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Top Franchise Lawyers: Earsa Jackson of Clark Hill

1851 Franchise’s annual compilation of great franchise attorneys.

One of the largest multidisciplinary law firms in the United States, Clark Hill has more than 650 legal professionals in 25 offices across the country. One of those legal professionals is Earsa Jackson, who leads the firm’s franchise and licensing team.

Jackson draws from 22 years of experience in franchise law, having first been introduced to the specialty by her very first mentor at Clark Hill.

1851 spoke to Jackson about how franchising is a vehicle for the American Dream, the difference between a legal right and smart business, data privacy and the impact of the NLRB’s joint-employer ruling.

About Earsa Jackson (from firm’s website):

Earsa Jackson serves as the Chair for Clark Hill Strasburger's Franchise & Distribution team and the Chair of the firm's Diversity Committee. Earsa structures franchises and assists franchisors with on-going transactional needs.


Earsa also handles litigation matters in the following areas: business and commercial, False Claims Act, business torts, franchise and distribution, trademark infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, contract disputes and probate.


Earsa has written and spoken extensively on franchise issues and is a former Director of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Division for the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising.


Earsa is a Certified Franchise Executive.

About Clark Hill (from firm’s website):

Clark Hill is a multidisciplinary, international law firm that draws on our attorneys’ comprehensive industry and policy knowledge and a global network of industry advisors and subject-matter experts to provide innovative legal solutions and client-service excellence worldwide.

1851 Franchise: How did you first become interested in franchise law?

Earsa Jackson: I was introduced to franchising through my first mentor at Clark Hill. She was handling franchise work and often mentioned her various projects during our time together. This

area of law was fascinating to me. Before then, I had never considered franchise law as an area of specialty. Like most schools, University of Virginia School of Law, where I graduated from, didn’t even offer franchise classes. 

1851: What drew you to franchise law?

Jackson: I was ultimately drawn to franchising by the idea that when franchising works well, it creates a win-win for all involved. It is truly a vehicle by which many can achieve the American Dream.

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

Jackson: Every franchisor should be cognizant of the fact that just because you have a

legal right to do something, that doesn’t mean it makes business sense to do it. That can often be a difficult conversation to have with clients. I try to help clients understand how all of their decisions impact not only the specific franchise relationship in front of them but also their overall system going forward, including things that may trigger a franchise disclosure obligation in the future.

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

Jackson: From the vantage of a franchisee, the best advice is to get to know the system, especially the management team and current franchisees, as well as you can. There is so much about the franchise relationship that requires a leap of faith, but that leap can be taken from a much more solid footing if you’ve done your due diligence.

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

Jackson: I am confident that the pendulum will swing back to a more normal interpretation of joint-employer liability given that franchising covers such a large sector of the economy, creating more than 7 million jobs for the US economy. It is a model that we need to maintain, and I am confident that cooler heads will prevail.

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

Jackson: Perhaps the most interesting issue in franchising at the moment is the intersection of data privacy and security laws with franchise laws. Many franchise systems are trying to figure out what their obligations are and what their franchisees’ obligations are, as well as how this new landscape changes compliance obligations going forward. This is a new and necessary dimension to the franchise compliance program, and our data privacy and cybersecurity teams has been busy providing counsel to many companies recently.