what are unrealistic goals and objectives (more so in transactional matters). Is a lawyer the one to tell the client that his/her/its goals aren’t realistic for a business project? A great lawyer will express the opinion, but at the same time will not be the one to make that decision. How many of us have clients that we thought were going to fail and are now some of our most successful clients? Most clients will appreciate your efforts and opinions so long as they are well grounded with good intentions and you provide clear and concise explanation/rationale for the recommended actions to be taken. We are advisors. Earn the trust of the client – not simply the monetary engagement.