1851 Interviews the Highest Profile Attorneys in Franchising
Name: Kitt Shipe
Firm: Shipe Dosik Law
About Shipe Dosik Law: Shipe Dosik Law provides high-value legal services, and have helped numerous businesses launch successful franchise programs. Kitt Shipe and Pete Dosik are both former in-house lawyers to franchisors, with a combined total of almost 40 years of experience. Because we understand the needs of business owners and franchisors, we’re able to deliver practical, value-oriented solutions. We also act as general legal counsel to several franchise companies and handle business transactions such as company formation, contracts, buying/selling business units, intellectual property, finance, and real estate.
1851: How did you fall into franchising?
Shipe: I always knew I wanted to be the type of attorney that helped clients build things that they were excited about. After law school, I started in the corporate department of a large Atlanta firm with a sophisticated practice where I could have honed my skills in almost any area of corporate law. In my first year out of law school, I was recruited for the franchise team. The senior franchise attorney that I worked for at that time literally wrote the book on franchise law, and has an amazing enthusiasm and dedication to this area of the law that rubbed off on me. I also found that I enjoyed working with small to mid-sized business owners, and found it much more interesting and colorful than public company work. I was finally hooked by attending the annual forum on franchising, a forum that is held each year by the American Bar Association. The franchise bar is truly a collegial and helpful group of attorneys.
1851: What do you love most about franchising?
Shipe: I enjoy learning about all of the new and exciting businesses that people invent, and the creative ways that people discover to make a living. At its essence, franchising is about innovation and entrepreneurship. Purchasing a franchise usually represents a big change in someone’s life – leaving a steady paycheck and putting everything on the line to become a small business owner with all of its risks. But these risks are hedged by the fact that most franchisors offer a proven business model. These days there are literally hundreds of ways to be a successful small business owner through franchising. I love watching the American dream play itself out over and over again, and being a part of the process.
1851: What makes a great client?
Shipe: A great client is devoted to building a great business and values the contributions that everybody makes towards that goal. When the client values the contributions from their people, from their franchisees, from their lawyers and other outside consultants and vendors, they are a pleasure and an inspiration to work for.
1851: What makes a great franchise attorney?
Shipe: A great franchise attorney recognizes the difference between the big and small issues, and can communicate the issues clearly and concisely. Developing these skills usually involves years of experience. Being on the front line as in-house counsel for several large franchise brands, and seeing the language of franchise contracts play-out in a multitude of real life situations, can be incredibly helpful. In addition, great franchise attorneys understand the ever-growing need to be efficient in our current economic environment. Very few business leaders do not strive to do things the “ right way” and do what is needed to mitigate legal risk. But these days, executives have less and less time to divert from the day-to-day management issues. A great franchise attorney gives concise, practical and meaningful advice, and makes legal processes simpler through streamlined documents and leveraging technology.