As part of its annual Franchise Legal Players issue, 1851 profiled the top franchise attorneys in the field to shine a spotlight on the work they do for the franchise industry.
1851: Tell us about your background and your firm.
Bryan Couch, Partner at Connell Foley LLP: Since 1938, Connell Foley has been committed to addressing the needs of clients, employees and the community, and to upholding the highest ethical standards in the practice of law. Today, our full-service team of 140 lawyers continues to earn the loyalty of client businesses through our dedication to their growth and success.
The firm offers a comprehensive range of legal services in both established and emerging areas of law, including alternative dispute resolution, banking, bankruptcy, corporate law, construction, cybersecurity, ERISA, employment and labor, environmental, insurance, professional liability, product liability and toxic torts, real estate and land use, taxation and estate planning, and white collar criminal defense.
Across this spectrum, we counsel startups and closely held businesses, large public and private corporations, financial institutions, insurance companies, nonprofits, government agencies, educational institutions and others as they confront complex legal challenges.
Our lawyers know that an effective strategy requires a keen understanding of each individual business and marketplace. We recognize that clients value not only a successful outcome, but efficiency in its pursuit. And we believe, as we did 80 years ago, in diligent work and a handshake our clients can trust.
Over the years, Connell Foley’s ranks have included retired court judges, appointees to state superior court and government officials, including a former New Jersey state governor. The Supreme Court of New Jersey has designated 12 of our lawyers as certified civil trial attorneys. We have also been honored by the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Trial Advocates and the International Association of Defense Counsel, among others.
Our founders built Connell Foley on the pillars of teamwork, service and loyalty. We are proud to uphold their legacy today, instilling confidence in the relationships we nurture by equating each client’s success with our own
1851: What are some must-ask questions when franchisors and franchisees are vetting potential franchise attorneys?
Couch: The most important question that any franchisor or franchisee can ask is: ‘What is the value that you will bring to our business?’ Value comes in many forms and often depends on what prompted the need for a franchise attorney in the first place. The best franchise attorneys will provide practical and efficient advice that is based on experience in the industry and a commitment to the needs of their clients.
1851: In broad terms, do you have a particular case that stands out to you as an industry learning experience?
Couch: It is very difficult to identify one particular case. As a franchise litigator, you are confronted with myriad issues, each of which often has a seminal case that you learn from in how to best handle a dispute and/or advise your clients. The best industry learning experience is developed through interaction with your clients and adversaries in the industry.
1851: What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
Couch: The most rewarding aspect of my work has been developing long-standing relationships and friendships. This applies both to clients who share a common goal and to adversaries who often do not share a common goal. There is a level of collegiality and respect among franchise attorneys that I have not witnessed in other industries.
1851: What are your top concerns for the franchise industry in the next year?
Couch: Too much regulation, the joint employer issue and the potential for an overall economic slowdown.
1851: What are you most optimistic about in the franchise industry in the next year?
Couch: The potential for the franchise platform to continue to grow into different industries.