How to Prepare to Meet with a Franchise Lawyer

May 28, 2015

Meeting with a lawyer is an investment. If you choose a high caliber franchise lawyer, it can be a substantial investment. This is necessary to ensure the success of your franchise selection, as well as protect you against common franchisee pitfalls.  

In truth, your franchise lawyer is an invaluable partner. They navigate any hidden elements in the FDD, call out unreasonable clauses and overall ensure you are on a foundation for success.

But only once you are ready.

In order to make the most of your meeting with a lawyer, complete these three steps prior to retaining council: 

1) Confident in Franchise Selection 

When you meet with a lawyer, you need to be confident in your selection. These are the final stages prior to signing up. At this point, you are just making sure there are no red flags in the paper work.

You need to be convinced:

  • The model works;
  • The model will translate well to your area;
  • They have the right systems in place;
  • They offer sufficient support;
  • You will be successful in this endeavor.

If you have any hesitancy, you’re not ready to meet with council. It’s time to do more research. Start by repeating step #2.

2) Speak to Current and Former Franchisees

The franchisor is going to tell you all the positive outcomes. There will be a list of franchisees that are killing it. In addition, the picture they paint of their support will be exceptionally positive. 

Why wouldn’t they? It’s in their best interest to entice you sign up under their banner.

That isn’t to say that they don’t have franchisees that are doing exceptionally well. Odds are they do. We all know that a sales pitch tends to overemphasize the positive points and downplay the negative.

It is your job to determine what being an operator actually looks like. This is by interviewing current and former franchisees. Talking to operators gives you several unique insights.

First you get a feel of what the day-to-day looks like. In addition, you hear first hand how supportive the franchisor is. This is also the opportunity to uncover if the franchisor has any exorbitant fees built into products.

Types of questions to ask:

  • Knowing what you know now, would you do it again?
  • Did their training prepare you for opening the business?
  • How close were their projections on opening costs?
  • What were your projections for annual income? How long did it take to make them? 

3) Read the FDD

Your meeting with your franchise lawyer will be more useful if you are familiar with the FDD. This doesn’t mean you have to understand every piece of it. That’s what your lawyer is for.

But you do need to understand the major components.

With a strong baseline, you will be able to maximize your time with a lawyer. You get into the meat of the FDD faster. A seasoned franchise lawyer will be able to easily walk you through standard, unreasonable or irregular clauses. Then you can identify a strong plan of action moving forward.

If the FDD review with your lawyer goes well, you can also create your business entity.


Meeting with a franchise lawyer should be one of the final steps before officially becoming a franchisee. Utilize this meeting as a screening to ensure all the paperwork is order.

It’s unnecessary to have that meeting earlier. 

If you are looking for a seasoned franchise lawyer, let me be your invaluable partner. Together we can ensure your franchise experience gets off to a positive start.