bannerGrowing a Franchise

Top Franchise Lawyers: Brian Lincer of Internicola Law Firm

1851 Franchise’s annual compilation of great franchise attorneys.

In 2012 partners Brian Lincer and Charles Internicola founded Internicola Law* Firm with the explicit intent to help businesses grow. Beyond providing legal counsel, the firm has developed a suite of tools and resources specifically for companies and entrepreneurs. 

Lincer’s dedication to supporting business owners is personal and stems from a long family history of entrepreneurship. We spoke with Lincer about growing up in a family of business owners, how franchise law incorporates a variety of specializations and why the NLRB’s joint-employer ruling may not be the final word.

1851 Franchise: What drew you to franchise law?

Brian Lincer: I come from a long line of business owners, going back many generations. My father, his father and two of my uncles owned a grocery store in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up, I worked with my father at the store and learned how much time, effort and innovation go into making a business successful. I also realized how important their business attorney was to that process. Since then, I have been drawn to entrepreneurship in general and to business law specifically. 

After college, I found a job at a small law firm that represented a handful of franchise brands. I was and still am amazed at the potential franchising provides for small business owners. Franchising gives businesses like my father's grocery store the ability to grow into multinational household names. Being a franchise attorney allows me to be a part of that journey with those business owners, and I cannot imagine doing anything else.

1851: What drew you to franchise law, and what do you enjoy about working in the field?

Lincer: In addition to getting to work with some of the most amazing and innovative entrepreneurs, what really drew me to franchise law is the fact that it encompasses so many other areas of law, such as trademark law, contract law, real estate law, employment and labor law and insurance law. 

There is never a dull moment at work, and working with various disciplines of law gives me new and exciting opportunities from which I can learn and grow both personally and professionally. I look forward to going to work. It is not a daily grind for me, it's a passion I am blessed to have. 

1851: What is something every franchisor should know about franchise law?

Lincer: From a legal perspective, I think the most important thing franchisors need to remember is that it is so important to maintain leverage when it comes to a relationship with franchisees. What I mean by that is, if there is some type of legal violation that taints the process, whether inadvertently or on purpose, the franchisor puts the franchisee in the driver's seat, and the franchisee will get to dictate the relationship from that point forward. As a franchisor, in order to grow the brand and maintain consistency, it is essential that the franchisor controls the relationship. Franchise law is complex in that you are dealing with many areas of law in many jurisdictions. It is so important to pay attention to details and make sure you maintain control of the relationship. I have seen many systems fail as a result of this, and in most instances, it could have been avoided with the right guidance.

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

Lincer: I think the biggest issue for many struggling franchisees is that their expectations of the franchisor's responsibilities are off base. Many franchisees who do not fare well rely on the franchisor too heavily, and they do not do what it takes to develop their businesses on their own. 

Franchisees have to go into the relationship with the expectation that once training is complete, they will be on their own to drive the business. I would tell a franchisee to assume that the franchisor will not provide any assistance once training is done and that it will be up to them to make their business successful. Most franchisors will provide guidance, and when the franchise relationship works, it is in the franchisor's best interest to make sure that their franchisees are successful.

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

Lincer: Unfortunately, I think that most of the politicians and judges who are involved with making these types of decisions do not truly understand what the franchisor-franchisee relationship consists of because they were never involved with any business or franchise. It is kind of ridiculous to think that a franchisee's employees are shared with a franchisor once you understand the dynamics. That being said, I believe that the days of this issue are numbered and we won’t be using the phrase joint-employer in the franchise industry for much longer.

1851: What do you think is the most pressing challenge facing the franchise industry right now?

Lincer: I think the most interesting thing to watch over the next year in franchising will be how the economic climate is impacting the franchise industry. Franchising has been on the upswing along with the rest of the economy, but having a low unemployment rate could have a negative impact on the franchising industry. Not only is it difficult to find qualified employees, but the market for those looking to leave their jobs to venture into franchising may decrease. This is a unique time in our country, both from an economic and political standpoint, and it will be interesting to see how the franchising industry will adapt to it.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.