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From Co-Op To Attorney, Spadea Lignana’s Cameron McKinley Has Been Focused on Building Strong Client Relationships Since Law School

Cameron McKinley built a strong foundation with Spadea Lignana and hasn’t looked back.

By Andrea Jablonski1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSOREDUpdated 11:11AM 04/20/21

Cameron McKinley has been helping franchise owners successfully achieve their business goals with Spadea Lignana since he was in law school. Over the years, as he’s graduated from co-op to attorney, McKinley has worked with both seasoned franchise owners and those whose businesses are just budding. 

Founded by Tom Spadea, a former franchise broker and salesperson himself, the elite franchise law firm serves franchisors at the national level. Spadea Lignana’s approach to law is unique in that many of its attorneys have worked in the franchising industry themselves, either at the executive level or as franchise owners. This experience enables the firm to offer its clients real-world solutions to issues that arise in their day-to-day operations. 

McKinley says that Spadea Lignana’s size, as well as Spadea’s own background, attracted him to the firm during his initial search for an internship. As he’s grown with the firm, he says it’s the “entrepreneurial aspect” of his work that has motivated him to stick around. 

“One of the biggest things for me was the size of the firm. With the way it's set up, it’s not like a typical law firm — we have more of a collaborative atmosphere,” said McKinley. “Tom’s specific background in franchising stood out to me as well. A lot of times the people higher up don’t have that direct experience, and working with him has helped me grow my own career and provide more value to my clients. I would also say the entrepreneurial aspect of working for a smaller firm really stood out to me too. I was basically handed a book of established clients to work with and to build relationships with.” 

Building strong connections with his clients is something McKinley takes great pride in, and his approach to client relationships is simple: be as hands-on as possible to understand clients’ business goals and to help them feel comfortable in their journey toward creating success. 

“The most important thing for me is providing value to clients from the beginning. The legal process can be overwhelming to new franchisors, and I want to dig right in and guide them through it,” said McKinley. “I’m here for them to lean on, making sure they’re getting everything done they need to get done. It can be overwhelming, and I aim to reduce that feeling and make sure the client doesn’t need to feel like they're on their own as they navigate the whole system.”

Spadea Lignana divides its attorneys into pods, which are made up of a group of paralegals led by an experienced franchise attorney. This unique setup allows the firm to offer its clients multiple pillars of support in their representation — meaning nothing gets overlooked. McKinley himself is a pod leader and represents an array of client concepts, operating as what he says is a “touchpoint” for clients who don’t yet know what they’re comfortable with.

“On a daily basis we have multiple franchisor clients, and for each client, we focus on answering any questions as to how they’ll be protected. Between myself and two paralegals, we are the touchpoints for clients who aren’t really sure about what they’re comfortable with. The paralegals take care of the more day-to-day practices like responding to dates on franchise disclosure documents, while I’m the one primarily involved in putting together documents like FDD and franchise agreement drafting.” 

McKinley notes that it's not just the collaborative, team-oriented environment that makes Spadea Lignana a firm to celebrate, but the diverse backgrounds of every attorney that makes him that much more passionate about his experience.

“We all come from different backgrounds, and that’s really helped us. That collaborative space provides multiple different perspectives in everything we do. It’s a really good place to be in.”

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