bannerGrowing a Franchise

Top Franchise Lawyers: Alexander G. Tuneski of DLA Piper Global Law Firm

1851 Franchise’s annual compilation of great franchise attorneys.

851 interviewed DLA Piper Global Law Firm’s Alexander G. Tuneski about the state of franchising, what makes a franchise attorney awesome and his advice for growth-minded franchisors.

About Alexander G. Tuneski:

Alexander G. Tuneski of DLA Piper Global Law Firm has practiced franchise law for 17 years in a wide variety of industries. Tuneski has represented domestic and international franchisors of all sizes, from start-ups to mature publicly traded companies. DLA Piper boasts the largest and most acclaimed franchise practice in the world. 

Tuneski’s franchise group represents many of the most recognizable franchise brands, as well as some of the most promising emerging franchise brands. With lawyers in over 25 cities in the United States and over 40 countries, DLA Piper is uniquely positioned to help franchise clients with all of their legal needs around the world.

About DLA Piper (from firm’s website):

DLA Piper is a global law firm with lawyers located in more than 40 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, positioning us to help clients with their legal needs around the world.


We strive to be the leading global business law firm by delivering quality and value to our clients.


We achieve this through practical and innovative legal solutions that help our clients succeed. We deliver consistent services across our platform of practices and sectors in all matters we undertake.


Our clients range from multinational, Global 1000, and Fortune 500 enterprises to emerging companies developing industry-leading technologies. They include more than half of the Fortune 250 and nearly half of the FTSE 350 or their subsidiaries. We also advise governments and public sector bodies.

1851 Franchise: What drew you to franchise law and what are some of the things you like about working in the field?

Alexander G. Tuneski: I was drawn to franchise law because I liked the idea of working together with clients to build brands and expand their businesses. There are few things more professionally rewarding than helping a franchise concept grow from a few units to a system comprised of hundreds of successful franchisees.

I love the variety of franchisor clients and the variety of issues that they face. On any given day, I may be working with restaurant, hotel, education, fitness or service concepts at various stages of development on a wide range of franchising, trademark, labor, privacy, real estate or M&A matters. It makes every day interesting and enjoyable.

1851: What is something you think every franchisor should know about franchising?

Tuneski: There are few things more important than building a solid foundation as you develop your franchise system. This means developing and using top-notch disclosure documents, agreements, manuals and processes from day one. 

Cutting corners early on can impede growth, reduce the value and attractiveness of your franchise system in the eyes of potential investors and lead to costly disputes. It is much more expensive to try to fix issues later on than it is to make the investment to do it right the first time.

1851: What is something you think every prospective franchisee should know about franchising before diving into the industry?

Tuneski: While established franchisors offer tried and true systems, franchisees should understand that there’s no such thing as a sure thing. Even the best franchise concepts require good locations, great employees and excellent management for units to be successful. Franchisees should take their time to thoroughly review disclosure documents, research markets and potential locations and develop a comprehensive business plan before deciding to move forward with the purchase of a franchise. To be successful, it is critical to start with reasonable expectations, the right team and a realistic plan.

1851: What do you expect to see as a result of the new NLRB joint-employer ruling?

Tuneski: There is no question that recent NLRB rulings and rules issued by the Department of Labor are positive developments for franchising. However, the joint-employer issue has become a politicized one. As administrations change, it is quite likely that the joint-employer standards will shift again. As a result, franchisors should continue to be cognizant of joint-employer concerns, recognizing that what may be acceptable today may not be acceptable in the near future.

1851: What do you see as the biggest or most interesting topic in franchising over the next year and why?

Tuneski: How California AB-5 will be implemented and/or amended is the most interesting issue in franchising. As a result of this bill, it is much more likely that a franchisor could be deemed to be an employer of a franchisee’s employees in California, potentially threatening the viability of the franchise industry in California. 

As similar bills are proposed at the federal level and in other states, the hope is that the franchise community will be able to convince legislators that franchising should be exempted from such bills, which are primarily intended to regulate the gig economy. I expect that this will remain a hot topic for years to come.