1851 Interviews the Highest Profile Attorneys in Franchising
Name: Philip Zeidman
Firm: DLA Piper
About DLA Piper: With lawyers located in more than 30 countries and 76 offices throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, DLA Piper is a global law firm positioned to help companies with their legal needs throughout the world. We have practiced franchising, distribution and related areas of law for more than 40 years. The 20 partners and senior lawyers in our franchising and distribution law group average in excess of 25 years of experience in those fields.
Our clients operate in most of the business sectors that have adopted franchising as a method of distribution. They represent a broad spectrum of size and experience, from entrepreneurs and startup companies to large franchisors, manufacturers and distributors, with networks ranging from dozens to thousands of outlets. We have worked for clients in more than 100 countries and are respected around the world for our experience. Chambers and Partners calls us “The most distinguished player in the franchising area” and “the world’s most recognizable force in franchising,” commenting that DLA Piper “stands in a class of its own.” The International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers singles out 17 of the group’s lawyers for recognition, more than double the number from any other practice. Franchise Times names 17 of our lawyers among its “Legal Eagles” (more than any other firm)—the top franchise lawyers in the US. The publication calls them “super lawyers, the go-to guys and problem solvers who have earned the respect of their peers, clients and advisors.”
Additionally, we serve as General Counsel to the International Franchise Association. We practice franchise and distribution law from offices in Chicago (312-368-4000), Washington, DC (202-799-4000), Northern Virginia (703-773-4000), Atlanta (404-736-7800), San Francisco (415-836-2500), Houston (713-425-8400), and Palo Alto (650-833-2000).
1851: How did you fall into franchising?
Zeidman: While in law school I took courses at the Harvard Business School, one of them on “Management of New Enterprises.” I wrote my term paper on a resort motel my father, a lawyer, had built as an investment. In the course of reading about the industry I came across a reference to a then new phenomenon called “franchising,” and found it tantalizing. A few years later, as General Counsel to the US Small Business Administration, I was forced into service with one day’s notice to speak on franchising at an Annual Conference of the American Bar Association. On a Sunday in August in Miami I assumed I would be speaking to a skeleton crew. Instead, I found a full ballroom. When I later entered private practice, neither of those experiences was lost on me!
1851: What do you love most about franchising?
Zeidman: It's applicability in so many different contexts, crossing boundaries of products, services, countries and cultures.
1851: What makes a great client?
Zeidman: The cynical definition we always heard was “rich, guilty and scared.” The less snarky and more accurate one is “focused, but with a broad perspective. Respectful of his lawyer, but unintimidated and challenging.”
1851: What makes a great franchise attorney?
Zeidman: Curious, dedicated, looking around the next bend. Serious about his client, but not about himself.