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Top Franchise Lawyers: Matthew J. Kreutzer of Howard & Howard

1851 Franchise’s annual compilation of great franchise attorneys.

1851 interviewed Howard & Howard’s Michael J. Kreutzer about the state of franchising, what he loves about the industry and the challenges facing franchisors.

About Matthew J. Kreutzer:

Matthew J. Kreutzer has been working as a franchise lawyer for more than 20 years. Today, he works at Howard & Howard, a business-focused law firm with more than 140 attorneys in offices in California, Illinois, Michigan and Nevada. Howard & Howard’s wide range of services includes a franchising practice. Kreutzer mainly works with franchisors in his role, but he also occasionally represents franchisees and uses his litigation background to assist clients who find themselves in court or arbitration. 

About Howard & Howard (from firm’s website):

From our founding above a blacksmith shop in 1869 to the full-service national and international practice we’ve become in the 150 years since, we have consistently sought to earn each client’s trust by always keeping one eye on the finish line and the other on the bottom line.


Rather than being merely a collection of silos, Howard & Howard is known for its integrated, multifunctional units, all of which are dedicated to providing well-rounded representation and advice. This approach exemplifies our culture.


Drawing from their vast qualifications and business backgrounds, our attorneys pool their talents into cross-disciplinary teams, combining creativity, practicality, and a cost-conscious approach to better serve each client as a whole. Because our lawyers are sound businesspeople, we operate more efficiently and entrepreneurially. We’re the firm our clients respect, want to work with, and choose to retain over the long term.


Regardless of where you are in the business life cycle and whether your needs involve transactions, disputes, regulatory compliance, or intellectual property, Howard & Howard is the law firm of choice.

1851 Franchise: What are some of the things you like about working in the field?

Matthew J. Kreutzer: I enjoy franchise law because it encompasses a variety of interesting and important legal issues, and my days are rarely the same. I love seeing my clients succeed — either through growth or success in operations.

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

Kreutzer: That the law in this area is ever-changing, and that it’s important to keep on top of these changes and evolve your business to respond to them.

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

Kreutzer: That when you are signing a franchise contract, you are agreeing to follow the franchisor’s advice and direction and to follow the franchisor’s rules. Franchising is not for everyone.

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

Kreutzer: That this area is going to continue to be an issue for franchisors and franchisees for the foreseeable future. For every step in the right direction — for example, the NLRB recently revised its guidance on finding a joint-employer relationship — there are also steps backward,like California’s AB5 law. This issue is not going to be fully and finally resolved for quite some time.

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

Kreutzer: The responses to, and possible exemptions from, California’s AB5 joint-employer law.